Open Source and eGovernment 3

Is anyone else totally frustrated trying to deal with the Government electronically if you DON’T use Internet Explorer? I run my own small business and for 4 years, successfully used NetScape 4 and a digital certificate to access Government email, VAT, PAYE and Corporation Tax. Gradually the applications have stopped working under NetScape 4 (reasonably enough) but the ONLY browser supported with Digital Certificates is Internet Explorer.

Our company’s security policy prohibits IE – too insecure, too many patches and anyway we now run Linux on the Desktop. Some eGovernment applications have some support for Open Source browsers but not with digital certificates.

I have spent countless hours talking to eGovernment helpdesks with bug reports and screenshots. Eventually they all gradually fade away, especially if you ask about strategy with regard to supporting open source browsers. Didn’t this government have a splash in the press last October about supporting open source?

The argument is always “it’s not worth supporting open source because no-one uses it”. Self fulfilling prophecy! The Government should be leading the way on Open Source, not prohibiting it.

Does anyone have access to the office of Ian Watmore, head of eGovernment?? I tried writing to the CEO of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) but other than a secretarial response saying it had been passed on, I’ve had no reply.

Jane Curry