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Glyn Moody

Glyn Moody's look at all levels of the enterprise open source stack. The blog will look at the organisations that are embracing open source, old and new alike (start-ups welcome), and the communities of users and developers that have formed around them (or not, as the case may be).

Benefit Claimants Must Use Ancient Microsoft Software

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Remember the bad old days when the UK government forced people to use Microsoft software in order to interact with it online? Remember how we thought the UK government had finally moved on, recognising that it should use truly open standards allowing citizens the freedom to adopt whatever software they wanted, not least through the fine, open standards-based site? We were wrong, as Tim Jeffries pointed out on Twitter earlier today.

Here's that same site's page on Disability Living Allowance:

How to claim

You can apply for Disability Living Allowance ():
by post – using the claim pack (the forms tell you where to send them)

OK, let's see what happens when we follow the link for online applications: we end up on this page, where we are told:

This service doesn't work with some modern browsers and operating systems.

Oh, really? So which ones might they be?

Operating systems and browsers

The service does not work properly with Macs or other Unix-based systems even though you may be able to input information.

You are likely to have problems if you use Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 and 10, Windows Vista or a smartphone. Clearing temporary internet files may help but you may wish to claim in another way.
There is also a high risk that if you use browsers not listed below, including Chrome, Safari or Firefox, the service will not display all the questions you need to answer. This is likely to prevent you from successfully completing or submitting the form.

So not only does it not work with GNU/Linux – as usual – it doesn't even work with Macs or smartphones. Basically, it works only with laughably old versions of Microsoft Windows:

Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows ME, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP

Oh, and just to add insult to injury:

If you use Jaws or Supernova screen readers, we apologise for any problems you may experience.

In other words, if you are visually impaired, tough luck, matey.

This site is a disgrace. It would have been a disgrace ten years ago, but to be requiring people to use old versions of Windows in order to apply for Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Overseas State Pension online, is just beyond a joke. Those responsible should hang their heads in shame and sort it out immediately.

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