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Monday, September 19, 2005

Microsoft, Massachusetts , Standards & Future

Nicholas carr writes that the adoption of OpenDocument as a standard is just one element of the state's ambitious plan. He points to the state's Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM), through which the state aims to make a transition "from siloed, application-centric and agency-centric information technology investments to an enterprise approach where applications are designed to be flexible, to take advantage of shared and reusable components, to facilitate the sharing and reuse of data where appropriate and to make the best use of the technology infrastructure that is available." He thinks that Massachusetts is doing the right thing in coming to grips with the problems inherent in the current model of organizational computing. Putting off the pain of adopting a better approach to managing information technology and digital data will only make the pain worse. The state has clearly given a great deal of thought to its plan, and it should see it through. Microsoft has said that it will not make its Office applications compatible with the OpenDocument format. He concludes that as a private company, it has every right to make that decision. What it doesn't have is the right to impose its interests on a government body - or, for that matter, on anyone else.
Microsoft's response to state's draft standard and related queries are available here. The states format is available here. John udell writing on the issue points out that the
The wizards of the future
will be services that live mainly in the network, that receive and emit fairly simple XML formats, and that perform local processing (when needed) using portable run-time environments. Compound documents, embedded objects, and specialized data type editors are ancient ideas, these would be painted on a universal canvas not on a windows or a mac canvas. He adds, compound documents are no longer the static files they used to be.They’re as likely to be dynamic query results drawn from a collection of data sources. While it is great that Microsoft will make its XML formats the default for Office 12, and will enable legacy versions to read and write them. This move will open up vast reservoirs of content for search and recombination. OpenOffice.org is also maturing. The world needs a good alternative to Microsoft’s word processor and spreadsheet. But arguing about whose XML format should be the office document standard feels awfully retro., but it may be time for reinventing the office suite for a networked world - I totally agree .

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"