The state of Massachusetts has approved Microsoft’s Open XML format for state documents. Some of you may remember there was quite a fight over the state’s decision to adopt the OASIS ODF (Open Document Format) backed by Sun and IBM a couple of years ago. The decision excluded XML output from Microsoft because they controlled it.

We covered much of the controversy here, and in our conferences where we hosted a few debates. Our opinion hasn’t changed. Here is a statement from the State’s IT Division website on their official position:

The Commonwealth continues on its path toward open, XML-based document formats without reflecting a vendor or commercial bias in ETRM v4.0. Many of the comments we received identify concerns regarding the Open XML specification. We believe that these concerns, as with those regarding ODF, are appropriately handled through the standards setting process, and we expect both standards to evolve and improve. Moreover, we believe that the impact of any legitimate concerns raised about either standard is outweighed substantially by the benefits of moving toward open, XML-based document format standards. Therefore, we will be moving forward to include both ODF and Open XML as acceptable document formats.

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