Feeds

UK.gov IT minister makes open source gaffe over browsers

Angela Smith hits wrong note on Opera

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.