Battle Over Massachusetts Anti-Microsoft Software Policy Widens
The Massachusetts Senate is considering legislation that could trump a month-old policy that required government agencies to adopt open-document formats. The policy would block adoption of Microsoft Office. Meanwhile, Sun and IBM are rallying support for open-document formats.
The open-format policy is controversial because the proposed format could lock out some Microsoft software.
The Massachusetts senate is considering legislation that could eventually trump action on formats. At the same time, IBM and Sun Microsystems are rounding up supporters of open formats for a proposed foundation to support the OpenDocument standard set by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Standards (OASIS).
"It's a moveable feast," said Michael Wendy, spokesman for COMPtia, which along with Microsoft, opposes the state policy. "There's a lot of interest from all over and it's growing."
The state policy, scheduled to take effect in 2007, calls for Massachusetts government documents to use the OpenDocument standard. Microsoft opposes the policy, maintaining that it unfairly excludes Microsoft's Office software. Supporters counter that Microsoft can comply with the OpenDocument standard if it chooses to.
The chief proponent of the standard, Eric Kriss, who headed the state's administrative offices, has left his state post, leaving the standard without its champion. Governor Mitt Romney (R), who is widely believed to be preparing to run for the U.S. Presidency, has not spoken out on the policy to date.
Supporters of the OpenDocument standard were scheduled to meet Friday at IBM facilities in Armonk, New York. In addition to IBM and Sun, Red Hat, and Novell were among the firms planning to attend, according to published reports.
Proposed legislation making the rounds at the Statehouse in Boston calls for the establishment of an "information technology expert task force," whose majority members would be appointed by the state's governor. The body would make recommendations in areas including software standards, formats and the content of Web pages.
Proponents of the OpenDocument format (OFD) maintain that the open-source approach would stimulate competition and bring prices down. Microsoft takes an opposing stance. "ODF is fine, but not as a government policy," said COMPtia's Wendy, "because it locks out an important segment of the market."
IT's Reputation: What the Data SaysInformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
What The Business Really Thinks Of IT: 3 Hard TruthsThey say perception is reality. If so, many in-house IT departments have reason to worry. InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. The news isn't great.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.