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To read comments to this article, go here
The Latest on ODF and MA
Wednesday, January 25 2006 @ 09:00 PM EST

Andy Updegrove has listed some things to watch for going forward in the ODF in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts story. I don't normally do an article just pointing you to someone else's article, but in this case, I'm making an exception, because he answers several questions I've been wondering about, including what is happening with the attempt to wrest power away from ITD.

That would be the Morrissey Amendment to the economic stimulus bill, the amendment trying to take power away from ITD and give it to a political task force that seems to be peopled with nongeeks who like Microsoft quite a lot. Updegrove seems to think the amendment is a dead duck. He quotes from some letters in opposition sent by the Massachusetts Network Communications Council (MNCC), Mass High Technology Council (MHTC) and the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MTLC).

Some highlights from the article on the amendment:

The legislature is now back in session, and I am told that this portion of the economic stimulus bill to which the amendment relates will now begin getting attention, now that debate on another part of the same bill (involving health care) has been resolved. The next step will be for the economic bill (with or without the amendment) to be approved by each branch of the legislature. Following this, a reconciliation committee will be formed, and the final bill will then presumably be approved by both houses. Finally, the Governor would need to sign the bill and can veto it if he chooses.

Will all this happen? I have talked to several people in the know who believe that the amendment will not survive.

Also, he writes about what to expect from Sen. Pacheco's demand to audit the audit report, as well as what's going on with the disabililty issue and with replacing Peter Quinn as CIO. He also gives a projected timeline for OASIS's application of ODF to ISO for adoption as a global standard:

Under the ISO "publicly available specification" (PAS) process used by OASIS for ODF, and which would be used by Ecma for XMLRS, balloting is held open for six months, following which a committee reconciles (under its own authority) any comments included with any votes submitted. The reconciliation process should begin in May of 2006, meaning that ODF should achieve adoption next summer - at least a year to 18 months before XMLRS could be expected to achieve a similar status, and be considered on an equal footing in (for example) Europe with ODF.

All in all, ODF continues to keep chugging right along, despite all efforts to scuttle it. So far, so good. The only two serious issues, in Updegrove's mind, are guaranteeing accessibility, getting the software done in time to enable that, and the audit. But frankly, if the audit find that open standards/open formats won't save the Commonwealth money, someone will have had to put his thumb on the scale. Any such "Get the Facts" type of report will be greeted with peals of cynical laughter all around the world.


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