Which Department? How many seats?

A recent article in the Guardian “CESG asserts security of open source software” contains the following:

[A Cabinet Office official] said that simply considering open source alternatives helps improve competition, and mentioned that he encouraged a department to pilot open source LibreOffice as an alternative to upgrading its Microsoft software. This led to Microsoft providing the new software for free.

We’re a bit surprised about that, so we’ve asked for more information.

As usual, your improvements and annotations are welcome

10 November 2011

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Decision to describe Open Source Advisory Panel as “established”

In May 2011 we made an FOI request about about the Open Source Advisory Panel (OSAP) – see also Evidence supplied to PASC by Minister for the Cabinet Office. Eventually we were advised:

  • Cabinet Office is in the process of redefining [the structure] so that OSAP becomes an online forum
  • The Terms of Reference for the OSAP are in the process of being drafted and will be available on the Open Forum Europe (OFE) website […] are exempt from disclosure under section 22(1) of the FOI Act
  • No OSAP work plan has been agreed for next year
  • No meetings of OSAP have taken place
  • No advice has been provided to Government via OSAP
  • OSAP has not formally met

Continue reading Decision to describe Open Source Advisory Panel as “established”

Making Open Data Real

It all depends on what you mean by “Open”, Minister

In August 2011 Cabinet Office launched a new consultation Making Open Data Real (MODR) and the accompanying publicity all seemed good. We were particularly impressed by the intent expressed by the Minister for the Cabinet Office both in the forward to the consultation and in a radio programme discussing the initiative in which he acknowledged that MODR was about “letting go” and that the outcome was unpredictable but would lead to greater transparency and accountability.

So, that was the headline, what about the detail?

Continue reading Making Open Data Real

ZOMG! Yet another Govt IT Action Plan….

When I read that Cabinet Office is about to publish yet another action plan I find myself wondering if I either fail to understand the meaning of tthe word “action” or there is a joke I am missing.

Possibly this plan is the output of Cabinet Office work: “to horizon scan and improve capability to identify risks and exploit new technologies” whatever that means.

Continue reading ZOMG! Yet another Govt IT Action Plan….

Open Source Hardware Camp 2011

Open Source Hardware Workshop

Thursday 27 October 2011, 09.30-18.00, London WC1

Inaugural Open Source Hardware Camp for a hands-on day of three parallel workshops, with short plenary sessions in the morning and afternoon:

  • Practical 3D Printing
  • Building the Internet of Things
  • Collaboration in OSHW

A low cost event organised by by our friends the Open Source Hardware Group.

Continue reading Open Source Hardware Camp 2011

Open Source Software Meets Open Source Hardware

Open Source Software Meets Open Source Hardware

Monday 17 October 2011, London

Introducing the OpenRISC 1000 project, focusing particularly on the role of open source software. Involving hardware leads to some interesting open source licensing problems, which will be addressed in the presentation

17 October 2011, 17.30-21.00, London WC2 – Free to attend and open to all

OSC member Jeremy Bennett of Embecosm is presenting at this free event hosted by our friends the BCS Open Source Software Group which will be held at the BCS headquarters in London.

Continue reading Open Source Software Meets Open Source Hardware

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

All over the tech press we can read articles about proposals for the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. A couple of days ago in The Register we saw:

Microsoft wants firmware to only start authorised OSes

If the draft for UEFI is adopted without modification, then any system that ships with only OEM and Microsoft keys will not boot a generic copy of Linux.

Today we can read a statement by a Microsoft spokesman, Tony Mangefeste:

Secure boot is a UEFI protocol, rather than a specific Windows 8 feature, and “Microsoft does not mandate or control the settings on PC firmware that control or enable secured boot from any operating system other than Windows

OEMs have the ability to customize their firmware to meet the needs of their customers by customizing the level of certificate and policy management on their platform

which doesn’t really address the issue, as any end-user that uses “customer power” to contact an OEM will find out pretty slowly.

What to do?

Continue reading Want control of your next PC? Don’t wait, complain now.