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Massachusetts' CIO Defends Move to OpenDocument

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the back-off-stick-wavers dept.

Microsoft 274

Mark Brunelli writes "A public hearing concerning Massachusetts' plan to dump Microsoft for OpenDocument featured a fair share of controversy as the state's CIO tried to fight off naysayers. Linda Hamel, the general counsel for the Massachusetts Information Technology Department (ITD), suggested that groups that oppose the OpenDocument file format standard might be influenced by Microsoft." We reported on the bounce back against the OpenDocument move this past weekend.

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Any Hot Guys Here? (1)

AssCork (769414) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926359)

Just kidding...of course there aren't!

Fuckin geeks.

Re:Any Hot Guys Here? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926434)

The end of his speech: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926365)

"Bottom line: OpenDocument is bloated. Just like we like things in government."

Re:The end of his speech: (-1, Flamebait)

kremehild (926438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926627)

Sounds like a CONservative RepubliCON.

It's good that government is a bit inefficient (4, Interesting)

Safe Sex Goddess (910415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926690)

Inefficiency is a safeguard of democracy.

If things were too efficient and easy to change, you could waking up in a police state overnight.

Re:The end of his speech: (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926717)

Opendocument isn't any more bloated than microsoft office documents. Most of my OpenOffice documents end up way smaller than what they would be had I used MS Office. Maybe there is a bit of extra information in there, but if the end result is a more compatible document format, that is kind of human readable, then, maybe it's good to have a little bit of bloat.

Influenced by Microsoft? (5, Funny)

honeypotslash (927312) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926379)

Most likly they think Word Processing IS Microsoft Word.

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (4, Insightful)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926462)

Pacheco said 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.

How did they end up using MS Office? Did they get input from other agencies? Probably not. At the time, as the parent comment says, they probably thought "Word Processing IS Microsoft Word".

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (4, Funny)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926544)

<crazyRant>

Word processing IS Microsoft Word.

It was the first word processor.

Don't let them tell you lies. There were no word processors before word. Why do you think it's called a "Word" processor? That's right, that name comes from MS Word. "WordStar" and "Word Perfect" didn't exist, you just think they did because they put something in your water and brainwashed you.

And don't tell me about typewriters. Typewriters were based off of the design for Microsoft Word. In the future a time machine will be invented which will be used to go back in time and give the man who invented the typewriter what it should look like to look like MS Word. Why do you think the longest word you can spell on the top row of letters on a keyboard is "typewriter"? That is EXACTLY the kind of easter egg people at Microsoft LOVE. They put it there when they gave the design of the QWERTY keyboard to the guy who designed it (note: I'm not using his name because due to this revisionist history, we don't know the real creator's name).

And how do I know all this? They told me next Tuesday. Right before they executed me. That wasn't a good day.

</crazyRant>

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926622)

"..they gave the design of the QWERTY keyboard to the guy who designed it (note: I'm not using his name because due to this revisionist history, we don't know the real creator's name)."

Come on, we all know it is John Qwerty. Stop with yer lies!

Microshaft Influened? (0)

themepsp (918377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926392)

This line kills me: "OpenDocument file format standard might be influenced by Microsoft." Why?

Re:Microshaft Influened? (4, Informative)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926416)

This line kills me: "OpenDocument file format standard might be influenced by Microsoft." Why?

It's currently reading as - "suggested that groups that oppose the OpenDocument file format standard might be influenced by Microsoft."

Of course the meaning is that some believe that the big backlash recently (with every "grassroots" group announcing their beefs with the move to OpenDocument) is the result of Microsoft lobbying, which isn't an inconceivable idea.

OpenDoc (0)

airrage (514164) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926405)

I think common sense would say that having a "common currency" in file formats is a good thing. But if it were me, and if I play CIO for a moment, I'd make DANG sure I get it right before converting millions of documents. Just one gotcha and ten years down the road you are left out to pasture - technically speaking.

I'd work more towards .pdf in the near-term and see how these openDoc formats shake out.

Re:OpenDoc (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926490)

Here's the thing though -- It's conceivable that Microsoft, as a means of encouraging people to upgrade would cut off support for older document formats and never release the souce code for the programs that generated the original file format. And in this conceivable future, we would not be able to run the old binaries conveniently or at all. It's a problem.

With a lot of programs that utilize OpenDocument format, the source code is readily available and can be recompiled for whatever platform is being used as the time. Further, the precise specs for the file format is available for adaptation into whatever platform exists at the moment.

In short, propritary lock-in and/or lock-out is an important fear that Microsoft is not and will not address. Open specification is just about the only way to avoid this.

Re:OpenDoc (4, Insightful)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926683)

I have this exact problem with all sorts of documents. Products that simply don't exist anymore. Splash. Wordstar. MS Works (though I seem to recall someone found a converter). DeScribe. I have docs I wrote on the Commodore Plus 4 that I was only able to retrieve via some lovely commodore emulation software that allowed copy and paste :)

My motto these days is that if you can't read it right now in several different tools (ala PDF) and you don't own the code; don't trust it to be there when you need it.

-WS

Re:OpenDoc (4, Insightful)

BlogPope (886961) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926494)

Just one gotcha and ten years down the road you are left out to pasture - technically speaking.

Exactly. If only you had access to the document specification, then you might be able to do something to fix that problem.

Re:OpenDoc (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926498)

Just one gotcha and ten years down the road you are left out to pasture - technically speaking.

At least, being open source, you won't be without recourse. Can the same be said of Microsoft's new Word formats?

I'd work more towards .pdf in the near-term and see how these openDoc formats shake out.

PDF is fine, but not so great if you want anyone to be able to edit it down the road.

Re:OpenDoc (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926500)

But if it were me, and if I play CIO for a moment, I'd make DANG sure I get it right before converting millions of documents.

Remember that Microsoft has made OfficeXML the default file format in the upcoming Office 12, so some sort of shift seems inevitable. That sort of transition was probably taken as an opportunity to consider alternatives, which is how OpenDocument got its big break.

I'd work more towards .pdf in the near-term and see how these openDoc formats shake out.

PDFs are one of their file formats (in fact it led Microsoft to support PDFs natively in Office), however it's more of an output format rather than a working format.

Re:OpenDoc (4, Informative)

aaronl (43811) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926503)

PDF is only good for fixed content. Anything that you're going to be working with the data in you can't put into a format like that! If it's headed for an archive, then PDF is a fine way to do it. If it's a MS Word .doc now, then it's probably best to convert it to an editable format, so OpenDocument.

Realistically, if your project to convert things is happening now, what else would you convert to? OpenDocument already has good support, is a very clearly defined format, and is unencumbered. It's also easy to work with to generate documents from other data.

Re:OpenDoc (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926505)

Do you know what the X in XML stands for? It stands for the ability for a format to change but provide backwards compatibility, it allows OpenDocument for to grow to fit it's needs inclusing those gotchas ten years down the line.

Re:OpenDoc (2)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926536)

As one working right under a CIO - that's usually not an issue. Remember, CIO stands for "Career Is Over". :)

Re:OpenDoc (1)

destuxor (874523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926580)

You know, I'm still very interested to read exactly how the government intends to perform the actual conversion. There have to be so many documents, no doubt they intend to have someone script something together that will read each .DOC and .PDF and convert that into an OpenDocument format, but who reliable will that be? We all know saving .DOC's in OpenOffice can (occasionally) be precarious, sometimes even exporting a file to a non-standard format in MS Office leads to unexpected results [fourmilab.ch] . What they will have to do is run their scripts and then have a team look at each document side-by-side to ensure the conversion was successful, but even if 99% of all conversions do work according to plan, you're still looking at an enourmous task.
But, of course, we're well aware of the long-term benefits, so I suppose a three-month project of doing the actual conversion will ultimately help our grandchildren when they have to convert that into their preferred format of the day.

Re:OpenDoc (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926720)

"I'm still very interested to read exactly how the government intends to perform the actual conversion. There have to be so many documents..."

According to the article...they're not converting old documents. They say they're only requiring documents submitted after the new standards date to be in OpenDocument format. I believe they said the cutoff date is Jan 1, 2007?

Re:OpenDoc (1)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926761)

I didn't read it that they were going to backconvert every doc, just that they'd be switching to the new document format in 2007.

Re:OpenDoc (1)

Tinidril (685966) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926616)

I'd work more towards .pdf in the near-term and see how these openDoc formats shake out.

Great, so everyone can just sit back and wait to see how OpenDoc shakes out. Then in ten years we can all pat ourselves on the back because we took the safe route and lo-and-behold OpenDoc imploded. How exactly to you expect a conversion to take place if everyone is too chicken to stand up first?

There is also a flip-side to your logic. The fact is that there _will_ be a conversion over to XML document formats for Office applications. Microsoft has their prefered version, and the rest of the industry has theirs. Wouldn't it be a little irresponsible to convert to the new Microsoft format without waiting ten years or so to see which becomes dominent? Of course as all that time goes past you will still be using the old binary document formats that everyone knows are going to be obsolete.

I'd work more towards .pdf in the near-term and see how these openDoc formats shake out.

Massachusetts is going to be using pdf where it is appropriate. But pdf is not a format that can be effectively used for many purposes. Nobody is going to use pdf for spreadsheets for instance.

Re:OpenDoc (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926734)

converting millions of documents

Not converting. Only documents created after 1 Jan. 2007 have to be created in either a PDF format or an OpenDocument format.

$50M verses $5M (5, Interesting)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926407)

The early audio recording of the two hour meeting between the CIO's office and various members of the vendor population including the idiot... I mean, the representative of Microsoft, is really amazing. If you haven't heard it, I suggest you do a little digging and find it.

The CIO did make one very interesting statement about money. $50M in order to get Office-12, because of license fees, OS and hardware upgrades, for something that cannot even be tested at this time.

In comparison, to roll out OpenOffice to every state employee, including training (which never seems to be in the pro-Microsoft column), $5M. Mostly because there is no hardware or OS upgrade requirement since OpenOffice runs on everything. Today. Now. Including using the document specification they really want, which Microsoft says they have no plans on supporting.

Fascinating. Foot, rifle, Microsoft pulls trigger.

Bob-

Re:$50M verses $5M (0, Flamebait)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926424)

No, OpenOffice.org does not run on "everything". It's a horrific resource pig, which will require significant hardware upgrades to run. By contrast, Microsoft Office runs on the hardware they already have.

Re:$50M verses $5M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926501)

Maybe if you provide a link with evidence people would believe you more.

Re:$50M verses $5M (1)

queef_latina (847562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926885)

Fuck off [google.com]

Re:$50M verses $5M (5, Informative)

Benanov (583592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926514)

However, OpenOffice.org does run on Windows 98, which MA has stated they have computers running it. Office 12 will not run on Win 98.

Openoffice system requirements (1)

QuaintRealist (905302) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926650)

I have run OOO 1.1.x on a P-II with 256MB, and it was not particularly slow.
From their website:

Windows

Microsoft Windows 98, ME, NT (Service Pack 6 or higher), 2000 or XP

Pentium compatible PC, 64 MB RAM, 250 MB available hard disk space

OK, I'm taking the 64 MB minimum with a grain of salt, but still this is pretty reasonable.

Re:$50M verses $5M (5, Informative)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926675)

What planet are you from?

Of the below, only Office 12, OpenOffice.org 1.1.5, and OpenOffice.org 2.0 have XML document format support. Office 12 is MSXML, and OpenOffice.org are OpenDoc.

Oh, and don't tell me they shouldn't upgrade from Office 2000, or Office 97, or whatever. I'm 100% Massachusetts has a site licensing policy; Office 2000 went End-of-Life on 6/30/2004. Office XP goes End-of-life on June 30, 2006. Neither of these makes for a good, forward-looking 'upgrade'. It's going to have to be 2003 or newer.

Office 12 preliminary system requirements:
Microsoft Office 12 will run on Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later, or the Windows Longhorn client. Server components will require Windows Server 2003 or later and, potentially, SQL Server 2000 or later. Office 12 will support x64 platforms natively, though it's not clear whether this support will ship in the box with the initial release, or later as a separate add-on.
http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/office12_prev iew1.asp [winsupersite.com]

Microsoft Office 2003 system requirements:
To use Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, you need:
Component Requirement
Computer and processor
Personal computer with an Intel Pentium 233-MHz or faster processor (Pentium III recommended); optional installation of Business Contact Manager for Outlook® 2003 requires a 450-MHz or faster processor (Pentium III recommended)
Memory
128 MB of RAM or greater; optional installation of Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003 requires 256 MB of RAM
Hard disk
400 MB of available hard-disk space; optional installation files cache (recommended) requires an additional 200 MB of available hard-disk space; optional installation of Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003 requires an additional 190 MB of available hard-disk space

OpenOffice.org system requirements, version 2.0:
Microsoft Windows

        * Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2 or higher), Windows XP, Windows 2003
        * 128 Mbytes RAM
        * 200 Mbytes available disk space
        * 800 x 600 or higher resolution with at least 256 colors

Solaris: SPARC platform edition

        * Solaris 8 OS or higher
        * 128 Mbytes RAM
        * 250 Mbytes available disk space
        * X-Server with 800 x 600 or higher resolution with at least 256 colors

Solaris: x86 platform edition

        * Solaris 8 OS or higher
        * 128 Mbytes RAM
        * 250 Mbytes available disk space
        * X-Server with 800 x 600 or higher resolution with at least 256 colors

Linux:

        * Linux kernel version 2.2.13 or higher, glibc2 version 2.2.0 or higher
        * 128 Mbytes RAM
        * 200 Mbytes available disk space
        * X-Server with 800 x 600 or higher resolution with at least 256 colors

System Requirements for OpenOffice.org 1.1.x
Windows

Microsoft Windows 98, ME, NT (Service Pack 6 or higher), 2000 or XP

Pentium compatible PC, 64 MB RAM, 250 MB available hard disk space
GNU/Linux ("Linux")

Glibc 2.2.0 or newer

Pentium compatible PC, 64 MB RAM, 300 MB available hard disk space

X server and graphics card capable of 800x600 resolution

Performance testing, OpenOffice.org versus MS Office 2003:
http://www.matt13.com/computer/open_office_or_ms_o ffice/ [matt13.com]

OpenOffice.org uses less CPU, less RAM, and far less Hard Disk space.

Does OpenOffice.org start slower on your system than MS Office? Preload it; that is, after all, what Microsoft does. Install the OpenOffice.org Quickstarter.

True Unix-heads have _every_ right to call OpenOffice.org bloated. It's a lot bigger than, say, Abiword, or Kword, or Emacs, or something.

In comparison to MS Office, however you want to slice it, OpenOffice.org is positively lean. You _do_ realize that a full Office 2003 install requires in the vicinity or 900 megs of Harddrive space? Expect Office 12 to be bigger.

Re:$50M verses $5M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926721)

How did this get modded up? It's bordering on "troll."

Re:$50M verses $5M (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926442)

"OS and hardware upgrades"

Sorry, why do you need OS and hardware upgrades for MS Office-12? I sense a bloated budget proposal. MS says that Office-12 has the same hardware requirements as Office XP, which runs fine on a PII 300mhz. So the IT departement tried to sneak hardware and OS upgrades in with the Office software upgrade budget. Cant blame Gates for that one.

Re:$50M verses $5M (2, Informative)

Tran (721196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926489)

You must have missed the earlier articels where MA said that they still run many machines with Win98. IIRC, office 12 does not run on that "OS". Not sure if OpenOffice 2.0 does.

Re:$50M verses $5M (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926528)

Ok, thats a vallid point. Yes OpenOffice does run on Windows 9x. However I find it dog slow on hardware from that era. Bottom line is that if they feel they need hardware upgrades for MS Office odds are they will need them for OpenOffice. OS requirements asside.

Re:$50M verses $5M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926651)

Unless they use another less-resource-hungry program that also happens to support OpenDocument on those older computers. (Abiword, for example. Sure it's not as featureful as OpenOffice, but at least it supports the format. You've got to make compromises somewhere if you're running older hardware, but at least you have the choice.)

Re:$50M verses $5M (1)

Tran (721196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926661)

Of course they do not have to use Open Office. They could use other as yet unknown to us lightwight Open Document compliant word processor.
Though yes they di give the numbers as a comparison between MS Office and Open Office. I would wager that part of the Open Office $5M includes *some* of the same hardware upgrades as the office upgrades. The 2 that put the whole idea together did do their homework on the subject. But, and yes, they did say that it was a rough estimate on both numbers - and that is why Pacheco can call them out and complain not a proper cost benefit analysis was done. But that is starting down the pat start splitting hairs.

Re:$50M verses $5M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926619)

"runs fine on a PII 300mhz"...

Eeh...Fine? Are you nuts?? MS Office is almost completely unworkable in such a configuration.
Well.. Maybe you've tried it...I know I'd go insane working like that. :-)

Re:$50M verses $5M (1)

badriram (699489) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926506)

mmm, If you noticed the OpenOffice running at 1/3 the of MS Office article. Then I would think OO would be the one with more requirements. Irregardless, this argument is about OpenDocument, not open office. And i really doubt either side is promoting their idea for the good of society, they do it for their own personal beliefs.

Re:$50M verses $5M (3, Informative)

jferris (908786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926572)

Your posting privileges have been automatically suspended for propogating the usage of the nonstandard adverb "irregardless".

Re:$50M verses $5M (1)

TheCabal (215908) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926626)

So why does it take 3 minutes for Calc to open up a spreadsheet while it takes Excel less than 10 seconds to open the same file?

Re:$50M verses $5M (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926744)

Multiple reasons. M$'s closed format that OpenOffice had to work around to get to open Excel (and other format files) in a somewhat proper fashion. You notice you get those may not open correctly or appear properly messages with OpenOffice. Oh and then there is the fact that the Office Suite programs have hooks into the OS. I mean when you have the source code for the OS available to you, of course you know how to treat it just right to open files faster.

Besides, what are you using that takes 3 minutes to open a spreadsheet anyway?

What I want to know is why simple text files and comma separated files aren't more popular. I mean how often do you seriously need all the formatting that you use in Word/Excel (or the OpenOffice equivalents)?

How very /. of him! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926427)

If there is even the tiniest pro-Microsoft bent to any statement then it must be because of a conspiricy invloving Bill Gates himself!

Never mind that every alternative to Office is currently buggy, slow, broken and lacking in modern features! NO! It's must be Microsoft propaganda!

Maybe actually having a real company behind OO.o will get it off the ground (around version 3 or 4). But wholesale swapping from Office to any other alternative will be like going back 5-10 years in office productivity over night. Who the hell want's to do that?!?!? Certainly not the people actually USING the computers that the software runs on. Only beurocrats that know NOTHING of the situation :(

Yeah, having government officials dictate software policies, sounds like a great idea to me!

Re:How very /. of him! (5, Interesting)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926540)

You're missing the point. The Mass. move isn't to OpenOffice, it's to OpenDocument. What they choose to run is a different story. OOo and Wordperfect, for example, plan to support. Microsoft only plans to import it, I believe, and that only recently. Microsoft if fighting the standard. The idea that this state government is moving to OOo is an extension of the MS PR machine. Get everyone worried about losing Office and an outcry will ensue. Nevermind the fact that they're locking themselves into perpetual licensing fees and a proprietary format. Hey, the vendor's benevolent so what's the harm, right?
More people, more companies, and more governments need to really stand on MS's neck on this and get them to support standard formats. MS doesn't want to because then they have to TRULY compete with other software. Now if Office is so great, why not just support the format? Why not say, "okay, we'll support it and beat you on equal footing!" The mark of a champion is that he will beat you at your best. MS wants to take out your quarterback's legs, get rid of the instant replay and challenge system, AND make you play on their home field before they'll even join the game.
When are people going to realize they are the software industry equivilents to rapists and pedophiles.

Re:How very /. of him! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926781)

Honestly, statements like "When are people going to realize they are the software industry equivilents to rapists and pedophiles." make you look like a raving loon. Such language in support of our "cause" is not helping one bit.

You may have valid points, but if you cannot put them into words without resorting to mindless arm waving, then just don't bother, we'll be better off!

Re:How very /. of him! (2, Funny)

arfonrg (81735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926546)

"Never mind that every alternative to Office is currently buggy, slow, broken and lacking in modern features!" -I assume this was a typo.

Surely what you meant to type is: "Never mind that every version of Office is currently buggy, slow, broken and lacking in modern features!"

Re:How very /. of him! (5, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926617)

You, sir, are either grossly misled, or are an intentionall MS shill.

It isnt about forcing people to not use MS Word - its about setting a fair, open, and public standard for the file formats used so that *everyone* can decide what tools to use. Making MS secret format the 'standard' *forces* everyone to use Word, unless MS completely and fully opens the specification for it.

People can use MS Word if they really think its the best tool for them - but they must have a way to read and produce the standard format. That can either mean MS adds native support in Word, or they use a third party plugin or convertor.

MS was recently quoted as suggested that 'customer demand' might drive their decision to support OpenDoc. Hello? MS? MA is a customer. They are demanding it.

Once MA stops buying new Word licenses, MS *will* add OpenDoc to Word, and MA can buy Word again. But MS will *only* do that if they are absolutely forced, as it sets a precedent, and once that ball starts rolling it will mean an end to MS lock-in. Word may still be popular, but no one will be forced to use it.

Yes, converting away from single-source vendor lock-in is hard. But the longer you wait, the harder it gets, and people have been blindly waiting for pretty long already. But once you finally get it over with it gets easier and less expensive in the long run, and switching software in the future (for whatever reason) is no longer a huge issue, since any choice has to support the existing standard format.

You've got it backward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926625)

This isn't about Word or OpenOffice or any particular software package. Microsoft has been lying to politicians as they imply this is a fight about Office versus OpenOffice. This is all totally backward.

The issue is the OpenDocument format. Period. Wrap your mind around the fact that MA didn't want to lock themselves into a proprietary document format. They wanted an open format, one that didn't depend on any one vendor, and could be supported openly no matter what companies did or didn't do. If you go with .DOC, you are dependent on Microsoft, and who knows if they will be around in 50 years (and government do think in terms of decades). But an open standard, that will be around and anyone can write software to that standard. Anyone.

All Microsoft has to do to keep Office on everyone's desktop in MA is to support the OpenDocument format. Just like they can support HTML or PDF or whatever. It's just another Save As... option, and nothing more. But Microsoft refuses and so MA said Sorry, we want a format that will be around. This is Microsoft's stubbornness at work, and it is NOT about this software package versus that software package, or this company versus that company. This is about a document format only. And it is PRECISELY the sort of thing a government does best. If left up to the market, Microsoft would buy their way to a "standard" that they broke every now and then at their whim, citizens be damned unless they pony up some more cash.

Influenced by Microsoft? (0, Troll)

danielk1982 (868580) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926432)


Linda Hamel, the general counsel for the Massachusetts Information Technology Department (ITD), suggested that groups that oppose the OpenDocument file format standard might be influenced by Microsoft.


So the *only* reason someone might think that sticking with a product that is used by 90% of market (formats included) is that they were influenced by Microsoft?

There are pros and cons of going either way (MS or OSS) but this decision sounds like it was made by pure ideology.

acheco took exception to Hamel's remarks and first asked if she believed these groups were in fact "wholly owned subsidiaries of Microsoft," before asking if she believed they had been "bought" by the software giant.

"Those are your words, not mine senator," Hamel replied to both questions.


Yes, but thats clearly what you wanted to imply isn't Linda?

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (3, Interesting)

Tinidril (685966) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926742)

So the *only* reason someone might think that sticking with a product that is used by 90% of market (formats included) is that they were influenced by Microsoft?

No, I dont think that is what was said. And the fact is, that many of the polical organizations that are jumping into this arguement receive much of their funding from MS. Are you saying that MS funds these groups without thinking that it will bias the output?

I actually went through most of the submitted comments on the Mass website, and most of those opposed were from political organizations losting MS as a major contributor or founding member.

I don't believe that Linda was implying that these organizations are wholly owned subsidiaries of MS, but the connection to MS funding is clear.

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926754)

There are pros and cons of going either way (MS or OSS) but this decision sounds like it was made by pure ideology.

Which is how it should be. The ideology that the documents generated by a Government Of the People, By the People and For the People should always be available TO the people, not at the whim of a corporate entity. That is what it boils down to. The people should not be required to pay a fee, license a patent or buy specific software to interact with their government or review the documentation created by said government.

Microsoft can easily add export/import filters to their existing product line and thus be compliant with the requirements and still be usable by everyone in the gov't.

  -Charles

Er, no (1)

Prof. Pi (199260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926796)

So the *only* reason someone might think that sticking with a product that is used by 90% of market (formats included) is that they were influenced by Microsoft?

TFA said "might be influenced" -- you're the one trying to change that to "the only reason."

Yes, but thats clearly what you wanted to imply isn't Linda?

There are big differences between being "influenced," "bought" and "owned" by someone. Microsoft could target certain influential groups, and take steps to ensure that their position is heard in preference to all others. This could be done without any kind of direct payment. "Bought" implies some kind of payment, and explicit or implicit quid pro quo. So turning "influenced" into "bought" is putting words into someone's mouth.

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (2, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926797)

acheco took exception to Hamel's remarks and first asked if she believed these groups were in fact "wholly owned subsidiaries of Microsoft," before asking if she believed they had been "bought" by the software giant.

"Those are your words, not mine senator," Hamel replied to both questions.

Yes, but thats clearly what you wanted to imply isn't Linda?


I believe the correct phrase to use here would be "Yes, but that's clearly what the facts you've presented here imply, isn't it Linda?

I love how you depict the whole thing as being about ideologies. You know how some people buy cell phones on contract, then later when they are dissatisfied with the service they are screwed, while other people buy cell phones and pay as you go plans so they are free to change providers should the need arise? This is the same thing. The CIO doesn't think tying the future of government documents to a single convicted monopolists patent protected format is a wise idea, and that is his determination to make.

There is no practical difficulty preventing Microsoft from stepping up to the plate and giving them what meets their needs, they're simply refusing to do so. It would be like if I went to a dealership to buy a truck for pulling stumps out of my yard and after failing to lease me a sportscar they went to all my family and friends telling them about how stupid I was for insisting on a truck and attempting to force me to lease a sportscar.

Technical issues aside, financial issues aside, who in their right mind would want to deal with a company that treats their customers that way? They've clearly demonstrated that if you get involved with them and you don't bend when they rattle their zipper, they'll attack you personally and publicly in an effort to have you replaced with someone more pliable. As in, it's not just dangerous for your company to deal with them, it's dangerous for your career as well.

Obvious Tag (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926435)

From TFS: Linda Hamel, the general counsel for the Massachusetts Information Technology Department (ITD), suggested that groups that oppose the OpenDocument file format standard might be influenced by Microsoft.

Later on in the press conference she goes on to assert that rain is wet and and that 2 plus 2 does indeed add up to 4. She did not, however, make any comments concerning what you get 4 of.

Re:Obvious Tag (2, Funny)

daveed (545432) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926672)

'Units' dumbass

Step in the right directions (4, Insightful)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926445)

Being from Tax-achusetts, i am glad to see that the state continues to move this way. This saves tax payers money, which in the end benefits everyone in the state. But also it is the state realizing that they are doing something that will help allow easier (still far far from perfect) access to state records which we have a right too.

Step in the right directions-steady as she goes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926499)

What makes you think your tax rate is going down because of this manouver?

Re:Step in the right directions-steady as she goes (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926605)

oh there not going to go down, and i realize that, but hopefully the money may go to areas and programs that are underfunded.

Re:Step in the right directions-steady as she goes (-1, Troll)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926846)

the money may go to areas and programs that are underfunded.

Non-sequiter. There is no such thing as an "underfunded" government program. Since all money is taken at gun point from taxpayers, there are only degrees of extortion.

To argue that something is "underfunded" would require an entitlement to the labor of others. Being entitled to the labor of someone else has a very specific dictionary definition: slavery.

Re:Step in the right directions (2, Informative)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926751)

I'm always interested when I see Massachusetts called Tax-achusetts. The overall tax burden on MA residents (10.1%) is only slightly above the national average (10.0%). You never hear of "Taxes" (10.9%), "Utax" (11.1%), "New Taxico" (12.0%), or "Louisi-assess" (13.0%).

I live in Colorado, and the tax burden for CO residents is below average (9.5%), but we cannot fund all of the new unfunded mandates from the new "debt and spend" ruling party.

Brining this back on topic, I'd welcome an OpenDoc initiative in this state to help reduce spending. There are a ton of things I'd rather we spend our public tax dollars on than the MSFT tax.

What a stupid thing to say! (2, Interesting)

LexNaturalis (895838) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926460)

I would think she'd lose all claims to credibility by making statements like that. For one, she's making an ad hominem (although not against a singular person in this case) argument by arguing that the groups are wrong because they are (allegedly) supported by Microsoft. That argument falls apart, logically, because someone could offer a simple counter statement of "so, why does that make them wrong?"

I do find it interesting to note that the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science is criticizing the move and I think they offer legitimate reasons for using Microsoft products-- that is, until OpenDocument supports the same braille readers and other screen-reader programs. If the blind state workers are using MS products and the other state workers are using OpenDocument, I'd think that might cause some problems. The article didn't mention any specific fixes for that, so hopefully they thought that one through. However, based upon the fallacious logic, I'm assuming they (or at least Ms. Hamel) don't think things through all the time.

RTF or plain text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926537)

Please present evidence that blind workers use Word in contexts outside plain text editing or simple formating captured entirely by RTF format.

You won't find any.

Let them use M$ and its fancy braille readers, etc., to work in plain text.

Re:What a stupid thing to say! (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926560)

They MAY not be wrong, but they're certainly not impartial if that is the case. I'd rather hear from someone who was. Same goes for the court system.... judges (or people who make decisions) should be impartial and work with the facts.

What a stupid thing to say!-Handicapped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926602)

"I do find it interesting to note that the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science is criticizing the move and I think they offer legitimate reasons for using Microsoft products-- that is, until OpenDocument supports the same braille readers and other screen-reader programs."

We're use to it. Most people (F/OSS included) don't think of the handicapped. Even this forum with it's "if you see this image" doesn't.

Re:What a stupid thing to say! (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926706)

I would think she'd lose all claims to credibility by making statements like that. For one, she's making an ad hominem (although not against a singular person in this case) argument by arguing that the groups are wrong because they are (allegedly) supported by Microsoft. That argument falls apart, logically, because someone could offer a simple counter statement of "so, why does that make them wrong?"

This complaint would be more... moving?.... if that was all that she had said on the topic. She was at a hearing on the subject, and among other things, was asked about some complaints. Her response was that many of the groups who have complained had been funded by Microsoft.

Yes, I know, I'm still bound to run into shouts of "AD HOMINEM!!!" People just love to show off that they know the technical wordings for things. However, whether these groups are influenced by Microsoft goes to the heart of things. You see, any response that she comes up with as to why these objections are invalid/wrong, she must answer the question: well, why would they just make these things up then? What's the motivation of some group or another to claim that a file format is insufficient? Why would normal people go out of their way to spread lies and misinformation about something like a file format?

The answer being, they have a political agenda and economic incentive.

I'm assuming they (or at least Ms. Hamel) don't think things through all the time.

Yes, ok, so why does that make her wrong? AD HOMINEM!!!

Re:What a stupid thing to say! (1)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926714)

Surely any complaint should go to Microsoft for not supporting a popular and soon to be commonly available document format?

OTOH, perhaps a note to Google who are planning on supporting some programming work on OO.org could be effective?

To presume that Microsoft is the alpha and omega of software is to surrender your world to a company whose only interest is to restrict innovation and kill competition.

Re:What a stupid thing to say! (5, Insightful)

gpw213 (691600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926762)

I would think she'd lose all claims to credibility by making statements like that. For one, she's making an ad hominem (although not against a singular person in this case) argument by arguing that the groups are wrong because they are (allegedly) supported by Microsoft. That argument falls apart, logically, because someone could offer a simple counter statement of "so, why does that make them wrong?"

And if this were the only argument presented, then you might have a point. However, when the specific points *are* addressed, and then in addition it is pointed out that the majority of the opponents also have a suspicious commonality, then that is no longer an ad hominem attack, is it?

I do find it interesting to note that the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science is criticizing the move and I think they offer legitimate reasons for using Microsoft products-- that is, until OpenDocument supports the same braille readers and other screen-reader programs.

You are making the same error that many of the opponents of this move seem to be making. Namely, confusing OpenDocument with OpenOffice. OpenDocument is the file format. It does not now, nor will it ever "support the same braille readers and other screen-reader programs". That is the job of the application, not the file format. Massachusetts is not mandating any particular application.

If the blind state workers are using MS products and the other state workers are using OpenDocument, I'd think that might cause some problems.

This is nothing that they won't be dealing with anyhow. They will not be able to magically switch everyone over in a day, and they will have to deal with all of the pre-existing documents in Word format. Getting the occasional Word document from a blind worker is not going alter things substantially.

There is something being done for disabled (1)

vyvepe (809573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926861)

Citation from a blog of Andy Updegrove (http://www.consortiuminfo.org/newsblog/blog.php?I D=1696 [consortiuminfo.org] ):

Quinn: Let me talk about the disability community issue. The disability community has been denied access in many ways for many years, and we are committed to making sure that they get the consideration they need. Now I have had someone spending a significant amount of time since September 1 reaching out, and also working with the w3C, and we are just a few weeks away from announcing that we will have an answer to create accessibility. I have committee three times, first, to create a memo on the subject, two, have priority, and three [couldn't catch it]. Sun, IBM and others are working to create global accessibility standards. The structure has already been built into StarOffice, Mozilla, other products. We are a couple of weeks away from being able to put this in front of the disability community and the state.

Influenced by Microsoft? (1, Insightful)

bhirsch (785803) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926466)

It would be nice to see one shred of evidence to support that claim other than their opposition to OpenDocument.

As the last article on this noted, there are a fair number of blind and deaf state workers who could not get by using OpenOffice. Not to mention that a fiscally conservative approach would be to use MS Office on older hardware due to its lower processor and memory consumption compared to OOo. Don't forget the added initial cost of supporting a totally new office suite at a time when the state has enough budget problems.

This seems like a high price to pay to stick it to MS.

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926662)

shh...you make too much sense for these parts.

When people can't attack the *argument*, they of course attack the individual. Anyone who disagrees *must* be corrupt, they *must* be controlled by Microsoft. No evidence of this mind you, but they just spout all the wild accusations they want. Folks around here will eat it right up...

You guys don't realize how anal state and federal governemnt is about providing accessiblity and avoiding lawsuits. How do you tell your disabled employees that they have to start using inferior software?

My State has no money for schools, roads, or anything else, but you want them to spend billions to cut everything over to the latest lefist craze? No thanks, Castro.

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926708)

There is a severe issue with letting Office 98 / 2000 / pick your flavour less than the current run on old hardware: Security. There are a large amount of holes in Office 98 and Office 2000. Likewise there are lots of holes in Windows 98, ME and 2000. When Vista comes out Microsoft will immediately stop patching Windows 2000 as their security model is to patch the latest OS and the one previous. No others. The same patching model applies to Office. Office 98 is no longer patched because 2000 and 2003 are the 'supported' versions.
What you are asking the State to do is to either:
A. Spend LOTS of money for maintaining Office licenses and the hardware/OS that it can run on (do you honestly think that Office 2009 or whatever is after Office 12 will be installable on Windows 2000? Even if it is, will it run at a decent speed to be usable?)
B. Ensure that there are machines out in the State offices that are vulnerable to plenty of viruses and other malware.

Your comment about a totally new office suite is relatively accurate, but with Microsoft constantly shuffling around their menus I feel that getting new Office versions isn't that much better.

Either way, it seems an expensive endeavor.

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926731)

That's true, you've got some points. I don't think there is any evidence (perhaps yet), as it is supposed to be the "logical conclusion".

But you have to remember that MS is playing this like they passed a law saying "No MS software... ever... 'cause." In reality Massachusetts said something more like "We will use .txt files for everything" and MS just doesn't want to make their program read and write that format. They are free to do so. The spec isn't GPLed so they'd have to open up all of Office.

They just don't want to.

And it's their fault. If they made it so they could then they could argue against the switch quite effectively.

  • "Eveyone else uses our software, you'll still be able to open those things easily."
  • "Our software is designed to be usable by disabled people"
  • "You won't have to spend all that money and time retraining people on the new software"
  • "We'll GIVE YOU the software this year... just don't switch!"
  • etc.

They are putting themselves in this boat by being stubborn. MS is sticking it to themselves. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they stayed with Office if MS would just implement the format. And with their army of programmers, how long could it really take them to do that? A week tops?

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (2, Insightful)

Soko (17987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926767)

All of your concerns can be addressed very simply. If Microsoft would write an ODF import/export filter for Office (or commission such a thing), all of the wonderful features are available in the data format that the state desires. It's a win/win.

The only possible reason that Microsoft is withholding support is they can't dictate terms on what programs use ODF, and can't therefore lock out software with "IP imparing licenses" from using the same data format. This is the reason Microsoft is lobbying so hard to get OfficeML in as is - so they can retain control of who uses thier formats. This denies users of Open Source products legal use of OfficeML, unless those project change thier licenses. It's a game of chicken - but the OSS folks have a lot more to lose than Microsoft does.

Office is superior to OOo in most respects, but it comes at a price that is more than monetary. If MS would get of of thier high horse, swallow thier pride and compete solely on technical features (where there is little doubt they will win) all these issues go away.

Soko

Re:Influenced by Microsoft? (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926800)

Its NOT about the software. Its about the FILE FORMAT.

MS Word is perfectly acceptable, so long as MS produces a version that reads and writes the standard FILE FORMAT. (It might also be acceptable if they were to *fully* open the MS file format, to the point that *any* software author/developer is free to completely and fully implement it without restriction)

In any case its all about *not* forcing a specific software package on everyone, even if it is the one that has 99% of everyone uses due to MS' illegal monopoly. Using MS format would *force* Word on everyone. Using OpenDocument format does *NOT* force a specific package *ANY* developer, *including MS* is free to provide software that supports that format.

God Damn it, Zonk! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926469)

We reported on the bounce back against the OpenDoc move [slashdot.org] this past weekend.

OpenDoc [apple.com] is not the same thing as OpenDocument [wikipedia.org] . If you need to shorten it, you can say ODF.

In other news (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926475)

Officials can't confirm, nor deny that companies that are using the OpenDocument format might or might not be influenced by Microsoft.

Ad Corporatum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926496)

Not using OpenDoc _solely_ because it's advocates may be influenced by Microsoft is Ad Corporatum.

Attack the flawed logic and reasoning, not the corp that may have funded it.

Groklaw coverage (3, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926543)

For details and analysis you can't beat Groklaw's coverage [groklaw.net] , including notes by two [consortiuminfo.org] bloggers [danbricklin.com] who attended the meeting.

Also note that the hearing was convened by a senator who seems to confuse "OpenDocument" and "OpenOffice" and "open standards" with "open source software".

Re:Groklaw coverage (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926600)

oops.. should be confuse "OpenDocument" with "OpenOffice".

Damn Microsoft (1, Insightful)

jiushao (898575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926557)

Yeah, damn Microsoft running around paying visually impaired people to claim that they want to be able to read government documents. The nerve, like accessability is more important than switching from one office suite to another because some people dislike the licensing of the XML format of the current one!

Sorry to break up that little run of sarcasm to point out ahead of time; Almost every reply that I would automatically get to this post about the licensing of Microsoft Office 2003 XML schema license [microsoft.com] is to a great extent FUD. There is not really a terrible patent issue, all licensees get royalty-free rights to all Microsoft patents to allow using the schema freely. Granted this is GPL-incompatible since anyone distributing the result has to accept the schema license, and also the schema license has a BSD-style advertisement clause. These are hardly the earth-shattering taking-away-our-freedom-lets-sing-with-RMS issues though.

One notable thing to point out here is that OpenDocument actually has a similar IP issue [oasis-open.org] , notice how you get a royalty-free license from Sun for the IP in that format?

Overall this is making an awful lot of noise considering that people are supposedly getting "liberated" from a fairly reasonable product here, despite it being from Microsoft.

Re:Damn Microsoft (2)

jiushao (898575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926673)

Oh, wait, the OpenDocument link has changed since I originally made this rant a month ago, now Sun apparently makes a blanket grant. On the other hand people were pushing for this before the end of september as well. My original point however is that even though Microsofts schema license may not exactly be open-source purity it seems quite sufficient. This looks like a mindless OSS crusade to me.

Re:Damn Microsoft (1)

fader (107759) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926848)

As a tax-paying resident of Massachusetts, I disagree. I should not be required to pay for a license from Microsoft to read documents that my tax dollars paid for. It's as simple as that.

Re:Damn Microsoft (1)

Black Perl (12686) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926875)

Can't you just download the free Word Viewer? You have to do the same kind of thing with PDFs.

Getting priorities right (4, Insightful)

daeley (126313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926574)

Frankly, they could take a portion of that $45 million cost savings and dedicate it to making those blind- and deaf-user devices work swimmingly with OOo.... and still have enough to pay Manny Ramirez's salary next season, assuming he doesn't get himself traded to the Angels before then. ;)

Embrace and Extend Strategy (1, Interesting)

frostman (302143) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926575)

I think the obvious outcome of this and similar efforts will be that Microsoft puts all the actual content of Office documents in some sort of open format, and "extends" that format to support all the goodies such as fancy formatting, macros, Excel formulas, and so on. The extensions will be proprietary and for the most part not accessible to open-source programs, but the base content will be easy to get at.

Since Word is following Pages [apple.com] in its future approach to document formatting, a lot of those extras will be used by people who aren't necessarily trying to do anything fancy.

The end result will be that MS satisfies open format requirements, since you can get at the goods, but anybody who wants to work with the documents in real life will need Office. In other words, what we have today, with more documentation and more bureaucracy.

"Total Cost of Ownership" vs. Sovereignty (4, Funny)

ansak (80421) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926577)

Microsoft's position:

* Every new box pre-installed with Windows $100
* Every new box pre-installed with Office $200
* Having the option of following up an OS upgrade with an Office Upgrade that renders old file formats unreadable: priceless.

Everyone else's position:

* Looking for (and finding) tools to make OpenOffice compatible with any imaginable disabled-persons' enabling tool: probably as little as 10 minutes
* Off-sourcing production of a filter to convert current word document files to OpenDoc: a little embarassment
* Having government-provided and -required documents in a format that will never be submerged by near-simultaneous OS and Office Tools upgrades: priceless.

The cost to a society of having a monopolist control the format that its documents are published in is as desirable as it would be to have to continue paying the Gutenberg family for the privilege of having your book printed in the 21st century.

nuff said...ank

Oh, really ? (1)

James Jones (925533) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926586)

"...might be influenced by M$"

What an understatement !

Public Concerns! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926610)

"Even as Quinn and Hamel sought to clarify their department's position on OpenDocument, (Sen.) Pacheco said there were still public concerns about users with disabilities and total cost of ownership."

Yup, the general public is *really* giving a flying $^(& about what some office drones, disabled or otherwise, are using...

Complaint about RelaxNG and acceptance (2, Interesting)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926630)

My big complaint about OpenDocument [wikipedia.org] Schemas [coverpages.org] are that they rely on RelaxNG [wikipedia.org] that has poor support in developer tools. It also adds another layer of confusion for customers who are veeery reluctant to accept non-W3C [xml.com] standards.

Microsoftbot (2, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926677)

Microsoftbot hate Open Document! Microsoftbot eat Open Document and shit out Word97 pellets! Microsoftbot angry with Massachussetts, and funny name state will suffer wrath of Microsoftbot, just like South Korean smarty pants will! Microsoftbot fucking kill Open Document! If you use OpenDocument, Microsoftbot come and tear your computer into many pieces! Microsoftbot unstoppable! Someday Microsoftbot will rule world, and all will bow to Microsoftbot's creators, and burn open source demons and Steve Jobs, because Microsoftbot think him weirdo hippy.

Open Doc? (1)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926715)

Wonder why they don't use HTML?

Re:Open Doc? (1)

smcavoy (114157) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926894)

same reason your not making the decsion

NOT DUMPING MICROSOFT FOR OPENDOCUMENT! (2, Insightful)

brigc (30780) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926719)

Sorry to shout, but come on guys, it's tough enough getting past the FUD from the Friends of Microsoft without mis-stating things...

The guidelines do not ban Microsoft's Office product, they merely state that the state of Massachusetts will need to use products which support OpenDocument.

If Microsoft decides to support OpenDocument, or a third party makes a Microsoft Office to OpenDocument converter which works well, the state of Massachusetts will still be able to use Microsoft Office.

They're just expressing a very appropriate interest in non-proprietary file formats, not saying they won't use the software.

Pretty important difference. ...brig

desperate. (1)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926802)

She is either desperate or a rookie. The comment about the groups opposing her influenced by MS was a newbie remark. No savy official would say something like that about a company that spreads its money around across the board. Also MS donated more to Romney's campaign then Obrien's (referring to her boss and the former governors race a few years ago.) As far as the specific groups complaining, she didn't sufficiently address their handicap needs. MS influencing them? Did MS give them a physical disability?

She still han't make a good case for the move. I've posted previously why it isn't a good case. http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=166793&cid=139 08812 [slashdot.org]

Sorry to disappoint the OSS crowd, but it looks like the elected senators in the committee are going to squash this appointed official's unilateral decision.

Why do these people complain, after all? (1)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926869)

I don't see the problem; OpenDocument is royalty-free, thus everybody can implement it without having to pay anybody. This lets everybody compete; the contrarywise of excluding someone from the competition just because he _can't_ race without following some oligarchic rules.

If paying zillions of dollars to those Big Companies isn't enough to have them snatch in a new feature, I wonder what shore we landed ...

... oh, well. Marketing & lawsuits' dep. People that are even able to _use_ handicapped people [boston.com] to reach their filthy targets.

CAGW statement (5, Insightful)

srobert (4099) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926887)

FTA: "CAGW has issued a statement that said the move to OpenDocument would incur unnecessary costs as the state government would be forced to convert 'more than one million current files to the new [OpenDocument] format.'"

I presume CAGW refers to Citizens Against Government Waste. But their statement on this doesn't jibe with the fact that most past documents in other formats would have to be converted to be compatible with newer proprietary formats as well. Also, it contains no comparison of the unnecessary costs incurred by not converting to an open format of some sort.
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