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Open Source Community Defends Massachusetts Open Formats Proposal

Sep 09, 2005, 04:00 (3 Talkback[s])

Eye on IT: To David Coursey @ eWeek: Why Massachusetts Made the Right Decision

"1. You state:

"'Under Quinn's order, Microsoft formats, though supported by free readers as well as competitive applications like WordPerfect and OpenOffice are not considered 'open' and cannot be used by the state's workers after the 2007 deadline.'

"My response:

"WordPerfect and OpenOffice.org have imperfect filters for Microsoft Office document formats. This is mostly because those formats are closed, so achieving a 100% interoperability is extremely hard. What's more alarming is the fact different versions of Microsoft Office also have imperfect filters for Microsoft Office...!"

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Simon Phipps, SunMink: Coursey is Wrong on Massachusetts

I just read an article by David Coursey, Massachusetts' Move to Open Format is Close-minded, and I'm afraid he has it totally wrong--too much time spent drinking from the fountain of Redmond wisdom, I fear, and not enough listening to David Berlind who understands the real issues perfectly. He criticises the proposal by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to mandate a policy of using open formats for its business, saying

"'I am not sure what the real problem is with using Microsoft file formats. No, they are not open, but they aren't completely closed, either. There are a number of non-Microsoft apps that support them. That makes Microsoft file formats 'open enough' for many users.'

"What a short-term view..."

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