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Last week, the Massachusetts Information Technology Division (ITD) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on any plugins that might be under development to assist it in migrating from a MS Office environment to one based upon software that supports ODF. Perhaps Microsoft may be willing to lend a hand.
There are already multiple implementations of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) in the marketplace. Why do adopt a standard - and therefore by definition go head to head with their competitors?
The six month voting window for ISO/IEC adoption of the OASIS OpenDocument Format (ODF) standard closed on May 1, and at midnight (Geneva time) last night it was announced internally that ODF had been approved by the ISO members eligible and interested in casting a vote.
With more than a million standards in place in the world today, it is axiomatic that we are all profoundly affected by their existence. Yet only a very small number of people are involved in the creation of these standards, relative to the billions that are impacted by their implementation.
Like many that have followed the OpenDocument Format (ODF) story in Massachusetts, I've wondered what former State CIO Peter Quinn would eventually decide to do after announcing his resignation late last year.
When Peter Quinn announced the adoption of the new Massachusetts Enterprise Technology Reference Model (which included the OpenDocument Format) in September of last year, he specified January 1, 2007 as the conversion date for ODF. But did that make sense?
Last summer, IBM set up Power,org, to promote its PowerPC chip as what it called "open hardware." This year, Sun launched the OpenSPARC.net open source project around the source code for its Niagera microprocessor. But what does "open" mean in the context of hardware?
It is perhaps no surprise that Minnesota, a blue state like Massachusetts and heir to the political traditions of the Prairie Populists, should be the next state to host a bill to require "open data formats." In spirit, this is a good thing, as it indicates a broadening appeal for open document format standards that, if missing, would be worrisome.
Things have been busy in Massachusetts this year for ODF. Some of the roadblocks that had loomed ahead are now behind, and some new ones are ahead.
A bill has been introduced in Minnesota that would require all Executive branch agencies to "use open standards in situations where the other requirements of a project do not make it technically impossible to do this."
The text of the bill is focused specifically on "open data formats." While the amendment does not refer to open source software, the definition of "open standards" that it contains would be conducive to open source implementations of open standards. The fact that such a bill has been introduced is significant in a number of respects. First, the debate over open formats will now be ongoing in two U.S. states rather than one. Second, if the bill is successful, the Minnesota CIO will be required to enforce a law requiring the use of open formats, rather than be forced to justify his or her authority to do so. Third, the size of the market share that can be won (or lost) depending upon a vendor's compliance with open standards will increase. And finally, if two states successfully adopt and implement open data format policies, other states will be more inclined to follow.
Last week, the City of Bristol, England, anounced that it would convert its 5,500 desktops from Microsoft Office to Sun's StarOffice. Now, the National Archives of Australia (NAA) has announced that it will move its digital archives program to OpenOffice 2.0.
The Massachusetts decision to implement OpenDocument Format (ODF) has attracted so much attention that little has been directed at other end users (governmental and otherwise) that have decided to adopt ODF. But there are others.
Lately, there seem to have been more high-profile "standards wars" than ever before.
In what must have seemed to many as a bold move, Sun Microsystems last week announced that it would released the source code for its UltraSparc T1 processor under the GPL, supported by a new organization that it calls OpenSPARC.net.
In the last several days there have been several stories in the news that highlight the increasing tension between ownership of intellectual property rights (IPR) and the opportunities that become available when broader, free access to those rights is made available.
Since I posted yesterday's blog entry about Microsoft joining the ISO voting comments reconciliation subcommittee, I've received some questions about how that process works, and how long it will take.
A few days ago, I got an email from someone with news of an interesting development in the ongoing ODF saga. Pamela Jones at Groklaw got an email as well.
If you follow technology news or music news (or both), you doubtless know of an amendment to a French on-line copyright bill that would make it legal to thwart the digital rights protection (DRM) software of the fabulously successful Apple iTunes/iPod system.
As you may recall, the ODF Alliance was formed on March 3, 2006. Given that they've already had, oh, two and a half weeks to change the world, I thought I'd check out the Alliance Website to see whether they had achieved their manifest destiny yet.
Last year, the IT departments of municipalities in Massachusetts became part of a war of disinformation, and later a political football, in the battle over ODF. Now, they'll have a chance to hear the whole story, and make up their own minds what is best for them, and for their constituencies.
One of the more bizarre, but less noticed threads in the OpenDocument Format (ODF) story in Massachusetts involves whether or not the many hundreds of municipalities in Massachusetts would be required to use software that supported ODF, or at least be able to work with documents created using such software when they interacted with State government. Later this month, the CIOs of Massachusetts municipalities will have a chance to get the straight story when Peter Quinn's successor Louis Gutierrez, who is implementing ODF, and State Supervisor of Public Records Alan Cote, who is critical of ODF, appear on the same stage to give their views at a meeting of the Massachusetts Government Information Systems Association.
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