Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

ODF Delayed in Massachusetts?

The State of Massachusetts will release its mid-term assessment of OpenDocument. Apparently, recent discussions with disability rights groups have had an impact.

As blogged here previously, the issue of how ODF will affect accessability by people with disabilities is a political deal-breaker for ODF, not just in Massachusetts but for all levels of governments in the U.S.

At least one news source is reporting that CIO Louis Gutierrez will announce a delay in the scheduled January 1, 2007 implementation of ODF until an adequate plug-in can be developed.

One other notable news on open standards:

* Open Standards & RAND: In case you doubted my previous objections to the use of "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (or RAND) as a sound element of open standards, look no further than this story. In a legal battle between Nokia and Qualcomm, the fight is over the meaning of RAND. To repeat my view on this: RAND is not an objective standard and will only generate endless litigation. It is something only lawyers could love. It should not be part of any definition of an open standard.


Sam said...


Thanks for covering this key topic! Precisely what is happening Mass?

ODF, itself, is not delayed; it is well on track. However, the roll-out of ODF-ready applications is what is delayed. And the ODF Plug-in is scheduled to meet the Jan 1, 2007 date.

The Plug-in brings ODF capabilities to existing MS Office software without disruption, natively & seemlessly. Mass will be ODF-capable and then will be in a good position to procure and roll out other parts of their architecture which leverage the universal & portable file format for documents.

Mass ITD has created a win-win-win-win situation: a win for ODF; a win for people with disabilities; a win for Microsoft, who get to keep software in place with customers; and a win for customers who's desktop ROI gets about doubled, at least, by the Plug-in.

Jeff Kaplan said...

Thank, Sam. I was hoping someone would clear this up.

We should expect the development of robust ODF-ready applications to occur over time. That has nothing to do with the Jan. 1 start to implementation of open file formats.