Politics Hinders Open Standards in the Public Sector: The Massachusetts Open Document Format Decision

Politics Hinders Open Standards in the Public Sector: The Massachusetts Open Document Format Decision

Adenekan Dedeke (Northeastern University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2009010105
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Abstract

In 2003, Eric Kriss, of the Executive Office of the Governor of Massachusetts, advised all employees that the Executive Branch would begin a transition of its information technology resources into open standards. The intent of the plan was the standardization of the IT infrastructure and the improvement of interoperability across agencies. The Executive Office later extended the open standards policy to electronic documents. In the quest to make documents accessible across agencies, Open Document Format (ODF) was declared to be the preferred format for storing data. This decision provoked a serious conflict between Microsoft and the Executive Branch after it became clear that proprietary open document formats, such as the one that was being offered by Microsoft, were declared to be unacceptable. This case explores the decisions that the champions made, the role that politics played in the process and the impact of these decisions on the ODF implementation.

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