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Ukgov talks the talk, but can it walk the walk?

George OsborneToday the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, is speaking at Google Zeitgeist 2011. As a matter of fact, he’s not just giving any old speech, but the event’s keynote address.

HM Treasury has very kindly released the Chancellor’s speech in advance and it does make very interesting reading indeed.

Perusing the speech, your correspondent was struck by the following passage:

We want to remain at the cutting edge of open source policy making.

So I’m pleased to be able to tell you that we have just recruited Beth Noveck, who used to work at the White House running President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, to help us take this agenda forward.

That’s a great bit of recruitment news, but incredulity surfaced in respect of the UK as the cutting edge of open source policy making. The chief scribe nearly destroyed a keyboard with a warm coffee aerosol when reading those words.

When it comes to open source, the UK is in most instances years behind most of its EU partners in the adoption of even simple measures, like the adoption of Open Document Format for public documents, let alone such ambitious steps as adopting open source desktops as standard. Even developing countries are leaving the UK behind.

If George wants the UK to be, let alone remain, “at the cutting edge of open source“, he and the rest of Whitehall had better start running – and fast.

4 Responses to Ukgov talks the talk, but can it walk the walk?

  1. MJ Ray May 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Spot on Woodsy! There are a few bright spots, but most ukgov things are a mess of Microsoft, Adobe and similar things with either explicit or effective lock-in from the interdependencies. But pointing out the emperor’s nudity tends to make one unpopular.

  2. Steve Woods May 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Today the Open Source Consortium wades in too, pointing out that the UK government’s open source software policy is ‘as resilient as a snowflake in June. Happy reading.

  3. Jules May 20, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    “We want to remain at the cutting edge of open source policy making….”

    Permission to roll off my chair laughing Mr Chief Scribe? Ho, .. ho, ho, ho!!!

    What an utter load of Tory twaddle nonsense! They should start with The FSA (news passim), HMRC, DWP, etc. etc. ad infinitum …

  4. Steve Woods May 20, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    Permission to roll off my chair laughing Mr Chief Scribe? Ho, .. ho, ho, ho!!!

    Thanks for your comment Jules.

    If you wish to fall off your chair laughing, you don’t need my permission; you are an adult, after all. 😀