Last week I reported that the state of Massachusetts has said they will stop using Microsoft Office in favor of more “standard” or “open” file formats instead of Microsoft Office’s proprietary one. I do encourage you to consider if you can save money by using file formats other than Microsoft Office especially if most of your work is done in plain text or HTML.
However, as David Coursey points out, Massachusetts move is “dumb” because what the state is really doing is making its workers use a file format that hardly anyone else uses and NOT using a file format that most everyone else uses.
Although Microsoft Office is NOT “open source” it’s on 90%+ of the business and consumer desktops so in effect it is THE STANDARD.
David writes Of course, once Microsoft is gone, nobody but Massachusetts government workers will be able to use the OpenDocument files they create. Even if Massachusetts goes to OpenOffice, the rest of the world will not (at least not anytime soon). Is it really a good idea to require that anyone who wants to read Massachusetts new “open” documents install and learn to use a new office suite, even a free one?
Sure, the OpenDocument files may meet the goal of openness, but will fall down against a goal of “easy to use by the state’s citizens and businesses.”
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