September 23, 2005 11:45 AM PDT

Massachusetts moves ahead sans Microsoft

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Massachusetts to adopt 'open' desktop

September 1, 2005
The commonwealth of Massachusetts has finalized its decision to standardize desktop applications on OpenDocument, a format not supported by Microsoft Office.

The state on Wednesday posted the final version of its Enterprise Technical Reference Model, which mandates new document formats for office productivity applications.

As it proposed late last month before a comment period, Massachusetts has decided to use only products that conform to the Open Document Format for Office Applications, or OpenDocument, which is developed by the standards body OASIS.

State agencies in the executive branch are now supposed to migrate to OpenDocument-compliant applications by Jan. 1, 2007, a change that will affect about 50,000 desktop PCs. The reference model also confirms that Adobe's PDF format is considered an "open format."

News.context

What's new:
Agencies in Massachusetts' executive branch will use only desktop software applications that conform to OpenDocument standards, which excludes Microsoft Office.

Bottom line:
Some observers have praised the move as a bold step toward breaking Microsoft's monopoly on desktop applications. The state says it will save money by migrating to OpenDocuments-based products rather than to Office 12. Others argue that the decision to use only OpenDocuments-based products severely narrows the state's options.

More stories on this topic

The move to adopt OpenDocument shuts Microsoft out of the state's procurement process because the software giant, which dominates the office application market, has said it does not intend to support the OpenDocument format.

Microsoft's Office 12, which is due in the second half of next year, will store Office documents in an XML format. XML is also the basis of OpenDocument. However, Microsoft executives have consistently said that the company will not support OpenDocument natively and rely instead on "filters" to convert formats.

OpenDocument is used in open-source application products, such as OpenOffice and variants of it from companies including Sun Microsystems, IBM and Novell.

On Friday, a Microsoft manager questioned whether the IT division's technical reference model is really the last word on state policy.

"We understand that this is not a final decision for the commonwealth and that state lawmakers and the secretary of state have raised some of the same questions and concerns about this proposal that many others have raised," Alan Yates, Microsoft general manager of information worker business strategy, said in a statement. "Some in state government have talked about potential hearings to delve into this issue further, and we encourage that additional public review and evaluation."

Even before finalizing its plan, Massachusetts' embrace of OpenDocument has stirred strong reactions, both positive and negative.

Some have praised the state's policies as the best way to break Microsoft's monopolistic control of the PC software market. Others, including Microsoft and software industry groups, have criticized the state, saying its decisions narrow choices to open-source products.

"The commonwealth's decision is a watershed event for the adoption of open standards," Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of standards, said in an e-mail Friday. "Massachusetts residents, rather than any one vendor, now control their own information."

The OpenDocument format is being considered by some European governments, including Norway, Denmark and Japan, as well as other U.S. state governments, an IBM representative said.

Meanwhile, foes of Massachusetts' policy said the state is acting unfairly.

During a hearing regarding the proposal last week, Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology, said that Massachusetts was moving ahead with a policy before it had adequately considered the cost or the potential impact.

He also questioned the state's endorsement of Adobe PDF and the

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64 comments

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Add your comment
PDF counts because
OpenOffice supports saving a file as a PDF as standard. The cost.
$0.
Posted by Peej2K (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Also...
Also PDF readers are free again cost to ANYBODY $0

so if you want to pay to make or read a document buy Adobe pro

or you can get the OpenSource version OpenOffice for free

only need to quickly view a file? adobe offers a free viewer... a bandwagon that M$ has only reciently joined for some of it products

we need functionality and both formats do this but we also need portability and M$ is slow to allow others to use its propriatary standards
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
The PDF maybe be Adobe's IP but...
they release the PDF format as an open format so anyone can develop tools that work with PDF. Adobe's own website makes avaliable a file that contains all the information one needs to develop a tool capable of reading and writing PDF documents.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft Could Learn from Adobe
If Microsoft would do with their Office Formats what Adobe does
with their PDF Format, then they wouldn't be excluded.
Posted by testtest (20 comments )
Link Flag
Maybe a mistake.....
..... Never could understand why it took a 40+ MByte Adobe
program to read a 10 KByte PDF file. But then, Adobe is the true
champion of bloatware. And Adobe is interested only in the
professional user and doesn't give a damn about the typical
consumer.

I would hope that MS has a better idea of where its buttered
bread comes from, but it wouldn't be the first time that MS has
lost sight of the real world.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
"...foes of Massachusetts' policy said the state is acting unfairly. "
Hey, free-marketeers and pro-business/pro-competition: Life's not fair.

Wahhh.
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right on
crybabies because they can't see a way to sell $400 dollar products to someone who can get same function for free via open source.

I want to wear a button that says WAAHHH for all those beople crying because they cant spend all their tech budget because everything is free!
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
A good idea.
I only hope it works in practice. Personally, cost aside, I wish every state and federal government body would require this. Dealing in multiple formats is becomming a nightmare for businesses.

I use WordPerfect which doesn't support the OpenDoc format, but I wish they would. It would make interchanging documents a snap.

Not ever kind of software needs to follow somekind of standard format, but theses days Office, Web, and communications do. As a user I am tired of all the different formats and trying to get a converter or some other application to open, view, and print them.

I look at it this way... companies like Microsoft and Corel at the very least need to create an import/export utility for the OpenDoc format. At the most they need to make it their native format. I know that's a drastic view, but so be it. I am one of those people who support the standardization of information formats. I don't want more formats that require more software.

But hey that's just me.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Definitely Right!
That's exactly what we need.
Posted by JuggerNaut (860 comments )
Link Flag
Very good. Very, very good.
I am grateful that Massachusetts has led the way. In the past, Microsoft were able to wave their hands and make unsupported claims, or pull some back-room deals, and keep everyone in awe.

But now, some governments are finally recognizing that they can't continue to allow one vendor's control of file formats to dictate their technolology choices, thereby giving the government's imprimatur to the format and the vendor, and forcing its citizens into the same choices. Other nations, most of whom were poorer and thus suffered more, saw this earlier, and it was easier to make the case against a foreign monopoly. This is the first US state government to make this stand, and it's significant also because it's a major information technology and financial services state.

Mass. has focused on this point and made the real requirements non-negotiable. The problem for Microsoft is that meeting those requirements would endanger their monopoly - a fact to which, obviously, they dare not admit publicly.

I am also grateful to Dan Bricklin for publishing the recording of the meeting. It was, however, painful to hear, because the arguments that the Microsoft supporters brought were truly embarassing. Petulant, misleading, irrelevant (except to Microsoft), fatuous, transparently self-serving, logically tortured to the point of actually supporting the Commonwealth's arguments, and even blatantly, obviously false, all the statements painted a clear and damning picture of a bloated, arrogant, spoiled playground bully and his gang finally called into the headmaster's office, with parents present and nowhere to hide.

The one question they could not answer either truthfully or credibly was: why can't you just support the format? The truth was obvious, and their attempts at pretending that there was any other plausible explanation revealed their terrified anguish at being backed into a corner. Whether the self-deception is finally eroding or not, it is a truly pitiable thing to witness. It was satisfying and cathartic to see truth upheld, and those appointed to serve the public standing unswayed by either deception or threat, but the human misery was heartbreaking, however richly-deserved it may have been. I have no sympathy for their cause, and justice is long overdue. But they are still people, and their livelihood is at stake. It's hard not to imagine myself in similar self-inflicted misery, wicked and foolish child that I have often been.

Of course, Microsoft still has some options open, but none that are likely to preserve their hegemony. Either support the format, and risk the Windows value proposition - which is primarily the cost of switching - or refuse and lose it all. The problem is that they have profited so much from forcing the users to switch that it's no longer the fear that it used to be.

Of course, if they're even more deluded than I think they are, they could try, SCO-like, to drag the whole matter into court, but at best it would only delay the inevitable.
Posted by brianmthomas (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Suing not an option
now, had they required a specific companies format, they would rightly be sued by every other company making document formats

but they required a format audited by an independent body so instead of requiring electrical cords approved by General Electric they required approval by Underwriters Laboratories (the UL tag you see on all Electrical appliances) (UL is a testing facility set up by a group on insurance companies to reduce fire loss by shoddy manufacturing)

our fires are consumer portability. and its shoddy manufacturing is formats that lock you into products, that bloat your budget, and are hard to spread the information to others.

All states, nay GOVERNMENTS. should take notice. public access needs require you make available to the public certain things, Are you going to require your taxpayers, ie your employers, to spend even more to get what they have a right to get? you save money when they get electronic versions of what you are required to supply so make it as easy as possible to save them money.

I foresee a time that government officials that require proprietary programs be used for access will find themselves looking for a job the very next election day after their constituents wake up to the excess cost (are you listening Copyright Office?)
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
Cnet, you're full of it!
"The move to adopt OpenDocument shuts Microsoft out of the state's procurement process because the software giant, which dominates the office application market, has said it does not intend to support the OpenDocument format."

Mass. didn't shut out M$, M$ shut out M$! THEY (M$) ARE THE ONES WHO SAID THEY WON'T SUPPORT OpenDocument! Mass made it clear to M$ that they can compete for Mass procurement only IF M$ is OpenDocument compliant!

GET IT RIGHT!
Posted by ray08 (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I repeat
I want to wear a button that says WAAHHH for all those beople crying because they cant spend all their tech budget because everything is free!
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
Jonathan Zuck is a Microsoft Mouthpiece
n/t
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
With the Exception of MIDI
With the exception of MIDI, I can't remember ever seeing anyone buy software based on its SaveAs options.

PDF open? No it isn't, and it isn't very performant either. On the other hand, it's no problem to write print drivers to make it. But it is IP encumbered and Adobe is getting away with weaseling down the middle. Typical for Adobe but they are survivors and the ultimate beneficiaries of the decision.

What will happen if Microsoft says "ok, we'll saveAs PDF because those are print semantics and that's easy, but not OpenDoc because being semantic laden, it is incompatible. We will continue to provide an XSLT convertor, and that's a good enough "SaveAs", so you can continue to use your Office apps and still get OpenDoc, although it's up to you to find viewers for it because we can't guarantee fidelity on Import". Same as MIDI.

I compliment MASS on their cahones, but I doubt we've seen the ultimate decision here either. Kriss claims it "isn't" about procurement, but that is exactly what it is about. The US DoD tried this kind of stunt with CALS and with all of their buying power, it failed.

Maybe it will take, but not if I have to use WordPerfect. Compared to MS Word, WordPerfect really bites. So someone has to pick up the commercial slack here. Early adopters don't make markets. The market is in the long tail and OpenDoc products aren't there.
Posted by Len Bullard (454 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You don't seem to realize what this about
This is about having your data in a format that you can access if
or when the original product it was written in is no longer
available.

This is about being able to send a document to somebody else
who does not wish or does not have the money to purchase the
software used to create it.

This is about interoperability damn it!

Do you know why the Internet works? It's because the format for
these web pages and their pictures are open standards made by
the World Wide Web Consortium.

Imagine if you had to purchase a $500 web browser just to
browse the Internet and create web pages. Well, that is the way it
is with all of these Microsoft Office documents and it has to
stop!
Posted by testtest (20 comments )
Link Flag
I am going to disagree with you...
about WordPerfect. Word compared to WordPerfect, Word bites. Of course it's always an opinion, but I've used both (Word since 97 and WordPerfect since 5.1) and Word is just a mess. Of course if you like changing formats every release and having documents far beyond repairable then by all means use Word. If you like having what you typed print out the way you typed it then use WordPerfect. If you want something that is based on anything but a good standard use Word.

Word & Microsoft Office my dominate the office, but make no mistake WordPerfect is a real Office application. Word is a container for some objects that have some attributes that sometimes can't be changed due to an error in the program and since this was created in Office 2003 you can't open it in Office 2000 because it's to old so you need to upgrade.

Of course this is just my opinion.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
buy software based on its SaveAs options.
>>With the exception of MIDI, I can't remember ever seeing anyone buy software based on its SaveAs options.<<

I disagree with you completely and I am quite sure Microsoft disagrees with you completely(at least internally.)

Why is Microsoft so reluctant to include the SaveAs OpenDocument option? A couple man hours of developer time and they could. Do they realize that if other software can communicate seamlessly with MS Office they will lose their vendor lockin?

Lets think about those desktops down in purchasing or maintance. Do they really need the full power of MS Word? Could they get by with notepad except for the fact that others send they documents in .doc format.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
Yep
Dear Microsoft,

Please support open standards in all of your products.
For example, those made by
* The World Wide Web Consortium
* OASIS

Please standardize your own technologies to foster
interoperability.

I will refuse to use or recommend your products until the above
actions have been taken.
Posted by testtest (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A Letter To Microsoft
Dear Microsoft,

Please support open standards in all of your products.
For example, those made by
* The World Wide Web Consortium
* OASIS

Please standardize your own technologies to foster
interoperability.

I will refuse to use or recommend your products until the above
actions have been taken.
Posted by testtest (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Woe is M$
Here, we have an organisation, that was part of the committee, that was set up to establish this format, and yet they chose to ignore same! M$, is suffering from monopoly blues we got 90% of the market, we set the standards, the customer has no choice! What arrogance, and negative customer vibes!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Give Me Interoperability or Give Me Your Competitor
I want my data in a format that I can access if or when the
original product it was written in is no longer available.

I want to be able to send a document to somebody else
who does not wish or does not have the money to purchase the
software used to create it.

I want interoperability damn it!

This is why the Internet works so well. It's because the format
for these web pages and their pictures are open standards made
by the World Wide Web Consortium.

Imagine if you had to purchase a $500 web browser just to
browse the Internet and create web pages. That is the way it
is with all of these Microsoft Office documents and it has to
stop!
Posted by testtest (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This will end up costing MA a lot of dough
Fact is, until a substantial percentage of its business partners adopt a new standard (e.g., OpenOffice), they will spend a lot of the taxpayers' money on file compatability issues. Help desk calls. Conversion problems. And the like. Better that MA just came out an endorsed interoperability applications like Open-Office, Excel-to-web (BadBlue or Secure123), etc. - and not just file-format standards.
Posted by directorblue (148 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So, You Advocate the Band Aid Approach Then
Massachusetts is advocating interoperable formats because it is
insane to have to convert things in the first place. Documents
should just be compatible. Why should they have to buy more
software to convert documents made by other software?
Posted by testtest (20 comments )
Link Flag
What is the alternative?
Spending $45 million more to convert to Microsoft's
proprietary XML format? Microsoft's own .doc
formats are incompatable between versions. This
will insure a standard by which all vendors must
comply with. Otherwise, the Microsoft tax would
continue ad infinitum.
Posted by Johnny Mnemonic (374 comments )
Link Flag
Again lawsuits an issue for required programs
if any government body requires a specific company they create a monopoly but if they require an autonomous standard that anyone can chose to comply with(or not) then it is a level playing field and anyone can chose if they will be included (by complying) or excluded. Microsoft has made a rash statement and if they stubbornly follow it then it is their decision to be excluded.

I want to wear a button that says WAAHHH for all those people crying because they cant spend all their tech budget because everything is free!
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
taxpayers' money
>>Fact is, until a substantial percentage of its business partners adopt a new standard (e.g., OpenOffice), they will spend a lot of the taxpayers' money on file compatibility issues.<<

If I recall correctly Microsoft is moving to a licensing rather than ownership model for their software. Let us imagine that 20 years from now, Massachusetts realizes that they have some old documents saved as a MS Word 2003 .doc file. How much do you think Microsoft will charge for a license to convert that old document to something new.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
It won't cost MA anything
It will cost contractors that supplies service to state government to provide document in format the state requires. In other words the contractors will need more tech service to comply, so more tax revenue for the state!
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Wishful thinking
I think you are subjecting yourself to wishful thinking. MS WORD is one of the biggest PITA applications to use / learn. I could sit a newbie user in front of WORD and Wordperfect. Give them orders to preform some tasks and I guarantee that newbie will get it done quicker using Wordperfect. So if you think think OpenOfice appliactions will be harder than WORD you do have wishful thinking.

Plus it is MS that doesn't play well with others. Wordperfect gives you the option to impot WORD docs but please show me where my WORD will do the same for a Wordperfect doc. WORD doesn't have such an option ....one more way to make everyone WORD customers.
Posted by jsjag1990 (1 comment )
Link Flag
You all miss the point
The point is to allow all citizens in Mass. unencumbered access
to available documents.

PDF and OASIS provides this, because any one citizen can read
documentation about these formats and figure it out. So can
software vendors, if they choose.

If one is forced to use an MS Office standard, are Mass. citizens
really expected to purchase a $300.00 EDITOR to read such
documents? Why does one need an EDITOR to read a Word
document? That's like handing out a memo at a board meeting
and requiring everyone have a typewriter to read it. Fits
Microsoft's model just swell, actually.

Please don't tell me MS makes a free Word reader, you Windows
slave.

Every modern OS can create and read PDF out of the box.
Except Windows. Why do they deny their users this feature?
Answer: so users will email each other Word documents instead.
And you all fall for it. Idiots.
Posted by (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
call me what you like
this is a link to the .doc viewer.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=95e24c87-8732-48d5-8689-ab826e7b8fdf&#38;DisplayLang=en" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=95e24c87-8732-48d5-8689-ab826e7b8fdf&#38;DisplayLang=en</a>

adobe doesn't directly provide a tool any more useful than this for viewing pdf files.
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
Link Flag
It is quite surprising..
... that Mass.'s democracy considers it democratic to mandate what the public should and should not use. While the intention is noble, the intervention is artificial.

Standards and proprietary products are available in parallel so that they can each enjoy a natural development of acceptance in the market. The normal success and failure stories should be beneficial to the economy as all players and factors naturally and readily move towards their respective directions.

Artificial success and failure stories are unpredictable and may disrupt harmony and balance in the economy. Suddenly, people and businesses, ready or not, must move towards a direction. Suddenly, talents and skills must be invested on in order to keep up to the demand. Suddenly, there's no freedom to take your own direction.

This is sad and I don't think it is immediately beneficial to people and (small, medium or large) businesses. I have nothing against open standards, but the way it is enforced to success is a big shame...
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'd like to point out the following
Actually what's sad is that people think that Microsoft got where it is through hard work, quality products and good business practices. Say what you will but Microsoft has been convicted of illegal business practices and unfair trade. There was nothing about free market competition in Microsoft's rise to dominance. The only difference between Microsoft and the Enrons and Worldcoms is that the victims of Microsofts illegal activities were other Corporations and not individuals.
Posted by mariusthull (67 comments )
Link Flag
Can't see your point.
What is the Mass. gov. enforcing? You don't have to pay to write documents on these formats.
"Artificial success" is to force people to use one format which can only be written on product you must pay for. And not long ago, even the MSWord documents made on Macs needed a filter to be opened on Windowns. So if they sent a form to anything public on MSWord format, to use it the public would be forced to buy MS software just to see it.
Posted by Liomar (1 comment )
Link Flag
Mandate what the public
&gt;&gt;... that Mass.'s democracy considers it democratic to mandate what the public should and should not use. While the intention is noble, the intervention is artificial.&lt;&lt;

I believe that you either misread the mandate or are wrongly representing it. The mandate only refers to the executive branch of government of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. That is far from mandating public behavior.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
Bravo to the Mass. Government.
I'd like to see every government, from local all the way up to Federal, adopt the same policy. If it's a form or a document that the public has a right to see then it should conform to an open standard. Closed proprietary file formats seem contrary to a country that's supposed to be of the people by the people and for the people.

With all the government investigations businesses would be unwise to use applications who's file formats change from one version to the next and are incompatible with older versions of the software.
Posted by mariusthull (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great Move Mass.!
Good move for Massachusetts. Goverment should pave the way for the use of open standards. Its a great boost for FOSS.

Mabuhay ang Open Source!!!!
Posted by wakizaki (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think...
Open standards are great... But for the government to enforce them is not...

;)
Mabuhay kababayan...

Peace...
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Link Flag
about government enforcement
there are a few comments here about the government enforcing OpenDocument and about how it is wrong. i disagree. here's why:

every company enforces its own standards and will not allow interoptibility. MS, Corel, they are all guilty of it. they don't want the enemy using their standards so they don't publish them. they will also refuse to support OpenDocument since it is against their best interests, especially MS. if they supported OpenDocument then their leverage would be weakened since people could use OpenDocument to send information to each other and cut out the need for MS Office. without the governement enforcing it, this would only continue. now MS is in a situation where they either have to accept the standard and support it, or be locked out of the Mass. market and lose money. if this is a success then many more governments will want to look into enforcing this, and Office will no longer be able to sell through lock-in, but companies (MS, Corel etc) would have to compete properly by offering superior software over their competitors and innovation will (hopefully) come back to the marketplace, and only the customer can win.
Posted by Scott W (419 comments )
Reply Link Flag
forces of nature.
What really happens here is if those companies choose to make the OpenDocument format their native format then they have to focus on the product and not on the format.

I use WordPerfect. I love WordPerfect. I think it's the best document writer available. BUT, frankly it has problems. Corel has been playing tag along when it comes to WordPerfect. Instead of competing with Microsoft they have chosen to play along. Corel has many benifits over Word and OpenOffice. One of the most popular is Reveal Codes. Second is the fact their format is based on SGML and DocBook (old version). Third is their format hasn't changed since 6.x. Not to mention they are a true WYSIWYG editor unlike Word.

Here are their down sides. PDF creation out of WordPerfect sucks. Word coversion sucks. The fact that they are content on being second fiddle to Word sucks. The fact that they won't try to untie themselves from Windows sucks. The fact that they too believe that the only way to compete is to lock people into a single format sucks. If who ever is in control over at Corel would be replaced by somebody with a real vision I think WordPerfect would become the defacto Office application again (assuming people are willing to pay for it). The big problem is that OpenOffice is a compelling alternitive to Word and WordPerfect. A simple fact for me is that if OpenOffice had something like reveal codes I probably would switch and not look back, but I am stuck on reveal codes.

I say give me two things. A fully customizable interface with the ability to save the customization for later use (like having to reinstall the application) and Reveal Codes so I can dig deep into the document and I'm good.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
People, its about the people
In theory, the Mass. decision was not based whatsoever on
budget cuts and implementing FOSS in their workflow.

Its about giving their citizens equal opportunity to read
government documents and communicate electronically with
government officials.

If MS says that the OpenDocument format or PDF format are
severely short on features, then all they need to do is add the
missing features to these standards and publicly document
these added features, thus allowing Mass. citizens
UNENCUMBERED ACCESS to them.

Wouldn't anything else be, dare I say ... unAmerican?

Now, we can argue all day long about how Office 12 will allow
one to embed VIOP objects in a document (what the hell does
this mean anyway, MS?), or whether Microsoft's XPS is better
than PDF, but it TOTALLY MISSES THE POINT!

Right now on my linux and Mac system (this will be hard for you
to fathom Windows users) I can create and read OpenDocument
and PDF documents. No need for any Adobe software
whatsoever. Is Apple losing sales because of this? Why does
Apple allow me to print ANYTHING to a PDF document?

When someone emails me a Word document to relay information
only, I immediately realize I'm dealing with an idiot and proceed
to treat him/her that way. So I send them back the document in
PDF. Then I remember they have to download 3rd part software
to read it. So I give up. Maybe Mass. government officials were
tired of being treated this way.
Posted by (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WordPerfect Doesen't support OpenDocument
&gt;&gt;I use WordPerfect which doesn't support the OpenDoc format, but I wish they would. It would make interchanging documents a snap.&lt;&lt;

Who is will to bet that as we read this article, a numer of WordPerfect developers are working on changing that shortcomming.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good vs Mediocre
Formats aside, this will come down to good vs mediocre software.

1. Some here are still confusing portable data vs interoperable software.

2. Interoperability is about semantics. OpenDoc (in fact any XML you care to name) doesn't guarantee interoperability.

A mandate for portable data (Lifecycle support) that degrades ease of use or interoperability won't be very effective at reducing costs OR sustaining information. You still have to confront the desktop/server share. If OpenDoc doesn't have enough votes on the desktop, the votes in committee are irrelevant. It loses.

So have at Mass. I like the spirit, but you are a long way from having a done deal.
Posted by Len Bullard (454 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft and PDF
Since Microsoft announced today that they would natively support saving in the PDF format, they should not be excluded from use.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
very logical and fair
By choosing an open standard such as open document format, anybody, including Microsoft, is free to implement the reader/writer for the format. There is no unfairness anywhere.

Adobe PDF is open enough such that anybody, including Microsoft, is free to implement the reader/writer for the format. I've seen more than a few PDF reader/converters that are not encumbered by licenses. It is still fair to allow PDF as long as the 100% open format is always a main choice.

MS Word document format is not open enough that anybody, other than Microsoft, can freely implement well beyond into the future.

If MS Word format is open and freely implementable by anybody other than Microsoft without restrictions whatsoever of any license requirements right now and into the future, then that would require second thoughts. But IT IS NOT.

I wouldn't want a state utility be tied to a specific vendor. It just doesn't make any sense to choose something that is not 100% open and free (not cost, but freedom) to implement for public utilities. Whether they cost money to implement or not is not the issue here.

Let the commoners be able to read public documents with freedom, as in democracy. Any other way, that is, a state-sponsored industry dictating what to use in order to use a public utility, is communism.
Posted by kyuso (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
very logical and fair
By choosing an open standard such as open document format, anybody, including Microsoft, is free to implement the reader/writer for the format. There is no unfairness anywhere.

Adobe PDF is open enough such that anybody, including Microsoft, is free to implement the reader/writer for the format. I've seen more than a few PDF reader/converters that are not encumbered by licenses. It is still fair to allow PDF as long as the 100% open format is always a main choice.

MS Word document format is not open enough that anybody, other than Microsoft, can freely implement well beyond into the future.

If MS Word format is open and freely implementable by anybody other than Microsoft without restrictions whatsoever of any license requirements right now and into the future, then that would require second thoughts. But IT IS NOT.

I wouldn't want a state utility be tied to a specific vendor. It just doesn't make any sense to choose something that is not 100% open and free (not cost, but freedom) to implement for public utilities. Whether they cost money to implement or not is not the issue here.

Let the commoners be able to read public documents with freedom, as in democracy. Any other way, that is, a state-sponsored industry dictating what to use in order to use a public utility, is socialism.
Posted by kyuso (3 comments )
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great job toward democracy
A state-sponsored industry dictating what to use for access to public utility is socialism.

It's great to see real democracy and capitalism at work. Let the commoners access to public documents with freedom.

Anybody, including Microsoft, is free to implement the open document format.

If Microsoft implements a better word processor using open document format, that is good. People will buy them if they are good. Nobody is saying don't buy Microsoft products.

I don't see any logic fighting against it. There have been many historic examples of converting to new and better (open) standards, and nothing was really insurmountable.
Posted by kyuso (3 comments )
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