>> "We anticipate developing ROS to run on the UNIX and LINUX
>> platforms at a later stage."
They should anticipate making it work on any off the shelf platform
now. As pointed out by someone in this thread, this site is broken
under JRE1.4, and as such, anyone buying a new Mac or PC for Christmas
will be downloading the Java Plugin for Java Functionality which will
not run ROS.
They of course have worked out a solution to "fix" their largest
customer base, the Microsoft Windows users, and this fix involves them
illegally redistributing an old Microsoft Java VM. That is a pressure
point that could bring about a fix to address this issue.
>> I'm confused?
>> It's the cert that is the problem. Part of the subscribing
> to the service is downloading a piece of third party windows
> software. I forget the exact details but I think that is the
> weak link. I started the whole registration process (step 1,
> this, step 2, that, step 3, the other) but had to change over
> to windows at that point.
The CERT is not a problem, thats a quite open standard. The problem is
that the login for the site was developed under contract by a large
security company in early 2000, or slightly before that. The security
company licenced their crypto library to the project. The problem is
that changes in the Java architecture have meant that security
services which had to be provided by third party libraries back in
2000, are now provided by the VM. Also security providers must now be
digitally signed themselves, which was not the case (pre Java Plugin),
and that will prevent the site from working.
The crunch is, everything works, or could be made work within a day on
Linux, EXCEPT the login. I would even suspect that the java code for
the login will not work if rebuilt using up to date security libraries
and up to date java technologies.
>>>> "If you are using a different operating system or configuration, we
>> are interested in hearing from you with a view to establishing
>> whether there is a need for ROS to operate on further systems."
>>>> so get emailing! (roshelp at revenue.ie)
>> Yes. I emailed them a few weeks ago and requested linux support. At
> least they are open to supporting multiple platforms. They can
> it anyway.
"Get emailing". Don't hold your breath waiting for an answer or
somthing to be done however. Working for an entity which gets
requested for feedback on issues from ROS, I can confirm that even
when they want your feedback, they don't even acknowledge it.
As regards "they can afford it anyway", I'd doubt it. Their budget for
this years deveopments were slashed from 8.somthing million euro to
4.5million (including VAT). They're quite obviously going to have to
operate on a shoestring this year, and have ambitious plans to develop
"web services" to support third party software, and have once again,
issued broken specs that do not conform to the standards that they are
trying to implement. Looks like the potential to run over budget,
unless of course they once again dont conform to the standards, and
re-invent the shape of the wheel. Worked for Microsoft, so why not ROS
(ROS are in a monopoly position too as regards irish tax...).
Fixing the login problem for all platforms is going to require a new
version of the Login applet with a new security provider
implementation. This they would have to outsource, essentially feeding
some of their low fat lunch to a third party this year. I would be
about 3% confident of them being able to fix the problem in house
without bringing in the costly security teams.
For me, I think that the only way you are going to see proper cross
platform support for ROS developed, is if pressure comes on from
outside third parties. Right now the internal impression that ROS have
of themselves is that they are 100% right. So instead of emailing
roshelp at ros.ie try emailing BSA and advising of the illegal MS VM
download on ROS to enable ROS to work on new versions of Windows.
Try also emailing your political representatives and notify them of a
government website that is not socially inclusive. Last I heard was
that ALL government websites had to be socially inclusive, and this
site only works for users of old mac systems, and PC systems with out
of date Java technology.
Another way to give ROS a kick up the arse would be to get emailing
your privacy groups. I have heard (unconfirmed) reports that ROS
actually enables personal info being leaked to third parties.
Apparently if you register as an agent, and tell them that you are the
agent for a certain individual, they will happily divulge ROS filings
for that individual to you without consultation with the client. This
information could be anything pertaining to income tax for self
employed individuals, so your salary levels are open to be snarfed and
published. This makes me personally nervous about using ROS in a
personal capacity as a "sole trader". I would be happy to us it as a
company though, as this issue does not arise. I repeat, its
unconfirmed, I know ROS have been asked to confirm this, but with
their turnaround on questions from known parties, I would expect
another 7 weeks, it's only been 3 since they were contacted, add
another 3 weeks for Christmas break, I'll keep you posted if I hear
anything before next Christmas.
Also in the vein of social inclusion, I would like to see ROS made
fully accessible to people using braille displays etc. It just seems
crazy that a blind person wouldn't be able to use the site because
they have made it "unaccessible", when they could have done
differently. Now blind people have to use paper docs that they cant
see, and can't use the computer interface which they can "see". These
guys are getting off scott free as regards social inclusion, while
every other government website development has to be Lynx compatible
for this very reason.
The sad thing is, no matter how good or bad a job they do, you're
still going to have to pay your taxes, AND pay for the ongoing
development of this system. Talk about somthing being "incredibly
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