Thursday, May 11, 2006

I have been following the melodrama that is Massachusetts adoption of the Open Document Format for a while now. The latest salvo from Microsoft's proxies reveals their increasing panic. In their latest comedy gold Melanie Wyne of the laughably named Initiative for Software Choice (ISC) states "The RFP reveals that the choice presented by the previous ITD bureaucrats – i.e., ODF-compliant desktops for state agencies are the only viable options for citizens to have access to their data in the future – was purposely exclusionary, being primarily designed to distort the competitive landscape."

"In other words, it had little to do with access to documents, and everything to do with excluding proprietary software providers."

This is utter horse shit. First off ODF is a fully documented open standard which may be freely implemented by anyone who wants to do so, including Microsoft. Indeed one of the first office suites to support the ODF format is Star Office, a proprietary product produced by Sun Microsystems.

Secondly what the hell is wrong with excluding proprietary software, it makes perfect sense that an organization as large as a state goverement would want to use software that they have access to the source for and are free to modify to meet their needs.

Finally it seems that Microsoft's proxies have forgotten the cardinal rule of the business world, the customer is always right. In the case of a state government this means the only people who have a right to tell Massachusetts they're not doing the right thing are the citizens of Massachusetts, not mega corporations or their lobby groups.

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