NY Doc Formats Study Released
In 2007, several states, including California, New York, Texas, and Minnesota, considered bills that would mandate the use of open standard file formats and network protocols wherever possible. Thanks to interference from Microsoft and its channel partners, these bills were derailed in every state.
In New York, they agreed to study the issue and issue a report and recommendations. The report is out. In reading it, it reflects the delicate political balance between the needs and interests of citizens (open standards and vendor-neutrality, not using multiple formats for similar functions) and vendors (formats supported by the products they sell, use of exclusive features that are not replicated in competing software) and by extension politicians (appear to support the interests of their citizens, while backing political contributors’ interests).
In the office document formats space, their recommendation is not to decide on either the interests of openness (i.e., OpenDocument Format, as implemented by StarOffice/OpenOffice, KOffice, etc.) or the interests of politicians and vendors (i.e., keeping the money flowing to Microsoft). In effect, it is a decision to hand the decision to MSFT piecemeal, since managers and purchasing agents will likely throw the citizens off the boat in order to save their vendor relationships.
However, there is other news that could again tip the balance toward ODF and other open standard formats.
Thanks to Bob Sutor, a resident of New York, for the tip.
UPDATE: Groklaw weighs in.