Open and shut cloud

October 16, 2011

Following on from the previous post about cloud and open source, I discover a number of further reports with varying opinions.

First of al, the September/October 2011 edition of ITU – UKauthorITy in Use has a report by Dan Jellinek of a live debate on Open Standards in the public sector. In it Bill McCluggage states that the UK government is set to publish a draft list of ten or twelve open standards that are likely to include ones such as HTTPS, Unicode UTF8 and word processing formats. McCluggage also disagrees with the PASC recommendation that government “should omit references to proprietary products and formats in procurement notices”, something I find rather strange, when this is clearly a useful, if limited, way forward.

In contrast a story in the MIT Technology Review by Michael Fitzgerald dated 6 October 2011 entitled “Can an Open Cloud Compete?” agrees with an earlier opinion stating “most cloud services are proprietary, and the technology used to run them is kept secret. Once a company signs up for one cloud service, it can be difficult to move to another provider”. As a contrast it then goes on to describe the OpenStack conference in Boston, USA and some other new projects developing both open cloud software, and hardware.

A further opinion supporting open cloud is in the May 17 2011 Linux Journal in a piece by Bernardo David entitled “Open Source Cloud Computing with Hadoop” describing the large number of major users of Hadoop including Google, Amazon and others. The risks involved in cloud are highlighted in an article in Guardian Government Computing 10 October 2011 by Mike Small explaining that “the cloud is not a single model, but covers a wide spectrum from applications shared between multiple tenants to virtual servers used by one customer”, something I described before.

With these contrasting opinions of whether cloud can be open or even whether when using open source it remains open, the only option for the user is to ensure that any procurement notice or contract ensures that they are not locked into any form of proprietary software or hardware by the supplier, patentee or owner of any intellectual property involved. A veritable legal minefield until the dust cloud settles.


E-government – back in the news?

November 22, 2009

On Thursday 19 November 2009 The Guardian’s Michael Cross published a piece entitled “It’s now time for e-government policy to take the spotlight.”

In his usual charming manner Michael highlights the ignorance of one minister just three years ago, but concludes that 13 years on from the Conservative Green Paper, something might finally happen. I suspect that 13 years is still too soon and Micahel is being optimistic, but what is the cause of his optimism? It’s the EU Ministerial Conference in Malmo, Sweden. For the UK, Bill McCluggage, John Suffolk’s deputy was talking about “A Future that is Efficient, Sustainable and Responsible.”

Andrea di Maio picks up the latest declatation on his blog and does his usual thorough analysis and ends up slightly confused as to where it stands with Gov 2.0, although I suspect for the UK this probably takes on the observation by Michael Cross as to which way we go next year after the election – there are, of course, at least two choices, open up the data or give it to the private sector to open up!

William Heath was also in attendance anf he praises Ton Zilstra’s summary of the event.