The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has endorsed an application programming interface created by Microsoft, after the software giant took the government department's RSS feeds and cobbled together an API. While a Commons committee is busily scrutinising the government's IT procurement record, the Foreign Office has been …
Even the FO should be aware...
... there is no such thing as a free lunch. Especially when large corporation are involved.
Oh BBC, pot kettle
BBC News has learnt that the Government has spent tens of thousands of pounds developing iPhone applications.
"It seems many Government bodies have given in to the temptation to spend money on fashionable gimmicks at a time when they are meant to be cutting back on self-indulgent wastes of money", he told BBC News.
BBC News iPhone and iPad app launches in the UK
Free != Open
Why is our government turning over what should be public information to the hands of a private company? One that is hostile to open standards?
I wonder what 'thank yous' these people get for promoting Microsfot stuff.
Yes, that was an euphemism!
What is more, I'm not at work so that's why I'm trawling the whole of El Reg today :)
If they tried shopping around I'm sure they could find developers they could afford. I would develop whatever they want for half the usual cost of a UK government website and support it with updates for 2 years.
If they published their data...
...in an open format, then I am sure that people would spontaneously develop APIs and apps. But that wouldn't get the civil servants their free meals at top restaurants and "fact finding" trips to the Seychelles.
Microsoft is taking the free, public data and re-publishing it. Primarily so that they can get a free plug for Azure and Windows Phone 7 from the FCO.
...MS will wait a while for devs to to use their new API and become dependent on it, then suddenly start charging for access. Like I said "Free != Open".
And why is this page trying to snoop on us with "RioTracking2.jsp"?
You paid for it
The data I mean, you Brits did anyway. So long as Microsoft aren't getting exclusive access to the data, I fail to see the problem. This is what Gov 2.0 or whatever is supposed to be about. As far as I can see this doesn't prevent anyone doing the same for iPhone, Android, Symbian, whatever. It would be nice, however, if the Foreign Office used the opportunity to encourage others to do the same on other platforms
No lockin here, just repackaging public info
"Why is our government turning over what should be public information to the hands of a private company? One that is hostile to open standards?"
They are handing the information out freely to *everyone* - it just happens Microsoft use that data to produce something more useful for people. Not really something to complain about. Pretty much what the whole news media exists for, come to think of it: gathering public information and repackaging it for general consumption, as TheReg is doing with this news story itself. I'm no MS fanboy, but they aren't doing us any harm here, or locking any public information away.