So the Tories are in favour of Open Source software. Open Source Whitehall is the headline on BBC News, reporting a speech that Tory Treasury spokesman George Osborne made today at the Royal Society of Arts. Even Demos are trumpeting the speech, and Guido has a typically cynical take on Labour-Microsoft.
Being in favour of Open Source is all very well – Whitehall’s dependence on Microsoft technology is far too strong and needs to be looked at. But do the Tories have any credibility to talk about this? If their website presence is anything to go by, I don’t actually think so. I’ve had a hunt about, but I can’t work out what technology runs Conservatives.com or indeed who designed it. If it was one of the major Open Source content management systems there would be telltale signs… For Webcameron it’s a little easier – the site is made (at least in part) by Head London, who do use WordPress for site development, although not for Webcameron. Head London designed the smooth but vacuous Movement for European Reform that the Tories have launched, and that site runs WordPress.
Labour actually does use Open Source software for its own website – Typo3 powers www.labour.org.uk (view the source code) although they could surely improve too. There’s one deputy leadership candidate that is leading the way with Open Source though – Harriet of course.
So in short, the next time you read something about the Conservatives supporting Open Source on their website, do not neglect the irony of the fact that systems they used to get that message to you are probably not Open Source.