My Comment to Mr. Titch -

Story: HI Researcher Continues OpenDocument FUDTotal Replies: 2
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Jun 14, 2006
12:46 PM EDT
Hey Rev --

As I said last time, all Titch cares about is creating the message that the ODF standards will cost Massachusetts money without any benefit in return. All of the tech talk is simply a way to create the basis for saying there are two points of view and reasonable people can differ, so why throw the state into expensive chaos.

The only response that really matters is that ODF will create opportunity for Massachusetts' people and for its business. It is a hammer that must be used over and over and over, just as Mr. Titch uses his hammer. This is PR, not debate.

For your edification, the comment I posted to Mr. Titch:

Well, Mr. Titch, I see your crusade against the people and businesses of Massachusetts continues.

You campaign for a company on the other side of the country while brushing aside the opportunities that ODF will create for a Massachusetts tech economy that hasn't been too healthy in recent years. You quote Updegrove as a way to discount the fact that ODF's clear and open standards open the door for programmers (and the businesses that employ them) to do things with documents.

Mr. Titch, that ability is called opportunity. In case you haven't noticed, Massachusetts is home to both the Harvard Business School and MIT, not to mention many other fine colleges and universities. It is utterly inconceivable that Massachusetts will not benefit from a move to ODF, unless, of course, you think Massachusetts students, business, and engineers are somehow substandard. And let's not forget -- ODF is an ISO standard, which means local companies that get a kick-start from the state requirement will have a head-start on the world business stage.

As to Microsoft -- If they are true to their word, they will be part of the party! If their OpenXML standard really and truly is open -- which has yet to be determined -- they will have no problem whatsoever. You see, from the beginning, the xml data format was designed to be transformed. It even has it's own transformation language, xsl, based on transformation stylesheets. A truly open OpenXml, one without hidden trapdoors, one that is not merely an open container for secret binary formats, will be easily transformed to and from ODF.

If Microsoft doesn't want to do it, the state can contract with a local company and get the job done -- maybe launching a few local students into the next tech startup to make it big.

Frankly, Microsoft's biggest problem with ODF will be that ODF permits people other than Microsoft to introduce The Next Great Thing. That means money going to Red Sox fans that could have gone to rooting for the Mariners.

Jun 14, 2006
5:28 PM EDT


Cynical ol' me thinks maybe the reason MS has recently decided to give away a bunch of MS software in MA schools and universities is to attempt to counter the effects of part of MA's government using an open standard document format.

Jun 14, 2006
5:38 PM EDT

Cynical ol' you is right on the money -- and money is the operative factor here.

The whole debate is secondary. Titch is repeating (and repeating) a one-note message: this thing gonna cost you money and mess things up.

He can dismiss the entire debate with a "Clearly reasonable minds can differ on this issue. I don't pretend to have all the answers."

Which leads to the inevitable, "If so much is uncertain, should we be taking such a radical and risky step?"

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