Massachusetts OpenDocument Format Meeting

From Groklaw – a blog of notes from the Massachusetts ODF Meeting where some pollies registered some displeasure of having not been involved, and sounded like they’d been reading too much misinformation from Microsoft. 🙁

There does appear to be at least one valid issue, and that is disability access, though sadly I’ve not seen details of what this exact problem is. Personally I would thought that to be an implementation issue rather than a document format issue, so I’m probably missing something there because Andy writes:

The disability issues are real, and the ITD seems to have been caught off guard on this. They should have been all over this issue a year ago, but seem to be going in the right direction now. Still, a bad tactical — and ethicall — mistake.

These two quotes in particular from Andy’s blog are quite telling:

Senator Pacheco doesn’t understand the difference between open source and open standards (and certainly doesn’t understand the difference between OpenDocument and OpenOffice). More than once, he indicated that he thought that the policy would require the Executive Agencies to use OpenOffice, not realizing that there are other compliant alternatives.

The hearing was stacked against the positive, in that although Quinn and ITD General Counsel Linda Hamel were given plenty of opportunity to speak and answer questions, no one else who was in favor of the new policy was permitted to give testimony (I know of at least one major, supporting vendor that tried and was refused), nor were any questions from the audience allowed.

Update: Scanning through Andy’s real-time notes shows another interesting little factoid:

the new policy applies only to the Executive Agencies. It does not apply to the Judiciary, although the Judiciary is actually way ahead of us, with over 2000 desktops already ODF enabled.