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Category Archives: National IT News


In about one month’s time (April 21st to be precise, according to Sam Downie. Ed.) a delegation of Bristol Wikipedians is due to visit Monmouth. Why Monmouth you may ask? And why Wikipedians too? What has a small Welsh town with a millennium or so of history, that was home to the Tudor family and […]

Flossie 2012 – Submissions deadline extended to 19th March

Back in October, we gave very early notice (news passim) of the 2012 Flossie Unconference taking place in London on 25th and 26th May 2012 at Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS (map). News has now arrived that the submissions deadlines has been extended to 19th March 2012 and further details […]

Bristol’s Jo Reid announced as finalist in the National Everywoman in Technology Awards

Courtesy of Bristol Girl Geek Dinners, we learn that Bristol’s Jo Reid – a Bristol Girl Geek Dinners member, has been announced as finalist in the Innovators category of the National Everywoman in Technology Awards. The award winners will be announced on 29th March. Jo is part of Calvium, who are based in Bristol’s Pervasive […]

Dear Cabinet Office, what part of open standards don’t you understand?

The Cabinet Office has announced a consultation on ‘open standards’ for software interoperability, data and document formats in government IT. This is the second such consultation on open standards: in January ComputerWeekly said it had unearthed evidence that Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) had successfully pressurised the UK government into withdrawing its January […]

Haven’t we heard all this before?

The Register today carries an article entitled “ We really are going to start buying open-source from SMEs“. On Tuesday last in London Liam Maxwell, Cabinet Office director of ICT futures, said that open source had grown up and it’s time to dispel lingering misconceptions about it. Speaking at the Intellect 2012 Conference, Maxwell said: […]

Situation vacant: British Library seeks Wikipedian in residence

The British Library, whose main reading room has in the past played home from home for such diverse characters as Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Mahatma Gandhi, Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Lenin, Virginia Woolf, Arthur Rimbaud and H. G. Wells, is at present recruiting an experienced […]

DWP to pilot open source desktops

Well, who’d have believed it? (The blogmeister wouldn’t have for starters! Ed.) The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is to trial open source desktop software in a move which could pave the way to the large-scale deployment of non-Microsoft PC software in the public sector, Computer Weekly reports. The DWP is to run […]

OpenStreetMap launches funding drive

According to the OpenStreetMap Foundation blog, the organisation is growing fast, having just welcomed its 500,000th signed up user, and logged the 10,000,000th update to its map of the UK. The Foundation is a UK-registered not-for-profit organisation that supports the OpenStreetMap Project and some years ago, Bristol Wireless volunteers spent a pleasant day or so […]

HMV using Ubuntu-powered displays in its shops

News reaches the lab via Ubuntu Vibes that retailer HMV is using displays powered by Ubuntu in its shops in UK High Streets. Sharp-eyed readers will note the interactive touchscreen display is being used to give information about Nintendo’s Wii games console, whilst those with even more acute vision may not with some dismay the […]

Happy 30th birthday, BBC Micro

We learn from the BBC that the BBC Micro is now a venerable 30 years old. This machine was instrumental in enthusing many of today’s more senior programmers in getting into coding. The BBC Micro was series of microcomputers and associated peripherals designed and built by Acorn Computers for the BBC Computer Literacy Project, operated […]

Open Data measures in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

As part of the Government’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne yesterday announced that ‘world-leading’ (ahem! Ed.) commitments by the Government to open up public sector data will make travel easier and healthcare better and create significant growth for industry and jobs in the UK, according to the Cabinet Office. The Open Data […]

The MP, Creative Commons and Bristol Wireless

Yesterday morning, Bristol Wireless’ chief scribe held a conversation on the Twitter micro-blogging site with an old friend of the co-op, Will Pollard of wifiExeter. The discussion was prompted by a visit to Exeter by Shadow Culture Minister, Dan Jarvis MP and revolved around matters such as the use of Creative Commons and other open/‘copyleft’ […]

Charitable status for the world’s favourite encyclopaedia – and a milestone for charity law

Yesterday the Charity Commission approved Wikimedia UK, the UK membership organisation supporting Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects, as a registered charity. The news comes shortly before the launch of this year’s global Wikimedia fundraiser. Starting on 14th November, Wikimedia UK aims to raise £1 million to support Wikipedia and its sister projects. The Charity […]

UK government publishes open source toolkit

In the past we have been somewhat critical (with the aim of encouraging a bit more action, we hope. Ed.) of the UK government’s attitude to and adoption of open source (news passim). However, today we’d like to draw attention to (and applaud) some work done recently by the Cabinet Office. Tools to help the […]

Wikipedia connects half a billion people to UK regional museum via QR codes

So far in 2011 Wikipedians have written and translated 1,200 new articles to allow the Derby Museum & Art Gallery’s collection to be read in over a dozen languages using QRpedia codes. Derby Museum using multilingual QR codes on Vimeo. This has resulted in high search rankings for the museum and greater public engagement. Well […]

Whitehall and Ile de France – a tale of 2 public administrations

At Bristol Wireless, we’re keen on comparing and contrasting the hesitant steps (prevarication surely? Ed.) of the British public sector towards open source software with the full-blooded embrace to which the public sector abroad subjects it. This has once again clearly illustrated this week. Courtesy of Guardian Government Computing, we learn that Whitehall’s plans for […]

Flossie Unconference next spring – be there or be proprietary!

Flossie, the network of women who are interested in, use, advocate and/or develop Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), has just announced its unconference for next spring. Queen Mary at University of London (QMUL) has offered to host the Flossie unconference which will be on 25/26 May 2011 at QMUL’s Mile End Campus. Flossie will […]

A statement from Bristol City Council re open source

Following on from recent news about the revival of Bristol City Council’s open source project (news passim), the council has now issued the following statement. Bristol City Council Leader Barbara Janke said: “Bristol is leading the way on promoting open source solutions and supporting our strong creative media and digital sector. We held a very […]