Those of you who have been following the saga in Massachusetts around the OpenDocument Format know that one of the very odd things that happened last year was that an amendment was put on an economic stimulus bill to largely strip the CIO in the executive branch of his or her decision making ability. This was after then-CIO Peter Quinn put in place a new policy to require the use of ODF. There was also, of course, the front page story in the Boston Globe questioning some of Quinn’s travel. Several weeks after that, the story was completely dismissed as being without merit – on page 7.
Skeptics might see this as a case of “don’t make make IT decisions that disadvantage particular vendors or they will lobby hard and long to take away your ability to do your job.” I couldn’t possibly comment.
In any case, I’m pleased to report that the economic stimulus bill that was passed yesterday did not have this amendment in it.
I applaud the Massachusetts state legislature for this move. It’s provided a great case study to all the other governments around the world of what happens when politics and IT collide. The education that this will provide around the tactics employed by those who oppose open standards will significantly and positively advance the case for true openness.