Category Archives: News

Select a news topic from the list below, then select a news article to read.

Nominet consultation


Consultation on a new .uk domain name service

In October 2012 Nominet opened a consultation on proposals for a new domain service, including proposals to offer features designed to offer reassurance for end users:

verification to check a registrant has a UK address, daily monitoring for malicious software and viruses, and a digital signature which minimises the risks of a domain name being hijacked. These measures would be supported by a trustmark to give consumers a clear sign that it was a verified domain name.

Our full response is available below, however in summary: we consider that Nominet fails to demonstrate understanding of risk, is over confident in its claims for consumer protection and that the proposal has the potential to undermine the market for services based on open source software.

Continue reading Nominet consultation

Inquiry into consultation guidelines


not what you say but what you do

In July 2012 the government announced to Parliament that it was changing the consultation guidelines.

A Minister was quoted by BBC News:

The aim is to replace potentially unproductive process with real engagement with those affected.

The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee issued a call for evidence in preparation for a meeting on 11 December 2012 where it will take oral evidence from Mr Oliver Letwin, Minister for Government Policy into the way in which Government develops and implements technology policy.

We have responded.

Continue reading Inquiry into consultation guidelines

Open Hardware meeting

Open Source Hardware Event

15 November 2012, London, 6.45pm

Embedded systems continue to grow in importance as they play an ever-increasing role in everyday life: more computing is done on the move as smartphone functionality catches up with desktops and services move to the Cloud; the Internet of Things is set to herald an age in which networked objects create and consume data on our behalf.

This event, organised by our friends the Open Source Hardware Group will be discussing and demonstrating a number of projects related to improving embedded system performance.

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BBC and Apple – latest

BBC and Apple – latest

Today the BBC Trust is considering our complaint about undue product prominence.

It all started on 2 March 2012 when we approached the BBC expressing concern about undue product prominence amounting to advertising.

On 20 August we sought a status update and received the following by return:

Please accept my apologies for not keeping you updated regarding your appeal.

I am afraid that, due to a large amount of Committee business to be considered in September, your appeal will now be considered by the ESC at their October meeting.

Except of course, it wasn’t.

Continue reading BBC and Apple – latest

Unitary Patent System

Unitary Patent System

proposals by European Commission

Along with other organisations, such as FSFE that consider the latest proposals by the European Commission for a unitary patent system represent a poorly thought out blight on innovation, we have written to MEPs on the Legal Committee asking them to support suitable amendments when they meet to discuss the matter on 17.18 September 2012.

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BBC and Apple – an update

BBC and Apple – an update

Justice delayed…

On 2 March 2012 we approached the BBC expressing concern about undue product prominence amounting to advertising.

On 7 March we were advised that:

This was not an advertisement for the product, as the BBC doesn’t carry advertising.

On 8 March we pursued our complaint. In our original article we promised to update on our progress

Continue reading BBC and Apple – an update

Real Engineers would only use open source software

Real Engineers would only use Open Source Software

Monday 3 September 2012, 7.30pm, IET Teddington

IET Teddington local group has kindly invited Gerry Gavigan to present at a local meeting in their usual venue The Adelaide.

Economists talk the talk but if Engineers don’t walk the walk they’re just tinkering.

Problem solving is about optimal allocation of constrained resources. If all resources were unlimited and free to obtain, everyone could have everything and choices would not have to be made. Real engineers solve the problem of maximising the number of choices available for most people.

This talk will explain why the software used in any solution must be open source.

Free to attend, registration will be accessible from here.

Continue reading Real Engineers would only use open source software

Private Action in Competition Law Consultation Response

Department for Innovation, Business and Skills Consultation on Private Actions In Competition Law : Our Response

Overall we find the consultation raises important issues for SMEs and consumers and is particularly relevant for providing effective measures to resist market concentration.

As well as looking for an opportunity to enable specific redress we believe that effective mechanisms for private action:

  • provide an institutional response to the actions and behaviours, intentional or otherwise, of large undertakings in direct or parallel markets affecting F/OSS services.
  • will lead automatically to better working and more effective markets.

Continue reading Private Action in Competition Law Consultation Response

Open Standards Consultation Response

Cabinet Office Open Standards Consultation: Our Response

Much of our research and analysis is contained in our recently published report on the importance of royalty free standards in public sector ICT.

Overall we find the consultation to be poorly framed and fails to identify:

  • The effects of the existing policy (the problem identified)
  • The absence of a single formal document delineating the scope of policy relating to the specification and implementation of ICT in the public sector cannot be taken to infer that there is not an existing policy as represented by the sum total of procedure, custom and practice (commission or omission).
  • The intentions of a new policy (the solution proposed)
  • Government should seek to identify the interacting nature of its policy choices and account for their effects.

We are unaware of any economic assessment undertaken in preparation for this consultation and government cannot easily second-guess these values. Such absence might explain the lack of any sense of urgency, neither any proposals for action nor for implementation.

Continue reading Open Standards Consultation Response