* Posts by OSC

66 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Feb 2009


Googlification of Britain: Forget 'IT worker', we're all just 'digital' now


A short history of government digital strategies

If you were not weeping (rage/mirth/both) before reading it you will be afterwards:


What you might also have missed was this Wednesday's publication by two publicly funded bodies along with one of the large systems integrators (aka a third publicly funded body) of the output of a nine month study regarding public services and design.


The usual suspects (Quirk, Mulgan, Leadbeater) propose that the solution to life the universe and everything is to spend more money (I know, who'd have thought?)

Why do I say "usual suspects? Well for those new to all this...

Barry Quirk was an "Information Age Government Champion" circa 1999


and has been "reimaging government" for years


Geoff Mulgan was the head of No10's "Performance and Innovation Unit" that in September 2000 produced (linked in first article)

Electronic Government Services for the 21st Century

No-one can speak for Charles Leadbeater better than the man himself





So as you can see none of these characters ever stop talking about it, nor it seems, stop getting funding to talk about it.

It will be your job to be writing about Mike Bracken and Liam Maxwell's offerings circa 2025

Blighty's schools shake on new 3-year deal with Microsoft


Re: A couple of points....

WINE is neither slow nor bloated - these benchmarks are ancient - current version is 1.5.19


Microsoft releases first Windows OS in an original American language


Re: How about Windows in English?

KDE: http://l10n.kde.org/team-infos.php?teamcode=en_GB

Gnome: http://l10n.gnome.org/teams/en_GB/


Re: Still won't make METRO fly

You can have it on Gnome


or KDE


and help improve it


Welsh on KDE since 2003

You could always help



Microsoft dragging its feet on Linux Secure Boot fix


From the archives

Want control of your next PC? Don't wait, complain now


Windows 7 overruns NHS Scotland


Re: Sour grapes?

As we acknowledged above, with IE6/ActiveX an open source desktop would have been pointless, but feel free to carry on missing the point.

The real problem is the cost of lock-in whatever the choice.

As for Newham, here let me help you






Every desktop requires IE 6.0 see below

You propose tabula rasa solution that would be perfect but for the, er, lock-in problem

Carry on being anonymous, it's safer


Yes, you read that right IE 6.0

"restricted to IE 6.0 on account of most of our other internal systems (which all run via browser based interfaces)"

see our comment above


that old chestnut...

...as we explored the proof of concept tender exercise we stumbled across the legal but onerous change of licence for IE. IE now requires an MS Windows licence for each copy deployed. And why is that relevant? Because IE was a requirement for the bid (ActiveX anyone?)

It's difficult to imagine how an open source solution stood a snowflake in June's chance if every instance required an MS stack.

That's not MS's problem. That's a failure of the public sector to address the cost of lock-in.

BBC dishes out fanboi-only telly downloads ahead of ITV plans


Re: i™"This is not impartiality" <- FWIW

BBC and Apple: http://www.opensourceconsortium.org/content/view/211/1/

Lovefilm dumps Flash, BLINDS Linux fans with Silverlight


It's not only LoveFilms

If you care about democracy you might also care that UK Parliament requires silverlight


And about 60 local authorities that we've found so far

The London Assembly requires Windows Media Player

Cabinet Office shuns open-source in IT-tracking deal


And is anyone surprised?

As Mulder(?) said "I want to believe" - it all started with that famous "wherever possible" January OGC procurement note, which as we said at the time - includes "nowhere"

Oracle subpoenas Apache in search of Google smoking gun


You went far too far

Your not so subtle invocation of something beyond Godwin's law is crass and tasteless. It demeans history and fails any humour test.

We are discussing corporate behaviour as it relates to software

Microsoft lobby will turn Google into Microsoft


I'm not sure I've ever agreed with Matt Asay...

but this time I think he's spot on.

Open source and the sluggish UK public sector


"informal consultation"

Absolutiely agree about open standards.

Even using the word consultation elevates the status of this survey.

As the official guidance on consultations says: "Clearly, if there is no scope for consultees to influence the policy, a formal consultation exercise should not be launched"

Note also that the survey resiles on the definition of open standards in the Cabinet Office procurement notice by calling the definition a "draft". Note also the use of the phrase "common standards" whatever they are. We deconstruct it here http://bit.ly/ifd7Yl

Google's patents bid may prompt showdown with Microsoft



No criticism of her decision intended. Eight years hard labour long enough for anybody, too long for most.


words, language, nuance

One of the big disappointments about Pamela Jones' decision to stop writing articles on Groklaw is that we will lose a big source of careful textual analysis so instead we will only have articles mixing and muddling the story.

So here we have some reasonable assertion mixed with quite a lot of "if" (If I were Prince William I'd be marrying Kate Middleton, but I'm not and I'm not) conjecture and emotive language.

So unnamed source say Google are giving priority to one set of chipmakers? What does that actually mean in practice? Was the unnamed source some bloke in the pub that makes it up as they go along? Does priority mean that chip maker A asked Google two weeks before chipmaker B and Google didn't say, I'm sorry I can't deal you with unitl chipmaker B is in the room? Does it mean that it didn't occur to chipmaker C to ask untl they heard about A&B and now they're kicking themselves and having to explain to someone else why they were asleep at the controls? I don't know either.

All parties involved appear to be big and ugly enough to look after themselves but we, as users, (e.g., possibly as eventual parties to a consumer supercomplaint against someone), need:

more analysis that clearly tells us whether there is going to more or less interoperability and more or less lock-in at the far end of all of this.

less conjecture framed as though we were discussing our favourite football teams


Google bids $900m for Android and Chrome patent shield


And the USPTO are pushing for harmonisation... can't wait

Summer of Code - tick

WebM - tick

Contributions to Linux kernel - tick

Chrome, Google Maps google groups, blogspot -tick

Google, Gmail, streetview - if you don't like sharing behavioural data no one is forcing you

Youtube - tick

And no doubt if they get the Nortel patents they'll add them to OIN

Google - a low bullshit organisation.

Attachmate acquisition stalls Novell's Q1

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Unless you know otherwise

In which case please state rather than assert, as none of the relevant patents can be used against any Linux distro - as Groklaw has already written on, at length.

Patent attack on Google open codec faces 'antitrust probe'


American Needle got there first

In that case, last June, the US Supremes handed down a ruling that collaborative exclusionary action by competing bodies could infringe the Sherman Act. (Competition Law) and now there's this. More here


German Foreign Office kills desktop Linux, hugs Windows XP



Do you have any evidence that training for OOo is anymore expensive than anything else?

"The Linux desktop is more confusing than the Windows one"

Do you make it up as you go along or do you have any evidence?

Just wondering because back in the day, relevantive did a study comparing Windows XP v openSUSE 8.2 (11.4 is soon to be released) for existing Windows (98?) users changing to a new system


They found several sources of quickly resolved confusion for example, once people worked out not all wordprocessing software were called "Word" completing the task became equivalent. In some instances worse, in others better.

Google open video codec faces second challenger


different challenge

The new proposal represents innovation fighting it out. Google's royalty free codec could form part of the new standard with everyone apart from MPEG LA winning.

The user wins with another lock-in barrier removed, and the tech companies benefit from Torvald's dictum about getting eight hours work for one hour's effort.

Patent attack launched on Google's open video codec


Just wondering, no lawyers consulted


In the USA a group of otherwise competing entities were told that collaborating to do down another competitor was anti-competitive

"Do patent pool attacks have a future?"

And in the EU the advocate-general has advised the ECJ that competition law trumps IP

"Another interoperability barrier down?"

BSA nabs Chester MS software pirate


IANAL either

If an organisation has reasonable suspicion that you have counterfeit goods on the premises (e.g., a whistleblower) then they can talk to Trading Standards.

And Trading Standards do have right of entry

Personally I'd take the Ernie Ball route: http://news.cnet.com/2008-1082_3-5065859.html

UK.gov taps up DWP's IT boss for all of Whitehall

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weblink tells all you need to know


Fanboi king hails Apple 'love affair with open web'


what's more...

They refused to share their developments with the original project. When finally shamed into sharing they dropped the whole lot on to the original project in one huge undigestible lump.

They're just not very nice people.

Italy sues Microsoft for box-bundling bungling


It's not about techies rolling their own

It's about the barrier to creating a market for alternatives.

As we have seen with FF, Chrome, whatever, people can and do choose not to use the market dominant incumbent.

The prevailing paradigm, computer = dominant incumbent = their software is how it all works, is the issue.

We saw how low a netbook could cost if it came with, e.g. Linpus,(my AAO is now on openSUSE 11.3, ta)

It could be lower hardware spec'ed (see "hardware manuf partially to blame..")

All of this causes deadweight cost to the consumer (allegedly)

All dominant incumbents can create this problem, others before them were, others after them will be in the same position

That's why we have competition law.

I hope this gets somewhere as it will do everybody a favour. After all look how much IE improved once there was real competition (I understand, never use it)

There's even something in this for penguin haters. If LOTD is as useless as _you_ say it is, then a win means there'll be one fewer reason for penguins to bleat (or whatever the correct onomatopoeic word is)

Grey marketing is great - if you're the importer...


I believe...

... you are deploying the crack cocaine argument.

If this hypothetical student has talent then functional skills in a particular product do not appear to be relevant.

OTOH if it's about the product then I prefer competition law to "nice restaurant you've got there" law



At a first cut you might have a point. However, let me continue your example a little further.

Let's suppose a large software producer donates (or sells at a cheap price) software to a charity. Great, so far no problem.

However let's suppose that charity starts issuing press releases saying "lucky us we have a great relationship with this software company, look they've done us a deal, good old software company"

Now, the software company is getting paid in reflected goodwill - how much is worth to them?

And did the people that choose to support that charity want that goodwill to be consumed in that way?

And what is the real cost to the charity?

Then of course there's the client group: apparently, it turns out there's something they get that only works with that software company's product. And it is costing them money time and inconvenience. So what are the real and other costs there?

Then there's the competitive disadvantage experienced by other software companies. What's the cost to society there?

You might well think I'm using a real example - it doesn't matter whether that's true or not. It's the abstract point.

(Apparently) there's an Urdu expression "do your charity and throw it in the river" which I take to mean her, that said software company could have asked their products be treated as white label and sought no publicity - even used open standards, but that wouldn't have been sensible for a profit maximising entity.

Is that the same as JCB refurbishing a life at RFH and Southbank centre painting it yellow in thanks? Personally I don't think so, as JCB don't make lifts and it doesn't displace (ho-ho) other lift installations.


OOo's put the willies up Microsoft


Ars comments look a bit susicious too

Read/scanned a couple of pages of them, so level toned, so matter-of-fact, so uniformly anti-OOo and disparaging of Linux (where mentioned) they look like they were written by the same person in diffent phases of their life: student, SME, business owner etc.,

They're worth a read for their studied weirdness.

Angry Birds tweet fury at Redmond


It doesn't seem too difficult to me

My icon, my brand, my brand values (yeah, yeah with added whale song and incense).

I might believe I can increase sales over here by not selling it over there or worse by selling it over there lose sales over here.

Or, I might prefer the kudos of being this type or by not being that type (cf Apple)

The point is, it's my decision not yours (or Microsoft's, Tesco's, Walmart's whomever)

Stuxnet 'a game changer for malware defence'


Bring back DEC, all is forgiven

Many years ago I was running process control on a VAX 32 (single chip, 6U(?) 19" rack, not much in the way of magnetic storage (but on that at least, now we have no problem) using RSX11IIRC

And there was XINU, now there is RTLinux.

I understand that graphical interfaces used not to be a priority for NIX lovers, but that too has changed.

I think I know what architecture I would want for my networked process control

Google shuts down GOOG-411 voice data honeypot


I was OK with your first paragraph

The rest I didn't really follow.

Google launch a free service in USA then pull it once they've built a corpus (or not...), why does that justify an anti-USA rant?

Microsoft assembles unlikely band of brothers against patent trolls


Consider i4I as the general case "SME with a patent"

Yes, it's a software patent, but in the USA system it's been tested and found to be valid.

No doubt i4i have spent a few quid getting this far but look, every annoyed megacorp is spending shed loads in legal fees to avoid i4i collecting.

Imagine if the situation were reversed (can anyone hear the beating of a Tom-Tom drum?) and the company cannot spend shed loads to prevent megacorp collecting and so has to capitulate.

So for an SME they might as well publish rather than patent, except that if megacorp were to then patent the same idea the SME would find itself in the same hole.

This is true of all patents not just software patents (which are a specific kind of rubbish) so perhaps a legal beagle could explain why the patent system is good for innovation and not a merely a system to support economic hegemony?

Tribunal orders DWP to release IT contract details


Govt approach follows that from ID cards


In that ruling govt feared that companies would not want their commercial confidentiality breached - and companies responded by indicating they had a fair idea of each others' prices already so, no, they didn't care.

Here Atos confirmed this. So Cabinet Office gave some excuse about the nature of the contract.

So really, was it all about govt (mis)management of bidding and IT expenditure?

And has it changed under the new administration? (don't know, just wondering)

And, changing the topic, will someone remind me how the government gateway does authentication? surely it's registration at best?

Here's a few other stories from the archive.






FSFE calls on governments to stop pushing Adobe Reader


Tricky, this one...

PDF is an ISO format that is actually used. And Adobe made that happen.

I'm sort of there with Lee, in that a better target would be to get governments to use ISO formats only, the get out of jail card for Microsoft is 29500 transitional (.doc to you and me) and certainly not .docx which is not 29500 compliant.

OTOH in general terms, governments should not be promoting one company's product over another.

I use Okular, a universal document reader, but then I use KDE. It would be possible, I imagine, for governments to bundle that with the necessary libraries so it installed on MS Windows or Apple. They wouldn't even need to call it Okular.

But given that Adobe Reader is freely available for all OSes, it's hardly a barrier to people exploring an alternative OS to the incumbent. (and then discovering Okular, or the Gnome equivalent, or all the other ones)

OOXML and open clouds: Microsoft's lessons learned


Lessons learned

1. Don't get caught

2. If you fall foul of lesson one, waffle on about having learned lessons

3. Err, that's it

"IS 29500 transitional" is still "whatever and however it happens in Office 97", but luckily the only current (non-legacy) IS 29500-strict compliant office suite is OOo so it doesn't really matter.

If I understand correctly, even MS Office 2010 will not be IS 29500-strict compliant

Software emulation copyright case bumped to ECJ



This is the European Court of Justice. The Judiciary are independent of the Commission.

And even looking at the Commission, you might care to read Neelie Kroes' recent statements on the role of software

Dell warns on spyware infected server motherboards


not quite

You use a several techniques to defend your rant, which I would summarise as sophistry, however in detail

You didn't deal with th inconvenient truth in "not quite my friend" - unhelpfully pointing out that Linux sidesteps the BIOS

"Each OS has its merits and faults dependent on the application for which it is used"

non-popperian - the statement is unfalsifiable thus generally considered to be content-free. In what way, do you think, Linux is an issue in these circumstances? In which ways, do you think, it is advantageous?

"I have used a fair few of them for the past 25 years from MS-DOS 2.11 on through various flavours of Unix, Windows, OS/400 and MAC/OS - so I think I know what I'm talking about."

That might or might not be true but we don't know because you don't tell us, you merely assert that <statement A> gives you authority to make <statement B>

More examples here: http://queinnec.perso.enseeiht.fr/proof.html

I would conclude that your comment contains less information that Herby's but there you go.

End of Microsoft NHS deal means mass deletions


new definition of freetard required

Users of Free and Open Source Software might not like paying money for the stuff, but many of them end up helping out in some way, even if only bug reporting or sharing experience.

It's amusing to read all these posts boasting how they are going to steal from Microsoft. The one I really liked was the proposal to renew the enterprise agreement just to avoid paying for a personal copy.

Now is usually always.a bad time to do anything. Kicking any addiction is painful in the short term but always better in the long run.

NHS loses massive Microsoft licensing rebate


Which is why...

......kolab came into existence


now an integral part of KDE

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You may also recall the wonderful spokeslogic

alleging no clinical disruption caused by the computing disruption, leaving hanging the question as to why they were using computers in the first place.

As door stops to get the stretchers through quicker?


Surely you can do better than that?

They are all using computers? I don't think so

No training costs with an "upgrade"? Of course not, how silly

Downtime due to cornflicker? No problem

Longer hardware refresh cycles? who wants that?

cont'd p94


reluctant staff?

I'd rather blame the anonymous spokesperson - however, a report published 7 years ago compared the usability of SUSE 8.2 (on a day that 11.3 is due to be released), with XP, news item here


demonstrating near equivalence. The actual report is still available from the link

So, perhaps a better question to ask spokesperson/reluctant staff, which treatment or drug do you want to sacrifice in order to keep using Microsoft?

And will you be the one prepared to explain your decision to your client group/patient/stakeholder whichever word works for you and your breakout group?

Wales joins supercomputer club


This one will be interesting to watch

Since we all know that HPC == Linux (even the BBC knows that, great graphic here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10187248) this will be one to watch.

As for why it's needed, dunno, read this http://www.arcade-eu.org/academicsupercomputing/unitedkingdom.html

@ Agirlfromvenus: great nick

JANET will support distributed computing, I think HPC will require dedicated circuits to ensure good I/O speeds

OpenSUSE 11.3 delivers spit, polish and niggles


It would be nice...

... to never have to encounter the unpaid(?) hordes that cannot wait to tell us how great Ubuntu is or how they really like Gnome.

As the first post mentions 1-click install does what it says on the tin.

On my spare machine I'm currently using openSUSE 11.3 and yes the repros are not ready yet, but yes for the first time ever my MSI mega book worked (Realtek wi-fi) on install without any fiddling around. I'm also using and liking KDE SC 4.5 RC1. BTW did I mention that KOffice 2.2 is now good to go?

I have no idea what any other distro is like, I've been there since S.u.S.E 6.1 and it's all been fine for me. Everything is getting better and slicker - no doubt across the entire distrowatch spectrum.

DWP puts central apps procurement on hold


six companies - still

Perhaps the government CIO needs to (re)read this paper written in Sept 2004 by Dunleavy et al:


Health minister outlines tech spending


Just wondering...

...if you feel like emailing the Open Source Consortium.