And California Makes Four

Posted by Andy_Updegrove on Mar 1, 2007 5:46 AM EDT Standards Blog; By Andy Updegrove
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The big news of the day is that a legislator in California has decided that it is time to convince his colleagues that California should become the latest U.S. State to get on the open formats bandwagon. If the bill advances, it will the third such pieces of legislation to have been filed in recent weeks (the others are in Texas and Minnesota). The full text appears at the end of this blog entry.

As defined in the draft legislation, the bill would require that "all documents, including, but not limited to, text, spreadsheets, and presentations, produced by any state agency shall be created, exchanged, and preserved in an open extensible markup language-based, XML-based file format, as specified by the department." Happily for all concerned, this definition is very close, and in many cases identical, to the open standards definition used in both the Texas and Minnesota bills. As I observed at the time that the original Minnesota legislation was introduced (which included a rather eclectic definition of an open standard), it would do more harm than good for every state to enact its own definition of an "open standard." Were this to happen, vendors would have neither the incentive, nor perhaps even the ability, to meet the multiple procurement requirements that were legislated, dooming the process to failure.

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