This page lists suggestions which have been sent to the Innovation Team for consideration. Suggestions which resulted in an immediate fix or response are not listed here.

1. Suggestions under consideration

Date proposedTitleOriginal suggestionStatusTicket (internal to OUCS)
2010-09 Allow delegation on accounts without requiring Outlook In rt.oucs #1605942 I had to request that OUCS give Editor permissions on a user's mailbox to another user because the initial user did not have Outlook (and configuring Outlook on another machine was not feasible at the time). A platform-independent way to do this would be helpful. OWA has the ability to delegate permissions on calendars, it seems, but not on mailboxes. (I don't mean delegating full access/send-as rights, which I understand is currently being worked on) Now that we have started on an upgrade to Exchange 2010, any further investigation is on hold until we see if that solves the problem 1606667
2010-03 Selective access to ITSS-restricted facilities Are there any plans please to allow itss01s to control access to each of the facilities available to itss in their unit - for example in being able to restrict Oxford account rescue to selected itss rather than all of them? A list of tick boxes for the various facilties could be used to specify who could do what.. I've queried registration@oucs about this, who tell me there aren't any plans to do this, so can I ask for this to be considered please? The range of itss-restricted facilities is now extensive and runs the gamut from mild to very powerful - it would be very useful to have a granular approach to determine who could do what. This is complex. OUCS is very sympathetic to the problem, and as services change this will be taken into account where possible 1513875

2. Resolved suggestions

Date proposedTitleOriginal suggestionStatusTicket (internal to OUCS)
2010-11 Git server It would be useful for us to be able to host git projects internally. Developing features concurrently, creating hot fixes, timing major releases and merging is an order of magnitude easier than with subversion. Also, it's considerably faster. A google of 'git vs subversion' will give a host of reasons why e.g.: http://thinkvitamin.com/code/why-you-should-switch-from-subversion-to-git/ Of course, if our policy is to develop most software in open source, there's no reason why we can't use external hosting like github or sourceforge (at no cost to us). Although I have no direct experience, by virtue of the architecture of git I would imagine git is easier to maintain server side than subversion. Sysdev at OUCS would like to offer Git alongside Subversion as part of a version control portfolio, but at present there is no resource to work on it. We suggest that Subversion for purely internal projects is adequate, and that Github for OSS projects is probably more sensible anyway. 1623181
2010-11 Windows terminal services I currently use a Mac for development but need to do testing and experimentation on Windows, running a VM works but means my computer starts to crawl due to lack of RAM and disk IO. Having a second computer isn't a very green or cheap option. I would really like it if there was a terminal services server I could connect to and work on. Maybe in the first instance this could just be an internal OUCS service. We do not think that terminal services are the best way to meet this need. We suggest borrowing Windows machines, and getting more memory for your VMWare 1623680
2010-11 Passing back info from OUCS to ITSS Please could OUCS review procedures surrounding passing requests by members of the University back to ITSS. It would help reduce ITSS workload and provide a much more efficient service overall if OUCS Help Desk staff could record relevant information about a request and pass this back to ITSS for action (rather than just referring people back). This way ITSS will be able to act more quickly and 'customers' won't have to chase a response. Examples of this would be where students want project accounts or staff who have entered their SSO account details into a phishing email will be dealt with quickly. Obvious solutions would be simply passing free text in an email back to ITSS or using more structured online forms - perhaps for self-self-provisioning. With the example of phishing then this should be past to the OxCert team who monitor these 'attacks'. This is being pursued by OUCS help centre and ITS3. We accept the principle, but need to consider the best way to manage it. 1636141
2010-11 An Oxford PURL server We, Kwiakowski Group at The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, are thinking of running a Purl server (see http://purl.org/) within our name space eg http://purl.cggh.org/ . Before we proceed I would like to know whether OUCS is planning to run such a service at a University level i.e. http://purl.ox.ac.uk/ OUCS has no current plans for this, but would be happy to work alongside your group if you set it up. 1627513
2010-11 Altiris server for Oxford It might be good to provide a repository for Altiris .bin files for ITSS to use for rolling out security updates. It might be that ICTST would be the major contributor but others could also contribute. It would be great if OxCERT security announcements could include pointers to this repository so people could roll out patches/updates easily and not all have to replicate the work of making Altiris packages. This is agreed in principle, and work at OUCS has been chartered 1627473
2010-11 Mailling list logs Would be extremely useful for a maillist-manager to be able to view logs for emails sent to an OUCS-hosted mailing list - specifically to answer queries about why a message failed or to verify that yes, a message has been sent this time. As well as being able to audit the traffic to the list. (This is specifically for lists where the people authorized to send to the list are not actually on the list themselves). This has been added to the desiderata for the new maillist system planned for 2nd half of 2011. We will not be planning changes to the existing system 1630952
2009-11 RSS Feed on vacancies I would be very interested to here of upcoming vacancies in OUCS and would consider that a RSS feed from the vacancies page to be most useful. We are looking to move job vacancies into OXITEMS to solve this 1636141
2010-04 Poster Printing I would like the ability to print A0 posters on fabric rather than card. This would allow me to fold my poster in my main luggage for conferences rather than risk it with hand luggage. This facility is available at no extra cost to the end users at the University of Manchester Sadly, we cannot do this. Our printer does not accept fabric. It will be born in mind if/when the printer is replaced. 1514642
2010-03 semantic web/linked data help Work is now being undertaken in this area as part of a project with Estates Directorate 1505262
2010-03 Server Network Monitoring I produce a lot of data that I make publicly available and which gets quite heavily used. I'd like to start making my data readable in some format aka the semantic web/rdf etc. Is there any support available to help me do this? I think this is going to be a very useful thing to do and I'd like to get a bit ahead of the curve. Work is now being undertaken in this area as part of a project with Estates Directorate 1503104
2010-03 Embedded viewer option on podcasts.ox.ac.uk I think that one of the options on podcasts.ox.ac.uk should be a link to (dynamically generated) embedded viewer page to watch the videos. This would be convenient for those users who don't have appropriate media playing software on their computer or don't want to fire up such software to watch the first 20 seconds of something to see if they are interested in it. This will in Weblearn from start of 2011 1505711
2010-01 alternative to anonymous proxies As a web developer trying to serve different content to different audiences (and of course hide some content from some of them), it is quite often useful to be able to check what 'the rest of the world' can see of our pages. While it is possible to do this by viewing a site from home using a commercial ISP connection, or using an anonymous browser, it would be preferable to be able to use a secure, safe, in-house resource rather than have to turn to an advertisement-driven third-party site The wireless network 'eduroam' provides this facility neatly, as it puts users outside the Oxford network. We suggest using a wireless laptop connected in this way to test webpages. 1479556
2010-01 Secure transfer of c.300MB files from NHS to Oxford Networks A new service for this will start in Hilary 2011, and be in full service in Trinity 2011 1405739
2009-07 Poster printing It would be good if the poster printing service would accept files submitted electronically. It would be trivial for me to place a high-res PDF on our departmental website, and email in a confirmation of payment from the online shop. OUCS will be implementing this later in 2010 1367900
2010-03 Signed TSM packages from HFS I'd like to request that (human/time) resources be available so that the TSM client packages are signed. We use the HFS backup service on our servers. HFS do not want anyone to use 3rd party packaged TSM clients. HFS say that they will not 'sign' the packages they produce as it causes work (see RT#1499104) however it puts the updates they push out at risk of tampering - that is, a compromised package would compromise all hosts using the hfs client without any warning to the individual sysadmins. The comment in that RT ticket that 'only oucs' requests this is not because oucs is unreasonable but because we are expected to have the technical knowledge to know why these situations are bad. It shouldn't be made trivial to silently compromise the majority of oucs's infrastructure by compromising one server simply through refusing to sign packages. Accepted, will happen in due course 1499329
2009-10 mailing list system that ties into predefined groups This will be part of the deliverables of the OAK Groupstore project, scheduled for 2010 1406603
2009-11 Windows 7 x64 VPN Support Please add support for a VPN client which supports a 64bit version of Vista/ windows 7. The current release (Connect Anywhere) should be fine with Vista/7 64-bit 1428026
2009-10 Wireless Registration Step by Step Guide for New Starters We get many new starters who connect up to the OWL network, see the OWL-Visitor home page and then don't really know what to do next. A super simple 'idiots guide' web based setup wizard on the OWL-Visitor home page would be really useful. We quite agree, and are actively working on a new guide now. 1416120
2009-10 Nexus Address Book Alias Displaying everyone's login user name as their 'alias' in the address book in the nexus new message interface is not a particularly useful feature and would be an aid to those wishing to hack into the accounts of others, particularly those prone to using weak passwords etc. We are sorry, but this is not possible. We have to provide a short form alias, and the username is the obvious choice. It is exposed in all sorts of places across Nexus, and it is not practical to conceal it from people. 1414388
2009-10 mailing list system that ties into predefined groups A mailing list system that ties into predefined groups that are automatically updated according to University card status and unit affiliation This will be part of the deliverables of the OAK Groupstore project, scheduled for 2010 1406603
2009-10 Captcha service Centrally-hosted captcha service for spambot protection We do not consider this would offer university members a significant advantage over the freely-available 3rd party systems; in addition, the accessibility problems over Captcha make this a rather controversial area which we do not have the resources to get into. 1401812
2009-08 Subsidised upgrades to Snow Leopard Given the imminent migration to an Exchange Server, the support for this built into the new Mac OS, and the University's site-license for Windows Operating Systems, I suggest that some funds should go to providing free or subsidised upgrades to Mac OS 10.6. OUCS does not have any budget for this. Volume discounts are available from Apple. 1380351
2009-10 Auto updating of mailing list subscriptions In many situations, the e-mail addresses for a list can be automatically generated from an existing database (e.g. all graduates, all staff). The existing Ezmlm mailing list facility allows a list owner to manually upload a text file with a list of subscribers. It would be useful to have an interface (e.g. SOAP) which allowed an automated process to update the subscription to mailing lists without human intervention. This will be part of the deliverables of the OAK Groupstore project, scheduled for 2010 1352778
2007-12-17, 2008-08-12 Large temporary space for file download Imperial College run a rather nice service at: https://fileexchange.imperial.ac.uk/ . It allows a non IC person to upload a (possibly several 100Mb) file to be collected by the owner of an IC email address, or an IC person to upload a file for someone outside the University. It's simple to use and effective and would be great for Oxford. I know of quite a few users making use of external services such as megaupload, dropload etc to transfer files too large to email. But they're usually heavily ad-infested and offer questionable security. Work on a system to implement this functionality will start in January 2010 and should be completed by April 2010 See 1249774 for a reminder on this topic; also 1405739
2009-07 Nexus Folder Usage Table, sortable The 'Nexus folder usage' page on https://register.it.ox.ac.uk/self/nexus displays a table of Folder/Items/Size. It would be good if this folder was sortable by any of these (particularly size). Agreed that this is a good idea, passed to Registration team for implementation 1368352
2009-07 Team blogs It would be nice if the various teams could have (central) blogs, so that we on the outside could see a little more of what they're all up to, if they're willing to share. OUCS staff now have team and individual blogs at http://blogs.oucs.ox.ac.uk; we hope you enjoy them. 1363276
2009-06-18 Automated update of mailling lists It would be useful to have an interface (e.g. SOAP) which allowed an automated process to update the subscription to mailing lists without human intervention. OUCS anticipate adding this feature in due course as part of a larger reworking of the mail list service (either a replacement of the software used to provide mailling list services, or through the Group Store project which will provide group-based mail lists and interfaces for programmatically updating group membership). We do not therefore anticipate doing any development of the current system in isolation. See 1352778
2009-04-15 Secondary authentication Could OUCS and BSP begin to explore the use of one time passwords for managing more sensitive data eg changing staff and student records or oucs mail routings. This will become more important when these systems move to using webauth for routine operations. Where data is changed- not just read- there needs to be extra security in place in case a webauth account is compromised. eg http://blog.nominet.org.uk/tech/2009/03/18/a-quick-review-of-yubikey-one-time-passwords/ A UAS working group is now actively looking at this RT 1329559
2009-04-23 Central RT service A centrally managed RT system would be really useful. Several units around the University use Request Tracker (RT) to manage IT support requests, maintenece requests etc. OUCS already use it to manage several of their support queues, and it is easy to add Webauth integration. St Antony's college is considering using RT for IT helpdesk and maintenence. Although it is relatively straight forwards to set up, we would be interested in using a centrally provided RT were one to be offered. RT is sufficiently easy to run locally that we do not see a real case for a central installation. NSMS will run it for departments if requested. RT 1332356; RT 1325673
2009-06-07 Register of clubs The register at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/clubs/register/index.shtml has been is this state for several years. There would be benefits for the clubs and to OUCS and the University if this site had up-to-date data. This is independent on what computing facilities OUCS give to the clubs themselves ;-) but if we do continue to give them facilities then update to date data on who is currently registered is essential- and much better that the information is public than just a file send to OUCS. The director of OUCS is liaising with the clubs committee to ensure more timely exchange of information RT 1345503
2009-03-24 wiki upgrade of OERC I'm quite sure the this wiki instance is horribly out of date, although I haven't been able to find a version number, but the following my give an indication: MoinMoin/InstallDocs (last modified 2006-08-08 15:59:59) The OUCS sysdev team manage the wiki server using Debian, and follow their cycle of updates for software like MoinMoin RT 1322648
2009-03-13 Groups in Sakai/OAK The Medical Sciences Division is developing a student record system (SRS) that takes data from OSS. We frequently need to divide a year cohort into smaller groups for teaching. Our SRS will generate and maintain groups. We would like to be able to write these and other groups to Oak. We also want to produce personalized timetables for students, possibly from Sakai. To do this we would need to be able to populate 8 - 12 groups per year cohort automatically. Groups change rather dynamically through the year and are different for each year of study. The writeable group store now under development should provide the necessary facilities. 1319579
2008-02-25 Project collaboration workspace Are there currently any OUCS-supplied utilities that enable a collaborative workspace for projects? I'm looking for something that is available now and could be accessed from anywhere within the University, and would offer something like bulletin-board or blog functionality as well as somewhere to share and edit documents. The new WebLearn Beta pilot service (based on Sakai) will offer shared (collaborative) workspace / filestore, a wiki, protected and public facing web pages, a bulletin-board, research diary and an announcements tool. There is no blog tool at the moment but this could possibly be added at a later date if there is enough demand. The pilot service will become a production service in June 2009. The new Groupware service will go live in summer 2009 as well, offering Sharepoint services for research and admin projects. 1176041
2008-02-12 Increase personal disk space on linux.ox.ac.uk I am currently using my account on linux to back up my thesis work, but I find the quota is quite small, 100m right now. Can I get a larger one, say 500M - 1G for convenience? The quota has been increased to 250 M but in general the HFS is recommended for backup 1173138
2008-01-29 Seminar interface to OXITEMS Oxitems works very well as a newsfeed but it doesn't quite answer a growing need for a system to collect and display up-to-date interdepartmental seminar information... [we need] .... to develop an interface and script that would automate this, essentially allowing seminar organisers to post their own information, This will be carried forward by OUCS' information services team working on OXITEMS. A new version is planned for summer 2009 1168959

3. Archived suggestions no longer under active consideration

Date proposedTitleOriginal suggestionStatusTicket (internal to OUCS)
2010-02 DIY ANTI-VIRUS I do not know exactly how much time is being lost by ITSS/IT staff having to re-install systems that have been deemed too highly infected by viruses or trojans but I suspect that it is a lot. (....) The view at OUCS is that re-installs _are_ quite often required. Reinstall from trusted media followed by immediate update is the only way to be *sure* of a clean installation. In any case. we see far too many systems allegedly "cleaned" which turn out not to be. 1486808
2010-02 PREVENTING START OF YEAR/TERM MAYHEM I suggest that as part of student pre- registration and each year renewal, that each student must either connect to a pre-defined (heavily firewalled) portal which does a remote check of the machine and ensures that Windows/Mac system updates are in place and that there is a virus checker/trojan checker installed. A system policy could even check that a virus check is done or has been done. We can also do the normal security checks and establish details of the MAC address and type of connection. This is not something OUCS has a mandate or ability to take forward. Our distributed IT support setup does not support the sort of scheme outlined. 1486806
2010-01 Nexus email Would it be possible to add to the junk-mail filters an option to shred (rather than send to junk-mail) any messages not in Roman script? A lot of junk emial in cyrillic is coming in, and clogging up my junk-mail box - they are clear candidates for 'Invisible deletion' The current architecture of Nexus precludes us offering a "delete on server after spam check" at the moment. It is possible that we will review that when the next version of Exchange is deployed, but that it is not in the near future. 1486178
2009-10 Personal User Webspace Could the space allowed for personal web space be increased from 15 MB? The personal web space provision will be looked at in 2010, but we do not anticipate a big increase here. With the availability of personal space in Weblearn, the forthcoming Sharepoint service, and departmental/college web servers, and numerous external services for non-university work, there are plenty of better alternatives. 1397276
2008-04-01 Webauth as OpenID provider In my travels through the Blogosphere, I find myself wanting to log into sites with an OpenID. Right now I'm using LiveJournal (delegated through my own domain) as my OpenID provider, but given that I'm logged into WebAuth a lot of the time anyway, it would be great if that could serve as my OpenID too, saving me from logging into multiple accounts. After much debate, we have concluded that the benefits of this to Oxford are not enough to justify work on this. 1186203; requested again by RT 1335743 June 2009
2009-03-10 Simplification of Janet Certificate Requests I have the impression that several units in this university find it difficult to generate and manage their certificates. OpenSSL is not the most intuitive tool, the java keytool lacks some very basic functionality (e.g. export key from the keystore to .pem), and with every other tool you find there is some problem (UTF8, ...). Generating CSR isn't trivially easy, but it could be. What do you think about creating a simple Java applet to generate the key and CSR? ('As is', without accepting any liability). * Key is generated locally by applet * We can make sure the CSR is in a format Globalsign will accept it * Do sanity checks - printablesting, 'University of Oxford', DNS ends in .ox.ac.uk and exists - etc. * Automatically check the submitter is on the ITSS register (webauth/LDAP) 'Nice to have' features: * Offer the CSR/key for cut and paste, optionally automatically submitting to globalsign * Automatically send FAX (after confirmation by RA) This applet does not address this issue of key-management (which is a MUCH larger task). It solely is supposed to simplify the process of issuing certificates. The suggestion was appreciated, but the feeling was that this is not a very high priority, and could perhaps be helped just by a review of documentation. 1317991
2009-01-29 University Calendar as CalDAV Every begin of the term hundreds of hours of (more or less well paid) academics are wasted by transcribing the university calendar into their personal calendars and calendar programs. In the times of calDAV and other standards, it would be a huge advantage (at low cost or effort) to provide the University Calendar subscribable online. I hope this will be realized at short timescale. Groupware will provide this in due course, we expect. A serious aggregation is beyond the scope of OUCS. Passed to webmaster@ox.ac.uk 1306502
2008-12-11 Create visitor network accounts within OWL https://visitor-network.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ for creating accounts should be accessible from the OWL wireless network without needing an account (other than SSO, of course) in advance. We do not feel it is necessary to make this change, because the visitor network account admin service is already available from other networks, such as the University network itself, or Eduroam, or via the VPN service. Instructions and software for joining the VPN service or Eduroam are available over OWL, and the University would prefer its members to be using these encrypted wireless services for all business 1293150
2008-11-14 changing Tips Have you thought of including a link to a series of changing Refresher Tips on Webmail intro page (and maybe also OUCS HomePage)? Considered; we won't be changing webmail, but the idea of top tips elsewhere will come in. The OUCS home page already has helpful short notes about services. 1283819
2008-11-06 Shop site navigation Make shop waaaaaaay easier to navigate especally for repairs. The shop site is not under OUCS' control; a new version is promised for spring 2009 1281052
2008-11-05 Adverts on OUCS web pages I think herald webmail could have little advertisement banners at the bottom to make some profit for the university. Webmail is now frozen; but we are anyway bound by JANET contracts not to do this. 1280830
2008-11-27 Webmail enhancements (there have been many complaints about, and suggestions for, Webmail interface and facilities) The university is now engaged in a major procurement of a new groupware system, which encompasses email. See http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/odit/projects/groupware/project for details. OUCS is not, therefore, considering an update to Webmail at the moment. (examples) 1280889, 1283819, 1197572 1197486, 1201703, 1201841
2008-07-07 Oxford tinyurl service Very often the authors of the documents sent us urls like http://tinyurl.com/11cchf which is quite pleasant when compared to horrible long urls. That made me think that a central service could probably be offered so that these short urls would be generated within the ox.ac.uk domain. Something like http://ox.ac.uk/1223fgh would be relatively easy to set up centrally, possibly... This was considered at some length; but we are not currently working on it, since the free service is regarded as being OK to use. More importantly, we are reluctant to make external sites look as if they have an Oxford URL. 1239443
2008-05-20 Security probing service I consider that a useful service that might possibly be offered via ITSS would be the opportunity to register systems to be regularly probed and reports of potential vulnerabilities be sent to the registered keepers of those systems (e.g. using a tool like Nessus) OUCS is reluctant to provide this, as it is better if ITSS take full responsibility for security. We can however look at site licensing costs of Nessus. 1207445