Feeds

UK.gov IT minister makes open source gaffe over browsers

Angela Smith hits wrong note on Opera

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The UK government’s current minister in charge of the IT brief has got her knickers in a twist over web browsers by wrongly stating that Opera is based on open source technology.

Angela E Smith, Labour MP for Basildon and Thurrock, took over some of the Cabinet Office responsibilities of “digital engagement” minister Tom Watson in October last year, after he quit the front bench in June 2009.

Since then Smith has overseen the government’s latest rejig to its open source and open standards software procurement policy, following pressure from OSS vendors last autumn.

However, the minister seems to still be struggling with the fundamental differences between proprietary and open source-developed technology.

Smith, who previously served as a private parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, made the boo boo in answer to a question tabled by Tory MP for Horsham Francis Maude.

The shadow Cabinet Office minster asked Smith “what her policy is in respect of the installation and use of Internet Explorer, (b) Firefox and (c) Opera website browsers by government departments”.

Smith, who is responsible for the information and security brief across Whitehall, made a confident but ultimately inaccurate reply about where UK.gov stands on the aforementioned browsers.

“Government policy regarding installation and use of web browsers is that all decisions must be in line with value for money requirements," she noted.

"In addition, the ‘Open Source, Open Standards, Re-use’ strategy requires departments to consider open source browsers such as Firefox and Opera on a level basis with proprietary browsers such as Internet Explorer.”

The minister has previously attacked what she described as "a small number of global organisations" in the IT world that lack the "philanthropic spirit" so beautifully exemplified by World-Wide-Web inventor-extraordinaire Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

But someone clearly needs to tell Smith, who is a big fan of David Essex and The Osmonds, that the Norwegian browser maker - Opera Software - is in fact a multinational company based in Oslo, pulling in plenty of kroner to boot. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.