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Microsoft Government Politics

Open Standards Initiative Fails in Massachusetts 236

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the after-much-ado dept.
walterbyrd writes "Massachusetts has decided to use Microsoft's Open-XML standard. This decison: 'stands in sharp contrast to the positions taken by predecessor CIOs Peter Quinn and Louis Gutierrez, backed by then governor (and now-presidential hopeful) Mitt Romney. Both Quinn and Gutierrez insisted on including only "open standards" in the ETRM, and withstood significant pressure from Microsoft to give ground and accept OOXML...'"
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Open Standards Initiative Fails in Massachusetts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2007 @07:22AM (#20099175)
    I guess the good news is how long it took Microsoft to kill it. They are not as good as they used to be with the FUD.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2007 @07:58AM (#20099365)
      All I can hope for is that in {enter date of choice here} years time that all the docs in MA that were arcdhived in OOXML format become unreadable and totally useless as OOXML V25 (or whatver) drops support for V1.
      Meanwhile those that were archived with other open (as well as properly documented) formats are still available to the masses.

      Any organisation going for OOXML are just asking to get stuffed in the future. Microsoft could enforce DRM and other nasties on the users and then start charging for every access to the document even though the content might be your copyright, they hold the strings over the format.
      Just like the Monks in the Middle Ages did paper books. Knowelege is POWER. Control of the access to the Knowelege is ABSOLUTE POWER

      Just my warped $0.02 worth on this dark day.
      • As a famous person once said, "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
      • Except I doubt that even MS can stick to the standard.
    • "FUD" vs. Corruption (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday August 03, 2007 @08:07AM (#20099411)
      This can hardly be called FUD. They destroyed at least one man's career in government -- probably two mens'. Who knows what else they did to get this through, and head off a pan-american shift away from MS products.
      • by jc42 (318812)
        This can hardly be called FUD. They destroyed at least one man's career in government -- probably two mens'.

        Indeed, and there's a history of this. From at least the mid-60s, there was a saying "Nobody ever got fired for buying (or recommending) IBM." Nowadays, you mostly hear "Microsoft" substituted for "IBM", of course.

        Both companies have maintained this situation by occasionally staging demos that they can, in fact, have you fired if you recommend a competitors' product. It doesn't take a lot of demos
    • by Peer (137534)
      I guess the good news is how long it took Microsoft to kill it. They are not as good as they used to be with the FUD.

      Great! It will take a lot less time next time. They'll just say: 'Look at how deliberated Massachusetts decided to go for OOXML!' (probably in proper english)
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:27AM (#20100147) Homepage
      MSFT never used FUD alone in these, they always used some type of bribe. Bribes like reduced cost for a site license and other tactics that convince the key people that they need to re evaluate their position.

      I have seen it locally, Microsoft "donated" a site license to their entire suite of software including the Visual studio products to my daughters school to squash the linux+Open Office conversion. They eliminated the cost savings that the board was able to understand the most. and that was it. Project killed completely, not even a handful of linux boxes were allowed in the lab per an agreement.
  • by StringBlade (557322) on Friday August 03, 2007 @07:27AM (#20099191) Journal

    ...that undoubtedly business and politics are tangled together in a bed of money.

    Does this really come as a surprise that a change in regime would change the direction of a major initiative? I think we've seen this many times before, not the least of which being the Microsoft antitrust trial. When the old boss moves out, the new boss moves in, waves his hands, and changes the playing field yet again.

    *sigh*

    • When the old boss moves out, the new boss moves in, waves his hands, and changes the playing field


      I think you meant "...waves his new puppet's hands..."
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday August 03, 2007 @08:31AM (#20099599) Homepage Journal
      Ya gotta love government corruption! The bottom line here, folks, is that we're getting a view of exactly how ugly politics and business are here in the United States. Because the tech journals have been covering this topic under a microscope, we see what the true stripes of government look like, from our own geek perspectives.

      If you think it's just Microsoft, you're sadly mistaken. Most big corporations participate in this sort of shenanigans, and it plays into every law that gets passed and every candidate that gets elected.

      Not to worry too much, though. The revolution will come soon enough. (No, it won't be me starting it, nor do I know who it will be, so back off Carnivore/Echelon/whatever)
      • by donaldm (919619) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:18AM (#20100041)
        I don't think we can call this "government corruption" although we may like to believe it because this is a very serious charge and if proven and a conviction is made then someone is looking at a serious fine or jail time. Like it or not Microsoft or any viable company has to work within the constraints of the countries laws, however a powerful company also has a "group" of lawyers on retainer who will have insight into that countries laws and can use this knowledge to benefit that company without actually breaking the law.

        It may surprise many but many high level managers actually like and respect Microsoft and actually think they are doing the right thing to recommend Microsoft products. Most managers rarely look at the moral aspect of a company although in a twist many managers think that their company must be "a paragon of virtue" and employees are encouraged (well maybe told) to take "Standards of Business Conduct" courses within the organisation. I am quite sure that Microsoft insists their employees do this as well but when it comes to sales then as long as the law is not actually broken then to them this is "normal business practice" and "morals and integrity" fly out the window.

        I would hazard a guess that while Microsoft is worried about the adoption of Open Source around the world it would be pulling out all stops without actually breaking the law to prevent any US state or council from taking up Open Source. So it is not surprising to me that Massachusetts now has the "right" people pushing for a Microsoft "proprietry" Standard under the guise of being open. After all the people pushing for this may genuinely believe (cough!) they are doing the right thing.
        • Corruption (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Morosoph (693565)

          I don't think we can call this "government corruption" although we may like to believe it because this is a very serious charge and if proven and a conviction is made then someone is looking at a serious fine or jail time. Like it or not Microsoft or any viable company has to work within the constraints of the countries laws, however a powerful company also has a "group" of lawyers on retainer who will have insight into that countries laws and can use this knowledge to benefit that company without actually breaking the law.

          Corruption is entirely appropriate, because it is a moral, rather than a legal charge.

          Forcing out two capable employees that stood in Microsoft's way is clear subversion of supposedly representative government.

      • by gcatullus (810326)
        It isn't corruption, but it is an example of government making decisions based on what they have heard, and in politics a lot of money can buy you a lot of exposure. Politicians at best can be knowledgeable in maybe one or two subjects. They rely on their aids, industry and their constituents to tell them what they should be thinking on issues outside of their expertise. A vocal minority can have an impact, but it needs to be grassroots, loud, and focussed on a specific easily understood message. If everyon
      • If you think it's just Microsoft, you're sadly mistaken. Most big corporations participate in this sort of shenanigans, and it plays into every law that gets passed and every candidate that gets elected.

        M$, as the US Government noticed is a coercive monopoly. They have enjoyed a 36% ROI over the last ten years, an outrageous rate that dwarfs others big dumb companies like Exxon [theregister.co.uk].

        Every M$ victory is ammunition for the next fight. The methods and results are so obvious that people are indeed rebelling an [slashdot.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2007 @07:29AM (#20099203)
    is no substitute for actually getting up off your fat ass and voting and making your voice heard to the state governments?

    • by timeOday (582209)
      But open standards for state documents is not a campaign issue. I don't see how my vote has any influence over it.
      • by mh1997 (1065630)

        But open standards for state documents is not a campaign issue. I don't see how my vote has any influence over it.

        Budget, government efficiency, consumer choice are not campaign issues? Your vote has no influence unless you let your representatives know how you will use it...and then follow through at the next election. Then after the election let the winner and loser know why you voted for/against them.

        When enough people do that, real change will take place.

        • by compro01 (777531)
          Budget, government efficiency, consumer choice are not campaign issues?

          to a statistically significant percentage of the voting population, the answer appears to be "no".
        • The other reply to you has it right. The sad fact is, all of those IMPORTANT issues you mentioned fly right out the f---'n window as soon as one of the candidates says "gay marriage".

          I'm a MA resident, it's useless, the vast majority of the voting public here, just like all over the US, is mostly concerned with one or two polarizing issues that really do nothing to shape how the actual government will be run here. Open formats? Hah! I doubt even 2% of the people I see in a day know about the issue, let alo
          • by mgblst (80109)
            That is the difference between a Democracy and a Representative Republic. Being a republic gives huge amounts of powers to those who are elected. And minority issues like this are never really addressed.
      • by rbanffy (584143)
        It will be if you ask your candidates about their positions. It's not their fault not to have a position on something few people care about.
    • Actually, i'm sitting in Hungary where there was a recent raid against the local M$ crime gang. But, Slashdot users just fired cheap jokes about hungary/hungry.
    • by drawfour (791912)
      We're all waiting for Internet-based voting to become popular so we don't have to get off our fat asses. Then we won't vote using that because we'll bitch about how it's not secure and everything.
  • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bomanbot (980297) on Friday August 03, 2007 @07:36AM (#20099255)
    if you read TFA it says that they are including both ODF and Open XML as acceptable document formats.

    So while the original intention to only include really open formats is regrettably given up (curiously by an interim CIO, why does he decide that if he is only a temporary hire?), it is not like ODF got dumped for the Microsoft format.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JonathanR (852748)
      How else does he secure a job at M$ when his tenure is up?
    • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by visualight (468005) on Friday August 03, 2007 @08:23AM (#20099533) Homepage
      what?

      By including a non-open format they are locked in to MS products. Not being locked in was the point of the entire endeavor.
      • "Not being locked in was the point of the entire endeavor."

        I thought the point was to maintain the ability to comprehend documents years into the future by saving those documents in a public spec.

        Not to mention that the real point of the endeavor was to codify into law the use of a document built for OO.o's feature set, lacking the ability to handle MS's feature set, thereby prohibiting government use of MS's extra features. Basically, codify into law OO.o's feature set. OO.o can't compete with MS on feat
        • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ivan256 (17499) on Friday August 03, 2007 @11:40AM (#20102175)
          I thought the point was to guarantee access to documents without them being held for ransom by the company that owns the format...

          Yeah, Microsoft has a free reader, but they don't give away the platform you need to run it... Plus you can save documents in a way that is OOXML compliant, but can't be rendered using the information from the spec alone. That means, neither of the reasons that either of us gave are filled by Microsoft's format.
    • Comeon man, your ruin peoples perceptions, which i am pretty sure go a little something like this: The Microsoft guy strolls into the interimOs office with a wad of cash, waves his hand in the jedi mind trick motion, and says 'You will not reject OOXML' to which the response was 'I will not reject OOXML'.

      Oh wait, i was supposed to compare Microsoft to Darth Vader or something. So the Microsoft guy strolls into the office 'I find your lack of faith disturbing' then goes all Force Choke on him.

      Star wars

      • Someone is either locked-in to a specific vendor, or they are not. Sounds like zero sum to me.

    • by Vexorian (959249)
      Then it means open standards initiative has failed, so the summary and title are right, two standards is the most stupid thing ever done, congratulations Massachusetts!
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday August 03, 2007 @07:39AM (#20099273) Homepage
    ...if it's rejected as an ISO standard, there is plenty of room for rejecting the present acceptance.

    But that said, I am admittedly ignorant of any appeals or reapplication processes that Microsoft would undoubtedly pay... err, uh attempt.

    Nutrasweet was rejected multiple time until the company that makes it put someone into the FDA office that would approve it. ("No, we reject it because it's poison... we reject it because it's poison... oh okay, we no longer 'feel' it's poison...") OOXML was rejected by two or three parties in a position to do so (depending on how you count them) until finally, Microsoft got someone in office that they could bend to their will.

    This is "competition in the market place?!" This is "innovation!?"

    I'd like to hear from Microsoft apologists why they think this is an ethical and acceptable way to do business.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by debrain (29228)
      I'd like to hear from Microsoft apologists why they think this is an ethical and acceptable way to do business.

      I'm no MS apologist, but some might argue that this is "ethical" because the populace is too weak, uneducated, and disorganized to stand up and cry foul. A population that lacks the will to assert its rights neither deserves nor receives them. The masses, through their own ignorance, get what peanuts they deserve. And a company, through its successful organization and exertion of will over the publ
    • by aliquis (678370)
      Do you got a link/source/referense who tells the story about rejection and why? For NutraSweet that is.
      • by erroneus (253617)
        http://aspartamekills.com/ [aspartamekills.com]

        Dig around in there. You'll find some history about how it got approved. Would you believe that even in matters such as this, Donald Rumsfeld had something to do with it?

        Some people wouldn't be surprised, but I'm still awed how so many of these sorts of stories have so many of the same players involved.... so much so that it becomes increasingly difficult not to buy into conspiracies and such.
  • Fuck you, goddamn corrupt motherfuckers!
  • What can I say? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nutshell42 (557890)
    Money, money, money
    Must be funny
    In the rich man's world
    Money, money, money
    Always sunny
    In the rich man's world
    Aha-ahaaa
    All the things I could do
    If I had a little money
    It's a rich man's world.

    Lobbying: Providing the best government money can pay.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday August 03, 2007 @07:59AM (#20099367) Journal
    ... is that, this scrape has raised the profile and visibility of the importance of document formats and vendor lock. Many people in power are now more aware of these issues.

    How much can MSFT charge for MS-Office? It can price it just a shade under what it would cost you to switch to an alternative. Your switching cost determines the money you need to pay to MSFT. If a company wants to lower the money it pays, it has to lower the switching costs. Slowly ODF will gain acceptance.

    Also the ODF proponents should realize that the total money collected by MSFT is just 40 billion dollars. I say just because, for the amount of money corporate America is spending, it is not much. For most companies their core operation is transportation or retail or selling insurance or whatever. Compared to the health insurance, labour costs, office building maintenance and rent, advertising expenses, the amount they spend on Office software is a pittance. As long as MSFT keeps prices that low, it is difficult for ODF to gain traction.

    The switch will be very very gradual initially. First companies for whom office software costs is a significant portion of their operating expenses. Then slowly it will spread to other companies. We should not expect any quick victories. Then once the alternative formats have gained enough critical mass, and the backward compatibility issues have become less of an issue, there would be quick upsurge for ODF. But still MSFT will have a significant market share in office software for a long time to come.

    • Yeah, people in power will now ask for fatter bribes. But it won't change anything as we all eventually pay the microsoft tax.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jtheletter (686279)
      You make very good points about how the adoption of ODF might take place, the problem is your model assumes MS's position and influence remains static during all those steps, which it won't. We've seen that MS will lobby, lie, bribe, etc to get what it wants. At every step of your theoretical adoption chain MS will find ways to disrupt it further. Like you said, it's often about price for companies, but I don't doubt that if it came down to it MS would cannibalize some of its Office profits to keep its mon
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2007 @08:39AM (#20099653)
    Just yesterday I was sitting in the relevant meeting of SNV/UK14 (http://www.snv.ch/), that decides how Switzerland will vote. The chairman (Hans-Rudolf Thomann) explained the following rules:
    - we are here to create standards, not to reject them
    - if we reach consensus (>=75%) to vote for Microsoft, we will vote for Microsoft
    - if we only reach a majority (>=50%) to vote for Microsoft, we will vote for Microsoft
    - if we reach a majority to vote against Microsoft, we will vote for Microsoft
    - if we reach consensus to vote against Microsoft, we will abstain

    The present spin doctors of Microsoft and ECMA managed to convince Mr. Thomann to reject every serious technical and general concern we had regarding OOMXL by pointing to compatibility reasons. At the end we had a majority _against_ Microsoft but which (giving the unfair rules) results in a Swiss vote _for_ Microsoft. Mr. Thomann was fretting and fuming at the end of the meeting how it can be that successful international companies (we had representatives from IBM, Google, ...) vote against the best interest of their customers and theirself!

    Yes, this is how the democratic system at SNV / ISO works. After the meeting I could not eat as much as I wanted to puke...

    Posted as AC for obvious reasons
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Benanov (583592)
      Don't tell us. Tell NoOOXML.org.

      I think this sort of thing needs to be brought into the bright spotlight and the corruption exposed.

  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Friday August 03, 2007 @08:53AM (#20099791) Homepage
    OK, so they allow the use of either ODF or Open XML - at least simple programs can extract text and style data form both formats. I blogged recently about how I prefer ODF, and included a little Ruby program to process ODF files:

    http://markwatson.com/blog/2007/05/why-odf-is-bett er-than-microsofts.html [markwatson.com]

    and one of my readers pointed out that by changing a line or two of my code, that Open XML could be processed in the same way - I stand corrected.

    Still, I am a member of the ODF Foundation, and don't like Microsoft's heavy handed actions. I sold all of my Microsoft stock a few years ago specifically because I did not like their proprietary file format lockins. I use both Open Source and proprietary software - I have no problem with people (including myself) buying Microsoft products except for their use of proprietary formats: hurts users and could cause expensive data loss now and in the future.

    If Microsoft perfectly supported ODF in their release of Mac Office next year, I would buy a copy - but slap on plugins don't count here: I would require perfect native support.
    • by dpilot (134227)
      >and one of my readers pointed out that by changing a line or two of my code, that Open XML could be
      >processed in the same way - I stand corrected.

      Then let's watch him do it. The objections to OOXML center around that fact that it's not really open, and that the significant information is buried in blobs and cruft.

      IMHO the real task is to put tools out there to access and manipulate ODF data, making life easier for people. Then let the challenge become getting the equivalent done with OOXML. That's re
  • by Arccot (1115809) on Friday August 03, 2007 @09:00AM (#20099855)
    It's sad so many people instantly think "corruption" when the government makes a decision they don't agree with. Isn't it possible Microsoft made a better case for their standard? A decision like this is like a civil court case, the person with the best argument wins.

    Of the top of my head, I can think of a few reasons lawmakers (from their perspective) might want to use Microsoft's standard before any others:

    1. Microsoft is a very large, very well known company. They will be around for a very long time to support any of their formats.

    2. Microsoft creates a lot of jobs.

    3. Most government offices use Microsoft Office on Microsoft Windows for word processing, so Microsoft is the best format to use since the government is already integrated with their products.

    This is probably what the politicians were thinking about, and from that perspective, Microsoft looks like the right choice. Most decisions in government are not bought and sold, they are negotiated based on the better argument.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lilomar (1072448)

      Microsoft looks like the right choice. Most decisions in government are not bought and sold, they are negotiated based on the better argument.
      Mod parent Funny!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nagora (177841)
      Most decisions in government are not bought and sold, they are negotiated based on the better argument.

      This must be the single funniest thing ever posted on /. What a wonderful utopia it evokes!

      TWW

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)
      Considering that the basic sequence here was....

      1) The technical expert in Mass makes a technical desicsion based on business requirements.
      2) Microsoft complains because it's not in their interests.
      3) Politicians start to meddle on Microsoft's behalf
      4) The original technical expert is fired by the politicians.
      5) Microsoft gets his way.

      What could possibly NOT be corrupt about that?

      Mass. is a BIG customer with certain business requirements. The vendor (Microsoft) should be bending over backwards to do what th
    • That's why the majority of people in the US still travel by rail and use AT&T phone service, right?

      1. The Pennsylvania Railroad (or insert your favorite) is a very large, very well known company. They will be around for a very long time to support any of their formats (passenger and freight service).

      2. They create a lot of jobs

      3. Most government offices travel by rail (or they did), so rail travel is the best format to use since the government is already integrated with their products.

      That would still
    • by dvice_null (981029) on Friday August 03, 2007 @11:38AM (#20102143)
      > 2. Microsoft creates a lot of jobs.

      That is true. Anti-virus companies, marketing people, help desk, lots of system admins. But on the other hand, you can also create a lot of jobs by simply throwing rocks at windows and breaking them. Manufacturing new windows, transporting it and installing it will create a lot of jobs. Yet people seem to think that breaking windows is not a good thing. The reason for this is, that if the people wouldn't have to repair the broken windows, they could do some other work, that might help the society more.

      It is the same with Microsoft products. Sure it will generate a lot of jobs, but the same job could be done with less manpower by using the free alternatives. These resources could then be used for something else.

      In other words: We could use the money now spent on marketing by the Microsoft, into making better software.

      > 3. Most government offices use Microsoft Office on Microsoft Windows for word processing, so Microsoft is the best format to use since the
      > government is already integrated with their products.

      In other words: They are locked in to Microsoft products. And they can keep it that way. Or suffer now and be free in the future.
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)
      You're arguing for an implementation, not a standard. That's often lost in this. Once MS Office properly handles ODF, many of these arguments fall by the wayside. If ODF became the standard, you can bet Microsoft would support it - them being customer-driven and all that.
    • by spitzak (4019)
      3. Most government offices use Microsoft Office on Microsoft Windows for word processing, so Microsoft is the best format to use since the government is already integrated with their products.

      Unless you are a shill, you have fallen for the #1 piece of FUD they have produced. You seem to believe that there is some technical obstacle so that it is impossible to use ODF with a Microsoft product, that somehow it is physically impossible to use Microsoft Word without using a format designed by Microsoft.

      This is
  • In the article is clearly states:

    Therefore, we will be moving forward to include both ODF and Open XML as acceptable document formats.


    The Open Standards initiative didn't "Fail" it became more open (IMO). Including both formats and letting users choose seems quite reasonable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      hello? we're talking about standards here. choice is the wrong things. choice is bad. let me explain why.

      what happens if a large company suggests that we don't just measure capacitance in farrad but also in #madeUpNameOfNewUnit? what's the point? people would have to learn, adopt and support it, all of which costs money and muddies the issue.

      odf is already the standard for document exchange. we don't need and shouldn't have a second one.

      if you combine this with the fact that you are not free to sup
      • by DRJlaw (946416)
        hello? we're talking about standards here. choice is the wrong things. choice is bad. let me explain why.

        what happens if a large company suggests that we don't just measure capacitance in farrad but also in #madeUpNameOfNewUnit? what's the point? people would have to learn, adopt and support it, all of which costs money and muddies the issue.

        odf is already the standard for document exchange. we don't need and shouldn't have a second one.


        So you support the United States in its refusal to adopt the metric sys
      • ODF is based on OO.o 1.0's proprietary XML format. As such, it has no moral high ground to claim that it's a perfect app-neutral format. Now, being based on OO.o's previous XML format, that means that ODF is essnetially OO.o 2.0's format. Others may choose to imlement it, but make no mistake, this is OO.o 2.0's format, not an app-neutral format.

        What governments want, isn't ODF, it's for the office suite that they choose to use to support a publicly specified format (so document archives are presereved).
    • Including both formats and letting users choose seems quite reasonable.

      In this case, the standards process was to be about government storage, retrieval, and disbursement of documents. Mr. Quinn tried to move MA to support a single open standard with guaranteed longevity. This was *not* about individual users, who are always free to choose whichever standard or product they desire.

      Having two choices of document format muddies the water more than a bit. Now, different government agencies in MA can choose to
  • No matter how disappointing, it's not really surprising. Elected representatives aren't famous either for understanding technology or for being independent of commercial pressures.
  • MS is buying American politicians to get this done. But the world is moving in the opposite direction. Once they are on a different standard, it will make life difficult and more expensive for America. It is the exact same issue as metric vs. emperial measurements. It destroys our productivity.
  • Ok, so FOSS lost a high profile case to commercial software & govt's can be persuaded by deep pockets. On the one hand, nothing to see here, move along... On the other hand, it could be taken as an indication of the state of things & an inspiration to advance things further. The fact that this particular case went on so long says a lot about how close FOSS has come to being a viable alternative to commercial solutions (especially when it had to pass before a, theoretically, discriminatory state appr
  • Lol. Where (I ask again) do I buy the tinfoil franchise for Slashdot?

    To put this in perspective: for all but a tiny fraction of the time there's been a computer industry, the file formats used by major applications have been proprietary and the common formats, where they exist, are "interchange formats" like ascii and comma-delimited. The industry has thrived nonetheless.

    The two top word processors are Word and Wordperfect—they read and write each others' formats and provide free stand-alone readers

  • So in other words, they just pushed out Office 2007 because they got a hell of a deal for some odd reason, now everybody is sending files back and forth using Microsoft's new proprietary file format, and they figure "hey we are already using this new format everywhere now so let's just make it the official standard".

    And the Solaris Sunray workstations get carted off because OpenOffice.org can not open all those XLSX and DOCX files. And let's not even talk about where the handful of Macs went.
  • So Massachusetts has been bought off again.

    And this is news why...?

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