Massachusetts Confirms OpenDoc is Go

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has now confirmed that its final decision is that their “Enterprise Technical Reference Model” Discipline for Data Formats specifies OpenDocument format as a requirement for office documents, as they did in their final draft.

To quote:

Description – The OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) is a standardized XML-based file format specification suitable for office applications. It covers the features required by text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents. The specification was recently approved by OASIS as an open standard. OASIS has also submitted the standard to ISO for consideration as an international standard for office document formats.

– The OpenDocument format must be used for office documents such as text documents (.odt), spreadsheets (.ods), and presentations (.odp). The OpenDocument format is currently supported by a variety of office applications including, StarOffice, KOffice, and IBM Workplace.

[…] Agencies will need to develop phased migration plans allowing them to configure existing applications to save office documents by default in the OpenDocument format with an implementation date of January 1, 2007. Any acquisition of new office applications must support the OpenDocument format natively.

They also have a FAQ page which shows that they really do “get it” and didn’t buy the claims that vendors would be “locked out” by choosing this format, debunking the myth thus:

QUESTION: Why are you making agencies deploy a single office product? Doesn’t state procurement law require competition among vendors, which you will foreclose?

ANSWER: The Final ETRM Version 3.5 does not require that agencies use only one office product. To the contrary, it offers agencies many choices. Agencies may choose to retain their existing MS Office licenses, as long as they use a method to save documents in Open Document Format. They may also use one of the many office tools that support Open Document Format in native format— OpenOffice, StarOffice, KOffice, Abiword, eZ publish, IBM Workplace, Knomos case management, Scribus DTP, TextMaker and Visioo Writer. Because the Open Document Format is an open standard, it increases the vendor pool available to state agencies by encouraging and permitting vendors not already in this field to develop products that support the standard. Adoption of the Final ETRM Version 3.5 will greatly increase competition among vendors for the sale of office applications to agencies.

They’ve also published all public comments received on this initiative, interesting reading!