Does HM Government know the difference between open source and open data?
Clearly not, if the following exchange in the House of Lords between Lord Rennard and Baroness Verma is accurately reported.
First the question by LibDem Lord Rennard:
My Lords, will the Minister tell the House the Government’s policies in relation to the development of the computer code or software they pay for and whether it should be made more freely available for others to use and extend? Does she accept that allowing this could sometimes prevent the public sector wasting money by paying more than once to develop the same software and that it would also be incredibly helpful to the private and voluntary sectors?
Next the answer from Conservative Chief Whip in the Lords, Baroness Verma:
The noble Lord is absolutely right to raise that point. As part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last year government departments agreed to release a substantial package of data including material relating to many of the major departments. Most people will also be able to access data rather freely through our Open Data Institute, which we hope to have fully launched by September.
That’s right: ask a question about open source and get an answer about open data! There are times when you couldn’t make this stuff up…
Hat tip: Gerry Gavigan