On 29th May between 3.30pm and 5.30pm the Cabinet Office is hosting a round table discussion at MadLab in Manchester's Northern Quarter. Aimed at small to medium enterprises, the idea is to discuss the Open Standards Consultation, which is open until 4th June.
What's it about?
The event is to discuss the adoption of open standards in software used by the government, the idea being to discuss the Open Standards Consultation paper that the government posted online for us to contribute to. They want to make it possible to do business with the government whether or not you use or write open source software and to reduce the cost of providing public services while keeping the costs down.
What will they be discussing?
The following questions are going to be asked:
- How would mandating open standards in government IT affect your organisation?
- If the government adopts open standards, will it make it easier or harder for you to do business with us - does it help level the playing field?
- Do you have any examples of times when the lack of open standards has acted as a barrier to you doing business with us?
- What might adopting open standards prevent?
Proprietary software vendors will no doubt be concerned about how to compete with open source (write better software). The emergence of the conflict of interest when Dr. Andy Hopkirk was engaged to facilitate the last OS round table while advising Microsoft on the consultation has resulted in the outcomes from the original roundtable discussion being discounted in the consultation responses, the session being rerun, and the consultation kept open till 4th June.
Why are they doing this?
The government is clearly taking this very seriously in light of the fact that vendor lock-in is a problem for them and the costs are too big for the situation to continue. While the adoption of OS continues apace, problems are emerging with users' unfamiliarity with new systems and a lack of technical skill. That can be overcome with training and support.
Personally, I'm just glad they're having this discussion and that we the public are invited. I can't go myself, I've got the Creative Hive event at The Egg on the same day, where I'll be showing off my design work and blog cartoons. I've left the more controversial ones out but the ones I'll be displaying are pretty hard-hitting. I want to go, though. The adoption of OS for our local and national government organisations can't come soon enough. When it does, I hope they'll realise how important it is to reform IPR laws. If they do, I'll stop being so political and go back to being all complacent as I was before.
What will happen there?
- Attendees will receive a quick explanation of the key points of the consultation to enable them to add to the debate
- The session will be recorded so that all your points will be available for consideration later
- An audio recording may be made public
- Space is limited, so book now to avoid disappointment
- The Pirate Party are sending a delegate
If I could do this and Creative Hive, I would, but it appears to be more for businesses that do business with the government than sole trader web designers.