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Brief: Funding Spat Puts Massachusetts ODF Software Initiative On Hold

The Bay State's plan to require OpenDocument Format software, a decision fought by Microsoft, depends on the passage of a bond bill, which will enable the IT department to apply for federal funds.
The state of Massachusetts' plan to require OpenDocument Format (ODF) software for its office software documents is in limbo, because the state Senate failed to approve the necessary funding before it adjourned this week.

With $250 million needed for the project and for other state IT programs, the ODF plan will have to mark time until funding is approved. Republican Gov. Mitt Romney has called for the state lawmakers to reconvene to pass a bond bill.

"While the (bond) bill cleared the Massachusetts House late Monday night it failed to achieve approval by the Senate," said Andrew Updegrove, a Boston attorney who supports the ODF initiative, in an e-mail. "Had the bond been approved, the state's IT department would have been eligible to receive additional federal matching funds. The last time the IT department received capital improvements funding was four long years ago."

While both the state's House and Senate have agreed that $250 million is needed by the state IT unit, the two bodies couldn't approve the measure before they adjourned.

The Massachusetts ODF initiative has been resisted by Microsoft.

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