I'm preparing for my trip tomorrow to Australia, trying to remember to bring my outlet adapter, my visa, and a whole lot of reading material for the 29-hour-total-elapsed-time-airport-to-airport trip (that's four flights). The commentary around the web on the Massachusetts draft model concerning OpenDocument Format keeps rolling in. I decided several days not to link to each of these, but rather to highlight a few to give you informed opinions that pointed out the range of thinking on the subject, albeit more heavily on the side of support the Massachusetts decision. Simon Phipps of Sun published a blog entry called "Coursey is wrong on Massachusetts" about David Coursey's article "Massachusetts' Move to Open Format is Close-minded".
Simon, I couldn't agree more. This is an opportunity for Massachusetts (and other governments, I hope) to do the right thing for all the right reasons, and to do it before the situation gets worse. If people persist in seeing this an anti-Microsoft move, then there is little that I can do about it, but there really is more to it than that. Try this thought experiment: totally subtract Microsoft from your thinking on this decision. Wouldn't you likely conclude exactly the way Massachusetts did that having truly open document formats is in the best interests of its citizens, not just now but in 10, 20, or 50 years? Now add Microsoft back in and take into account that they certainly could implement this format just as they have implemented many others. What's the big deal? And how should anyone choose what word processor or spreadsheet they use? Personally, I want to pick it because of the user interface, the performance, and the interoperability with other applications wherever they come from. The format used to save the information on disk should not be a vendor control point.[Read More]