31 January 2006

ODF Gets Interestinger

Who would have thought file formats could be such fun?

The great battle over whether the OpenDocument format should be adopted in Massachusetts has taken another dramatic turn with the appointment of a successor to Peter Quinn, the man who took most of the flak for introducing the policy in the first place.

What's most striking is that the press release announcing the new CIO goes out of its way to emphasise that he will be "responsible for overseeing the final stages of implementation of the state's new Open Document format proposal, to go into effect in January 2007" (via Andy Updegrove's Standards Blog). In other words, all the talk about how the ODF decision was being rolled back was premature, to say the least.

Microsoft is unlikely to take this lying down - too much is at stake. If it loses Massachusetts in this way, it will create a terrible precedent for the company. It will reveal that that there is, in fact, life after Microsoft Office. And once users start to experience the huge benefits of employing open formats - freedom from vendor lock-in, the ability to deploy a range of different applications on several platforms, easy archiving etc. - the trickle of defections will soon become positively Amazonian.

Expect things to get even more interestinger.

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