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Archive for November, 2005

Democracy and Monopoly

Posted in Uncategorized on November 8th, 2005 by darcusb – Comments Off

Sigh … just when we all thought it too good to be true, the politicians step in and throw a wrench in the recent Massachusetts decision on open document formats. David Berlind has done a fantastic job covering the MA IT policy the past few months, and his most recent post continues with that. As he points out:

  • we really don’t know who the politicians are who proposed an amendment to an economic stimulus package that would require a state IT overview board.
  • it is quite clear that the state senator that rounded up the “open forum” on the decision has absolutely no clue on the technology or licensing details at the heart of the policy; if he’s not bought by Microsoft, then he’s certainly quite easily suggestible to MS-sourced FUD
  • the “open forum” was not; it was staged to show ODF in the most unflattering of light
  • technology is political, and opposition to the policy also comes from factions within the Commonwealth government

Here’s the thing, to all the critics (and to MA politicians):

  • the policy is not about software; it is about document standards
  • open standards can be implemented by anyone
  • MS’s schemas are not open, no matter how much they claim they are
  • it makes perfect public policy sense that a government would mandate open formats; I’d go so far as to say it’s insane not to!
  • MS is not per se excluded from procurement under the policy, except to the degree they have excluded themselves by refusing to either open their formats, or support import/export of OpenDocument

It’s really that simple. Let’s get the damned politicians out of IT decisions!