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ConsortiumInfo: The Minnesota Open Formats Bill: Bandwagon or Babel?

“It is perhaps no surprise that Minnesota, a blue state like
Massachusetts and heir to the political traditions of the Prairie
Populists, should be the situs of a bill to require ‘open data
formats.’ In spirit, this is a good thing, as it indicates a
broadening appeal for open document format standards that, if
missing, would be worrisome. But is the bill as submitted an
encouraging signal that a bandwagon effect is taking hold, or a
step towards standards Babel, and a leap backwards? The question is
a serious one for a variety of reasons, and cuts to the heart of
why standards exist.

“Clearly, the definition of an ‘open standard’ contained in the
Minnesota bill includes many of the attributes that make a standard
useful, such as requirements intended to prevent ‘lock-in’ by a
single proprietary vendor…”


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