Massachusetts Finalizes Plan to Use the OpenDocument Standard

It's great to see that Massachusetts has finalized its plan to stop using proprietary document formats and standardize on the OASIS OpenDocument format. This wasn't about “ditching Microsoft”, as many outlets seem to be reporting. In fact, it's not about a specific vendor at all. It's about using a document format that ensures that state documents are available via an open spec. It's about ensuring that a single vendor doesn't control how a state government can access its own data. It's about state government allowing its citizens to choose how they can access data without worrying about patents and without dictating platform. In the end, it's one of the most sound decisions you'll see a US state government make. State documents need to be available for hundreds of years. That's something Microsoft cannot possibly guarantee. And it should be obvious why requiring a citizen to purchase a single application that only runs on two platforms and is only available from a single vendor to access data that is critical is not just silly, but asinine. I say good job MA – first the Boston tea party and now this ;) Hopefully we'll see some follow through here. The odd part is that the response from the Microsoft rep seemed to be of the “the customer does not have the right to define their own requirements” attitude, insinuating that you should just be happy with what Microsoft offers for a format. This attitude runs contrary to some of the reform we've seem from Microsoft recently. Maybe they won't be able to ditch their predatory monopolistic practices. Maybe they can't be trusted.
–jeremy
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