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back to article MP warns against Microsoft monopoly in e-gov services

Citizens are being excluded from e-government services because they don't have the right software, an MP has warned. Liberal Democrat MP Dr John Pugh believes the government is unwittingly creating a Microsoft monopoly in its delivery of online services because, in many cases, the public can only access them by using the US …

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Gates Horns

It's not the governments fault...

The problem is not with the government failing to provide support for multiple operating systems / browsers, but a lack of compatibility amongst them.

It would be more efficent if, across the whole of the internet, the browsers would all responsed the same way to the same code, rather than have to make different versions of web pages for different browsers.

Or is that stating the bleeding obvious?

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Paris Hilton

Eagle Down

The point that i think several people are missing is that the debate was not about oss or event about open standards its about illegal state aid, ie your and my tax pounds being used to prefer one supplier. Where government preferences a platform that people must use (and it does it repeatedly and systematically without realising it) they are distorting the market and not in a little way, look at the consequences of doing that EU vs MS (interoperability and preferencing platforms by bundling media players). This is the charge the minister refused to answer.

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Gates Horns

It is the bleeding obvious...

@Peter Ingram

It is the bleeding obvious but you have to blame M$ for producing a browser that you have to code differently for. Mozilla is pretty standards compliant - not 100% but good. But when it comes to IE, you HAVE to do things the MS way.

Most decent web developers spend 20% of their time making a nice website that works properly for browsers and 80% of the time making it work in IE

@Anonymous coward: its worse than that - it has nothing to do with OS platform - I run Firefox under windows and STILL can't use most of these sites. I'm having a long-running argument with my bank as they insist Firefox isn't secure enough to use on their website and I insist back that IE isn't secure enough for me to trust it on their site.

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Unhappy

NHS Choose and Book

I don't give a damn about the technicalities. All I know is I can't book a hospital appointment because the "choose and book" site tells me: "We are sorry, but the web browser you are using is not compatible with the online Choose and Book service." Yeah, thanks, so which browser IS compatible? (It doesn't say. I've tried Safari and Firefox so far).

Try it yourself: www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk/patients

Click on: Book or change your appointment online now

There's a telephone number offered instead. Thanks a bunch. If I could use a telephone, I wouldn't need to see the audiologist! Thank God I don't have a life-threatening illness.

Sam

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Anonymous Coward

Its not just government

OK, I work for a small business. Our broadband went 'off' for a few days last week (not happy 'bout that, but thats a separate matter.

Two of the main sites we use just won't work on dial-up (very graphic intensive - the sites actually time out under dial-up before the mapping comes up).

So I brought my home laptop into work to order some products that we use (large PDF files) - thought I'd pop into a nearby wi-fi enabled cafe... Well - one site allows you to log in using Firefox but won't accept you actually clicking on any of the buttons therein, and the other won't even let you log in! You just get a splash page telling you to please view the site using IE.

I have complained to both sites and just been told that an insignificant number of people use Firefox so there.

Anyway, just my tuppennorth.

D.

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@BoldMan

Please let me know which Bank requires you to use the most insecure browser on available, so I know not to ever use them!

Cheers,

Matt.

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