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OpenDocument standard reaches state government

There was an official announcement yesterday, reported on page E3 of today's
Boston Globe, about an initiative many of us have already heard about.  The
Commonwealth of Massachusetts has come out cannons blazing against Microsoft,
Adobe et al in the battle to eliminate the use of proprietary file-format
standards for legal documents in the government's archives.

The problem that I've long had with file formats of all types (be they MS Word
or various old Unix files) is that every couple of years some new software
package comes out which forces me to update all the files.  I have a hard
drive full of unreadable files.  State official Peter Quinn has declared that
needless format changes which render old files unreadable have got to stop.

I wrote to my state rep today and encourage you to do likewise.  See: to look up your rep's email.  Below is the message I
sent (at my own initiative, this is not part of a lobbying campaign).  It's
the first time I've ever been able to write to my rep about an open-software


To:   	"Anne Paulsen" <Anne.Paulsen at>

I'm writing with a quick note of support for Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn's
initiative on state documents.

A problem that I have long had with Microsoft and other proprietary products
is the needless upgrade process as new versions come out.  Occasionally an
"improvement" will come along which makes computers easier to use but the
industry has long past the development stage for ordinary government

Please help Mr. Quinn embrace the long-term viability of government document
archival.  I want to be able to view documents 20 or 50 years in the future
without all the hassles inflicted upon us by the likes of Microsoft.  Yes, it
will be costly and difficult to fight the software industry's lobbyists.  But
it is a battle worth winning, in the long term interests of voters, consumers
and our Commonwealth.

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