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Re: OT: Massachusetts Verdict: MS Office Formats Out

On Wed, 2005-28-09 at 11:14 -0500, Mike McCarty wrote:
> Fajar Priyanto wrote:
> > The future is forming up....
> > 
> > http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1863060,00.asp
> > 
> > The state of Massachusetts Friday made it official: It will use only 
> > nonproprietary document formats in state-affiliated offices effective Jan. 1, 
> > 2007. Although state CIO Peter Quinn has said repeatedly that this issue does 
> > not represent "the state versus Microsoft Corp. —or any one company," 
> > adoption of the long-debated plan may result in all versions of Microsoft's 
> > Office productivity suite being phased out of use throughout the state's 
> > executive branch agencies. 
> Or MS could "open" its document format...
> [snip]
> Mike
If you read the articles on this, that is not an option.
Massachusetts has adopted the Open Document Format and 
expects the vendors to support that format. All documents 
used by the state must use ODF or PDF format, so that 
they are "future safe". The Open Document Format was 
developed by an international committee, and was intended 
to be openly defined and available for use without 
restriction or royalty.

Even if MS opened their formats, it is unlikely they 
would have given up all legal claims and patents to anyone 
who wanted to use it for their own products. Besides there 
is already an available set of formats that provide the 
features and requirements desired. If MS supports the format 
they will be able to contend for software contracts, if they 
don't then they will not be allowed.

The notion that features are tied to the document format 
hold little value. Most features are just designed to make 
manual tasks simpler, but do not affect the well known and 
defined methods for typesetting and laying out documents.
Having not read the ODF specs I can not comment on how it 
deals with linked data from other documents, but it would 
be fair to presume that considerations were made for 
linked and embedded data.

I can only hope that all levels of Government everywhere 
do the same thing. Contrary to Microsofts spin, this will 
improve competition and be good for all effected economies.

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