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back to article FORCE gov.uk suppliers to stick to 'open data principles' – MPs

UK government suppliers should be required to adhere to the same "open data principles" as government departments, a committee of MPs has proposed. The House of Commons' Public Administration Select Committee backed calls from UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, among others, for greater transparency in the …

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft Office and SQL Server already meet those requirements. Good luck Oracle, IBM, etc. with the required changes!

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Anonymous Coward

ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaah, great one :D

Oh, you were serious?

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft Office and SQL Server already meet those requirements

Could you have at least the decency to wait for some comments before you shill? Thanks.

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Cue Microsoft shills explaining how this is bad for the economy, and will promote less competition, and will probably be bad for the children somehow.

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Anonymous Coward

It's good for Microsoft at the moment. Like it or not their stuff is pretty easy to move data to / from and meets most relevant standards.

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?

When the Scumvernment doesn't comply?

You're having a laugh, aren't you?

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Silver badge

Back to front

It's the "commercial in confidence" government contracts that should be open to public scrutiny first.

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Flame

Government and competence

Imagine awarding a contract to build a hospital to a firm who instead of using IEEE approved wiring decided to implement it's own system, with custom made cabling (different colours) and plugs and sockets, maybe with triangular pins, you can only get from one supplier.

Because not using open standards in software is just the same.

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Re: Government and competence

More correctly: Because not using Open Standards in software is just the same.

The IEE wiring scheme is an "Open Standard", set, approved and changed through a recognised standards body. Whereas an "open standard" is just a specification that is publicly available. Hence it could be argued that the old RTF specification is an "open standard" (which is the general line of argument that MS has deployed) however the ODF specification is an "Open Standard". The use of capital letters makes all the difference...

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reading comprehension?

Seem that most Commentards are not reading this properly. it's "open data", not "open data formats" that's being discussed here.

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Re: reading comprehension?

From the article:

"'Open data' is the term used to describe the UK government's initiative to ensure that data it holds is made available publically in a format which facilitates its re-use."

That suggests to me the avoidance of proprietary formats.

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Bronze badge

The groundwater flooding database

"Beginning in April 2014, targets should be set for the release of totally new government datasets "

Presently the Environment Agency's data on groundwater flooding isn't readily available. River and coastal flooding risk is mapped on their internet site, but they don't release any data for groundwater. National flood advice sites recommend that householders should purchase a survey, costing £24 and up. The groundwater database was compiled by local authorities and the EA at taxpayers expense and seems to have been turned into a nice little earner for one or two companies who have access to it.

Given that insurance companies are refusing to pay out on some of the claims for recent flooding, free and open publication of the EA's information might well be a good start for the open data proposals.

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/money/Consumer/article1384264.ece

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Anonymous Coward

Gov. Controlling private companies

>"We recommend that companies contracting with the government to provide contracted or outsourced goods and services should be required to make all data open on the same terms as the sponsoring department."

So now they are dictating what private companies can use? I understand that any file sent to the government must be an open standard but they cannot force a private company to use, internally and with other clients, their open standard. If that happens then we'll still be using the same standard, without updates, in ten years!

I get the feeling that the UK is becoming more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

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Re: Gov. Controlling private companies

You missed the point.

Companies can use whatever they want - but if they want to interact with the government then they must use open data formats.

Just like you telling someone else if they want to talk to you they have to use english rather than their native tongue - but you're not telling them they have to use english in their home.

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IT Angle

"However, the Committee said that there were too many restrictions preventing public data from being disclosed and said that there should be a shift in emphasis to ensure data is published more often."

That sentence provides the clue ... it has nothing to do with data formats and everything to do with the government's transparency agenda. There seems to be a general feeling that too many outsourced contracts put up strong defences to FOIA requests because the contract is being operated by a private contractor rather than a central or local government entity. Southwest One (now painfully unwound) certainly used the tactic and I imagine that others do too.

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Never mind open data, what about open source?

Talking not about the data but about the software that produces it, surely HMG should be trying to encourage and use open source? They should 'crowd source' solutions instead of getting locked in with one always-very-expensive proprietary provider.

I'm not suggesting that they should try to get software for free. Pay a solution provider but oblige them to work open source and it will be in their interests to seek input from the wider open source community. So instead of something that is unique, bespoke and only understood by a handful of people within one company you get a solution that can be seen and understood and improved by anyone.

Of course software system suppliers will hate this because they wouldn't have any lock-in.

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