Saturday, September 03, 2005

Open Format Victory!

I'm working feverishly on the Grand Rounds submissions, but I just had to take a break and put this up:
Massachusetts mandates open-format docs, edges toward Linux
Sep. 01, 2005

The state of Massachusetts will revamp its digital output during the next 16 months to create only open-format documents and is increasing its use of Linux and free and open source software (FOSS) among its workers, the state's chief information officer told DesktopLinux.com Thursday in a conference call.

CIO Peter Quinn challenged Microsoft and other companies who sell software that uses proprietary document formats to consider enabling open-format options as soon as possible. Quinn said that "government is creating history at a rapidly increasing rate, and all documents we save must be accessible to everybody, without having to use 'closed' software to open them now and in the future." [...]

"Microsoft has remade the desktop world," Quinn said. "But if you've watched history, there's a slag heap of proprietary companies who have fallen by the wayside because they were stuck in their ways. Just look at the minicomputer business, for example. The world is about open standards and open source. I can't understand why anybody would want to continue making closed-format documents anymore."
[emphasis added]
I've been using OpenOffice in my own office for years, and have never had a problem with it.  I've taken documents back and forth from that office to others, alternately editing them using OpenOffice and Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.  That has included some rather complex forms.  No problem.