The following post is cross-posted from Jeni’s blog –

Over the last few months, the UK Government has been running a consultation on its Open Standards policy. The outcome of this consultation is incredibly important not only for organisations and individuals who want to work with government but also because of its potential knock-on effects on the publication of Open Data and the use of Open Source software within public sector organisations.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft, Qualcomm and other organisations who have a vested interest in keeping the UK Government locked in to their products are responding vociferously to the consultation. They risk not only losing business to smaller enterprises within the UK but also, if the policy is successfully adopted here, in other countries in Europe and internationally that follow suit.

If we want our Government to be Open — to use Open Standards, to publish Open Data, to adopt Open Source — then we must respond to this consultation in numbers.

There are three things that you can do:

  1. Respond to the consultation — made even easier by this response form developed by Ric Harvey
  2. Attend the events — these seem pretty full now, but try to get in if you can
  3. Spread the message — blog and tweet and write to raise awareness of the importance and impact that this consultation could have

The consultation is quite long and there are a lot of questions to answer. In the hope of making this easier for everyone, I’ve published my response over on my blog. Please consider these responses public domain, and feel free to copy as much or as little as you like from them (though I recommend you omit the parts that are about my individual experience and substitute them with your own).

For extra background, read:

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Jeni is an independent consultant specialising in XML, XSLT, schemas and the semantic web. She was one of the founders of the EXSLT initiative, has authored several books on XSLT and was an invited expert on the XSL Working Group during the design of XSLT 2.0. She is an invited expert on the XML Processing Working Group and the main developer of DTLL, the datatype library language, which is part of DSDL. She also has an interest in overlapping markup, and is one of the developers of LMNL and of Creole, a schema language for overlapping structures. She lives in London with her de facto and two young children.