Massachusetts has a new state policy that requires state agencies to use an "Open Document" format in their business applications. Not surprisingly, propriety software giant Microsoft has filed complaints with the state concerning the policy.

Back in 2003, the Massachusetts Office of Administration and Finance directed the state agencies to look at open source and open document applications instead of relying on a single software vendor to supply office software. Microsoft issued a 15 page memo, and in it Microsoft's general manager Alan Yates lamented, "Were this proposal to be adopted, the significant costs incurred by the Commonwealth, its citizens, and the private sector would be matched only by the levels of confusion and incompatability that would result from the fact that the OpenDocument format is such a nascent and immature format." Wow, what a mouthful!

I personally have made the switch from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice, a product developed by I can read in the Microsoft materials just fine, and save to them if necessary. Matter of fact, I find that most people prefer that I send them attachments as a PDF document, something that OpenOffice does automagically without the separate Acrobat publisher. Granted, I cannot optimize to the levels of Adobe's product, I can get a PDF off quickly and accurately with one mouse click.

I plan on installing OpenOffice for my Grandma soon, and as wonderful as her cookies and needlepoint work are, she is the pinnicle of computer confusion. We'll see about Yate's confusion claim.

Recommended Answers

All 4 Replies

Anti-competitive measure in the extreme. Effectively reduces the choice of software to a single package, OpenOffice.
And that's of course what it's designed to do, the Demokratik Peoples' Republik of Massachessets has set out on an anti-Microsoft fatwah several years ago and this is the culmination.


Well, you also have K office out there, and I think there is AbiWord, and a few other things. I do not believe OpenOffice is the only one out there. I have worked with OpenOffice and do like it, but I am sure there are others.

The only thing I have not found a solid solution for is Access.


And do those support that document format to any reasonable degree? Didn't think so...


To be honest, I don't know. Again, nothing prevents an export to .pdf for crossplatform viewing. And nothing prevents going with one package across an office. If everyone decides to use AbiWord, then there is no problem.


Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, networking, learning, and sharing knowledge.