More ODF FUD, this time around the plug-in

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I just came across this article by David A. Utter called “Massachusetts, Microsoft Could Fight Again.” He quotes a passage from a new statement by The Initiative for Software Choice, an effort sponsored by CompTIA.

Regardless, the Massachusetts ODF policy – not ODF, the format – is a biased, open source only preference policy. We believe such preference policies exclude choice, needlessly marginalize successful marketplace options, and curtail merit-based selections for state procurements.

Ok, so here are two quick problems with that statement:

  1. IBM Workplace Managed Client version 2.6 – a commercial product supporting ODF
  2. Sun Microsystems StarOffice 8 – a commercial product supporting ODF

Trust me when I tell you that both Sun and IBM would be happy to sell the State of Massachusetts as many copies of these products as they would like to purchase. Really. For money. So you have two traditional commercial software choices for products supporting ODF.

Of course there are open source software choices as well that support ODF. Wikipedia has a nice big list of such software choices. Seems to me that we have an abundance of software choices. Could that be the problem?

Update: InformationWeek picked up the story in “Trade Group Blasts Massachusetts Call For Office Plug-In” but failed to note the irony of there being commercial implementations supporting ODF.

Update #2: Andy Updegrove delves into all of this over in his blog.


One Comment

  1. I don’t know about FUD. I have decided that labeling stuff as FUD is not de-FUDding.

    Now, with regard to the statement, written in quotes for some peculiar reason, it does seem to be one giant non-sequiter. The passage you quote is pretty far down in a peculiarly incoherent piece. I stopped short on this:

    “Last Fall, Massachusetts Information and Technology Division (ITD) presented the state s executive agencies with a stark mandate Microsoft s Office Suite will be replaced with OpenDocument Format (ODF) compliant desktops by January 2007, …”

    As I recall, the mandate was to adopt, not to replace, and it was stated that Microsoft could qualify by supporting ODF. For me the ensuing statement,

    “The RFP reveals that the choice presented by the previous ITD bureaucrats i.e., ODFcompliant desktops for state agencies are the only viable options for citizens to have access to their data in the future was purposely exclusionary, being primarily designed to distort the competitive landscape.”

    simply makes no sense either way. The plug-in does not relax the commitment to ODF-compliance in any way I can see, especially if the plug-in can be configured to make ODF be the default format for installations of Microsoft Office products in state agencies. There seems to be attribution of inflexibility that is not consistent with repeated and emphatic public statements by Massachusetts officials.

    It is also odd, in the passage further on that you’ve quoted, that open-source and open-standards are all confused together somehow. I notice that from some open-source pundits too, and I guess they are not the only ones blinded by ideological filters.

    It just seems like poor work to me.

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