Daily archives: February 25, 2012

Looking into the Future of HMG Desktop/Client side computing – London 04/04/12 1

The BCS Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) will be holding a detailed event around the future of HM Government Desktop/Client side computing at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA (http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/london-office-guide.pdf) on Wednesday 4th April 2012, from 1000 to 1700 hours.

Rationale for this event

With HM Government looking with renewed vigour at its computer systems and in particular what benefits open source may bring, this event intends to take a detailed look at what HMG Desktop/Client side computing may consist of in the near future. For example should it be based primarily around web services where accessible would not be platform dependent so that for instance Civil Servants can load whatever operating system they like on to an HMG funded laptop. Alternatively could the future follow more closely the success (http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/limux-munich-linux-migration-project-reports-success) of the City of Munich using the Limux operating system based around Ubuntu Linux 10.10 or perhaps should some form of rigidly controlled thin client system running off of blade servers be used.

Another possible way forward is through the use of what has been termed the ‘Jigsaw approach’ where business applications are all fully vendor independent of each other and can be swapped from one product to another with relative ease. For instance one Office Suite or Browser product might be used for say 6 months and therefore form part of the HMG desktop for that period of time, but can easily be changed for another product after that period of time.

This bookable event is free and open to all with buffet and refreshments (Breakfast served from 0930, Lunch from around 1300, Afternoon Tea and Cakes from 1530, Wine and Nibbles from around 1700). To book a place to attend please email Mark Elkins at mark_elkins@bcs.org

The Speakers

Gerry Gavigan, Chair, Open Source Consortium (OSC), http://www.opensourceconsortium.org

Chris Kenyon, VP Sales & Business Development, Canonical http://www.canonical.com/about-canonical/overview/management-team Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu. Chris has had the privilege of being responsible for Canonical’s  commercial engagements with industry partners Dell, HP, Intel and ARM and has helped lead commercial growth of the company over the last five years.  Chris spends much of time on the road with customers in North America, Europe and China.  His present role spans commercial engagements with both end customers and industry partners.

Event Abstract:
– What do desktops of the future look like?
– How do we give civil servants, health-care professionals, teachers and the armed services access to the tools, they need?
– How would an alternative HMG desktop look like?
– Learning from large Linux deployments globally:
– What are some of the best practices for using Linux desktops and proprietary software together?
– What are some of the obstacles that large non-Microsoft desktop deployments face?
– Is a bring your own device culture an opportunity or a threat to the HMG desktop?

Steve Lamb, Open Source Strategy Lead, Microsoft UK. Steve works with Open Source developers, communities and business leaders to enable & encourage a growing ecosystem of Open Source projects on Microsoft technologies including Windows Azure. Steve is a technologist with solid business and communications experience who’s worked at Microsoft for the last ten years with the previous ten being specialised in UNIX. He thrives on breaking down unnecessary barriers, working with amazing people to understand complicated problems and helping communities be more successful. He has paid great attention to cloud technologies (and social media) for many years. Steve has spoken at major conferences around Europe including TechEd – he’s not “a speaker” by trade.

Event Abstract: Hands up who’d like to use a computer that takes forever to boot, is inflexible, obsolete and expensive? Anyone? No I thought not! Sadly this is the reality for users of the current HMG standard desktop. It really doesn’t have to be this way. My peers will present a range of alternative Open Source platforms. Open Source runs REALLY WELL on Windows Client, Server and in the (Azure) cloud. A MODERN version of Windows can give a MUCH BETTER experience though changing the desktop Operating System is only part of the solution. Having a sensible configuration is critical. Keeping it up to date is key. Keeping costs down is important. Freeing people to work HOW THEY WORK BEST is critical.

Richard Melville, Systems Architect, runs Cellularity (cellularity.co.uk), a company committed to developing and producing the “Stellar System”, a small, silent, user-friendly, distributed desktop system running only free software. Interested in electronics at an early age, and designing transistor radios for fun, Richard first worked in the telecoms industry. Moving on to machine control and thyristor-driven dockside equipment he then decided to take time out and took a Sociology degree at Essex University. On leaving University he ran a PCB design company before joining Racal Electronics, a founder member of Vodafone, when the company was working on installing the UK’s first mobile phone network.

Event Abstract: The landscape of the computer desktop is changing fast, driven in part by the rapid developments taking place in the mobile arena.  Howling towers stuffed under office desks, running proprietary software, and creating an unpleasant noisy working environment are giving way to smaller, more energy-efficient systems.  Over the years we have seen vacillations between server-client to peer-to-peer and back again.  With the proliferation of cheap multi-core processors the time is now right for small distributed desktop systems.  With the low power consumption of such systems and the advancement of battery technology there is the potential of freeing the desktop from the constraints of the mains electricity supply.

Tariq Rashid, Lead Architect HOIT Technology Solutions & Assurance, Home Office, HM Government, explaining the “jigsaw” model and its suggested benefits.

Sam Tuke is UK Coordinator for the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). He has been using, developing, and promoting Free Software since 2003, organised and spoken at conferences in Sweden, Britain, and Germany, and is currently working on the Document Freedom Day 2012 campaign for Open Standards.

Event Abstract: Public bodies in Europe and beyond are making use of Free Software in a major way. From Munich City Council, to the schools and universities of Brazil, to the local authorities of Belgium, Free Software is providing new solutions in highly competitive public sector markets. Sam will introduce the most interesting of these deployments, and discuss why Free Software was chosen in each case and what benefits it brought. The talk will conclude with an exploration of the advantages that Free Software can offer to the British public sector.

Jan Wildeboer,Open Source Evangelist, Red Hat

Event Abstract: Building the New Now with Open Standards and Open Source – After a short definition of terms we will go through the history, present and possible future of solutions based on open principles. We will revisit some of the early projects that have worked and more importantly those that didn’t work to learn from their failure.

Open Standards, FRAND, and FOSS – London 29/03/12 1

The BCS Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) will be holding an event considering the relationship between Open Standards, Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory terms (FRAND), and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA (http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/london-office-guide.pdf) on Thursday 29th March 2012, from 1800 to 2100 hours.

This bookable event is free and open to all with buffet and refreshments. To book a place to attend please email Mark Elkins at mark_elkins@bcs.org


The Cabinet Office opened an Open Standards Consultation on 9 February 2012 which closes for comments on 3 May 2012. Within question one http://consultation.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/openstandards/question1/ is the sub-question:

How could adopting (Fair) Reasonable and Non Discriminatory ((F)RAND) standards deliver a level playing field for open source and proprietary software solution providers?

Dependent upon on your viewpoint FRAND is possibly one of the most contentious terms that could be applied to FOSS because it conflicts with some potentially important aspects of it. As well as the view of the UK Government and the awaited outcome of the Cabinet Office Open Standards Consultation there is activity taking place in the EU Parliament that may affect the use of FOSS due to FRAND.

Aim of event

This event aims to unravel the relationship between Open Standards, FRAND, and FOSS and therefore make it clear what affect this relationship has for the practical application of Open Source. For instance – Would the use of the GPL licence and other OSI approved licences be affected?; Would the UK Government be constrained in what Open Source software it could use? or Could ways be found around such problems?

The findings from this event will be passed on to the BCS Policy Hub to feed into an overall BCS response to the Cabinet Office Open Standards Consultation. The BCS Policy Hub Consultation can be found at http://www.bcs.org/content/ConWebDoc/43785 where comments should be submitted by 18th April 2012.


Gerry Gavigan, Chair, Open Source Consortium (OSC), http://www.opensourceconsortium.org will discuss Royalty Free (RF) Open Standards and FRAND, which will involve active audience participation in that discussion.

Empirical Studies of Software Development (including mining Open Source repositories): research at The Open University – Milton Keynes 15/03/12

The Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) and BCS Bedford Branch will be holding a combined event on Thursday 15th March 2012 from 1800 hours at Hub Theatre, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (Location Maps) about Empirical Studies research at The Open University of Software Development (including mining Open Source repositories).

Please register for this event by e-mailing to mcs-computing-secretaries@open.ac.uk your dietary requirements and your name and affiliation as it should appear on your badge. Sandwiches and beverages from 18:00.


Researchers from the Open University.


Professional software practice is easily taken for granted, but the best practice embodies knowledge, experience and insight that can be shared to good effect. Empirical studies of software development aim to understand how software is actually engineered and maintained in practice, in order to develop better techniques and tools to support software developers and managers.

The Open University has a strong research record in qualitative and quantitative empirical research of professional software development, drawing on methods and theory from cognitive psychology and sociology among other disciplines to provide analytic insight. Our research is based on field studies of practices ranging from small start-ups to multi-national corporations.

The evening will start with brief talks overviewing the various research strands, followed by mingling around posters, where you can learn more details and discuss research challenges and opportunities in your organisation. Topics to be presented include ethnographic studies of agile development and scientific software development, mining open source repositories for vocabulary usage and for assessing architectural evolution, studies of expert software design and of meaningful changes in software development.