[ubuntu-us-mn] Chance to influence the state IT department

Sam Holle sam.holle at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 19:41:27 BST 2007

the state has been considering going ODF for awhile.  Our lobbying efforts
could certainly help them make the right decision.

Minnesota Considers Mandatory Use Of ODF

It's another state battle that pits Microsoft's proprietary Office software
on one side against supporters of the OpenDocument Format on the other.

By W. David Gardner,   TechWeb
 April 7, 2006
URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=184429732

  A bill "requiring state agencies to use open
has been introduced in the Minnesota state legislature.

The legislation opens a second front in an ongoing battle over open
standards and proprietary software that has pitted Microsoft's proprietary
office software on one side against supporters of OpenDocument
on the other.

Neither Microsoft nor ODF are mentioned in the bill, but the legislation
could draw the two sides into a new battle, which has been waged for several
months in the state of
The Massachusetts state government has said it will require the use of ODF
beginning in 2007, but state officials have also indicated they could look
favorably on Microsoft's Office 2007 when the software is ready.

The Minnesota Open Data Formats Bill, House
was introduced on March 27. Co-sponsor Representative Paul Thissen did not
immediately respond to calls and e-mail messages.

Andrew Updegrove, an attorney supporting open formats, said the bill's
definitions would be conducive to open
of open standards. "The debate over open formats will now be
ongoing in two U.S. states rather than one," he said in an e-mail. "If two
states successfully adopt and implement open data format policies, other
states will be more inclined to follow."

Updegrove said he had been informed that a consortium of Minnesota
businesses and citizens is supporting the legislation.

Minnesota's Office of Enterprise Technology (OET) and the state's chief
information officer would be charged with implementing the legislation,
which hasn't yet been introduced in the Minnesota state senate.

The legislation proposes the use of open data formats throughout the
agencies of the state government's executive branch.

Specifically, the bill states:

"The development of this information
include the establishment of standards and guidelines to be followed
state agencies…

 "The standards and guidelines much emphasize uniformity that is
cost-effective for the enterprise, that encourages information interchange,
open systems environments, and portability of information whenever

 "The office (OET) shall assist state agencies to avoid the purchase or
creation of data
or systems that do not comply with open standards for the accessing,
storing, or transferring of data…"

The bill calls for the establishment of an Internet site to make available
documentation on open data formats. The legislation also proposes that in
some circumstances open data formats would not be required.

On 10/10/07, Songwind <songwind at gmail.com> wrote:
> Check here for info on the state study of document formats.  If you have
> anything to say, or would like to steer our government toward open document
> formats, now is your chance.
> Comments are open until October 15th.
> http://www.state.mn.us/portal/mn/jsp/content.do?id=-536890646&subchannel=null&sc2=null&sc3=null&contentid=536914914&contenttype=EDITORIAL&programid=536914930&agency=OETweb
> --
> Emerging slowly into light as I awaken from my longest night.
> Public PGP key: F1BC60E6
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