Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Goods News for ODF in Mass. (Despite Delay)

Full implementation of ODF adoption in Massachusetts has, it seems, been delayed six months until June 2007. But this minor slippage in execution is good news, not bad. Why? ODF adoption will begin in January 2007 as planned. And a plugin to allow Microsoft users in the public sector to save in ODF format, as a temporary "fix," will allow a smoother evolution to complete ODF implementation.

And who will be one of the early users of this plugin beginning in January? The Massachusetts Office on Disability. With a more realistic schedule for implementation, it seems clear that Massachusetts is on track for full ODF rollout with the support (even leadership) of the community of users with disabilities.

This is an important development, in both political and technological terms. The implementation schedule is still ambitious and will surely face difficulties. However, it means that a major political obstacle has been cleared. It also means that support and engagement by the disability community will drive further innovations in assistive technologies. It is fair to ask: would this have happened if ODF never arrived on the scene?

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