Computer Geek

Musings about technology, computer books and software.

November 06, 2005

Massachusetts Makes Smart Move Official

This article illustrates why it's better for government to use Open Source Software and open standards such as OpenOffice.org which uses the OpenDocument (OASIS) word processor format. This opinion article sums it up right at the beginning:
Switch to OpenDocument format will make state documents more accessible to the public because anyone can have the software to read the format.
Shouldn't that of itself be enough? Anybody can download the OpenOffice.org suite for free and because it's an open format, it'll be easy later to change software. That's better than having your data held captive. I particularly like this part of the article:
And let say it one more time: OpenDocument is an "open" format. Anyone, including Microsoft, can write to it.

Of course, Microsoft doesn't want to. The Redmond, Wash., giant makes its billions from locking users into its way of doing things. OpenDocument frees users. If everyone started using OpenOffice for their office documents they could decide, for instance, that StarOffice 8 for, say, $50 is a better deal than Microsoft Office at $500.

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