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Open Source Community Defends Massachusetts Open Formats Proposal

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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