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Monday, September 26, 2005

Massachusetts Mandates Open File Formats

Over the strained objections of guess who, Massachusetts has mandated use of the Open Document format (ODF) for all office productivity applications. ODF is the native format supported by the Free (and cross-platform) OpenOffice program, and being adopted by the Linux-based Koffice suite as well.

This is a good thing. The taxpayers of Massachusetts will save money by not being locked into a proprietary “solution” (more like a solvent, dissolving state revenue), citizens can download a Free program instead of paying upwards of $400 for a commercial one to read government documents, and — amazing! — nobody died. Other state and national governments have flirted with the idea, and succumbed to, shall we say, “pressure.” One notable exception: the Largo, FL city government saves its fortunate citizens upwards of $1M/year by using Linux instead of that other operating system.

The question is, where did Massachusetts find their big brass ones? And will they rent them out to other governments?

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