OpenDocument Debate Heats Up

As you may have anticipated, this debate has turned political. The amount of FUD getting thrown around is amazing. What's also amazing is that people who clearly don't understand what is being decided are the ones making the decision. I guess that's not so surprising when you think of how Government is run sometimes. There seems to be some confusion that the move is to OpenOffice.org, when the move it to OpenDocument and anyone that is willing to support it, including Microsoft. How a senator could say “it appeared that no cost analysis had been done before ITD committed to OpenDocument, and that the agency had moved forward unilaterally without input from other agencies.” is beyond me. Was a cost analysis done when the choice was made to move to Microsoft Office? Was one made on the basis of remaining with Office? If so, did it take into account vendor lockin, constant upgrades, the potential of getting locked out of your own data and restricting access to Government documents to the subset of citizens that run Windows or Mac OSX in addition to being able to afford a multi-hundred dollar office suite? It also escapes me why “training” is always lumped into the migration side and not the upgrade side. Let's face it, moving from Office 97 to OpenOffice.org 2.0 is not that much more of a stretch then moving to Office 2003. Both are completely different than Office 97. If someone can figure out Office 2003 based on their Office 97 experience, they won't have much trouble with OOo 2.0. The reality here is that Microsoft doesn't want to fully support OpenDocument because it would require them to compete on a level playing field. While some people inside the company are willing to do that, clearly most aren't. Some at the company even want educated consumers, while clearly others just want a check to cash.
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–jeremy

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