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To read comments to this article, go here
Have An Interest in Government Adoption of Open Standards?
Friday, February 20 2009 @ 11:51 PM EST

I've been contacted by a government agency that is seeking input on the question of what definition of openness it should adopt for that state. Obviously, it's in part about ODF/OOXML. They are interested in up-to-date analyses of the relative openness of the current, approved versions of the two ISO standards (26300 and 29500). They saw the Grokdocs work we did a couple of years ago and were impressed. But what about now? Both standards have been worked on since we did that granular study of OOXML. Their question is: how is each standard doing on the openness scale now?

They would like to hear from FOSS project leaders and small businesses, not just from the large vendors. I think that is very commendable, that the state is aware that FOSS isn't written the way proprietary software is and that the person at home using GPL'd software (or the business, or the non-profit, or the sister state or federal or local government agency, or increasingly the overseas country that is going full-tilt ODF and/or libre software) has every right to access public data -- their own data -- as anybody else, and their needs must be addressed.

So if you have an interest in presenting your views, could you please contact me by email? I'd rather not mention further details here, having lived through the Massachusetts saga.

It would be a conversation. They would love for people to come in person if they could, but telephone can be used instead, if you can't travel. What they liked about the Grokdocs work was the specificity. If you, for example, could do an update on what still hasn't been fixed in OOXML, that's the kind of information they would find helpful. The same goes for ODF, of course. The workgroup needs to be able to be specific and to point to evidence and supportive sources, not just opinions.

They need to hear from me fast, as there is a time frame in this picture. As you know, there is an open letter asking the President to consider Open Source, a letter you can also sign, if you wish to.


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