Commonwealth Senate Meets on Holloween
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight meets today on Beacon Hill to check whether the Information Technology Division's (ITD) process for declaring the OpenDocument file format policy went above board.
Senators Marc Pacheco (Democrat - Taunton) and the Secretary of State William Galvin (Democrat) convene the Committee to ensure that an important vendor to the Commonwealth has been treated fairly and whether or not The Commonwealth is incurring undue costs or creating problems through the OpenDocument policy.
It should be noted that lawmakers everywhere -- particularly lawmakers of the Opposition party (the administration of Governor Mitt Romney is Republican) -- hold it their solemn duty to make sure agencies of their government act appropriately, legally and according to the interests of the citizenry. Massachusetts in this regard is no different from any state or our own Federal government, and individuals who are interested in the OpenDocument conversation may see clearly that this vetting process of the policy decisions of The Commonwealth ITD has the potential to reinforce a decision that has technical, economic as well as political merit.
On the point of the merit of OpenDocument, Bob Sutor, IBM's VP of Standards and Open Source, filed a letter to the Committee on Saturday which covers all the points thoroughly...
- IBM's long and extensive comitment to Accessibility;
- costs of migration to a new standard need to factor the anticipated disruptive costs of change to the incumbent vendor's technology, too;
- the OpenDocument standard is good for procurement and fosters a guaranteed freedom of action and competition that we have not experienced on the desktop since usage of the Internet has gone mainstream;
- additional rousing points along the lines of 'Your data belongs to you!'
Senator Pacheco and Mr Galvin have not been clear about the reasons for their opposition to the OpenDocument policy. It is all the more puzzling that, in general, Democrat representatives and Democrat citizens alike tend to align strongly with the personal empowerment that results from open standards being widely deployed in software. Thus Messers Pacheco & Galvin find themselves on the wrong side of an issue that is deeply entrenched within their own party's ostensible platform. The hearing today will tell and, if merit speaks, it will consolidate the general confidence in the good sense behind ITD's courageous leadership on information policy.