Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Whole World's Watching

In case you have missed it…the Eyes of the World are on Massachusetts…Well, at least the Technology eyes. Massachusetts recently became the first state to adopt a plan for government agencies to begin storing documents in a non-proprietary format. Currently, most state computers run Microsoft software (proprietary) as does most of the world…Free "open-source" software is available online to anyone from Sun Microsystems…and it is compatible with all other office programs. This "open-source" software is called OpenDocument and offers applications such as text, spreadsheets, charts and graphical documents. Open-source is in direct competition with propriety software. If Massachusetts follows through on its plan to go open-source it means removing Microsoft Office software from tens of thousands of government computers. Governor Romney’s plan is to embrace an open-source format for state government computers in 2007. How big would this be?…well let me say this…Google News displays articles about this topic from news sources as far away as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Australia and …of course Redmond, Washington (home of Microsoft). To steal a phase from the 1960’s “the whole world’s watching”…but, it appears Microsoft is up for the battle…the computer giant has decided to seek approval for Office 12 software to be rated as an international standard. Office 12 is Microsoft’s next generation of office software due out next year. It will use a different format and be readable by other “outside” programs… in other words it will function like an open-source, non-proprietary software. Massachusetts’ decision will have a huge impact on the computer world…but for now “the whole world’s watching” …and waiting.

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