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California Open File Formats Bill Introduced

Computerworld writes California may join rush of states toward ODF.

“A California legislator last Friday introduced a bill that would mandate the use of open, XML-based document file formats by the state government starting next January. It is the third such state-level legislation to be introduced this month.”

This follows Massachusetts’ move to ODF (not by a state law, but by a decision of its IT agency), and bills introduced in Minnesota and Texas to adopt an open format for state agencies as well.

“Like the other two measures, the bill in the California Assembly doesn’t list any specific document formats that could be used. But as in Minnesota and Texas, the introduction of such a bill appears to be another potential win for backers of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) for Office Applications.”

If you put these four states on a map, you’ve got the compass points covered: Massachusetts in the East, Minnesota in the North, Texas in the South, and California in the West. We just need to fill the in-betweens!

Also, California is the most populous state (37 million people, more than 12% of the entire USA), and Texas is second (24 million people, about 8% of the US population), meaning that a large number of Americans will be affected by these bills.

Further, California, Massachusetts and Texas contain important high technology nodes; where they pioneer tech issues, other states are likely to follow along.

Any way you slice it, this is good news for open formats, ODF, and data liberation! It is bringing the entire country very close to the digital tipping point.

Also see a post on Andy Updegrove’s Standards Blog for more information and analysis:

“It was 18 months ago that Massachusetts began this trend, when its Information Technical Division revised the Enterprise Technical Resource Model (ETRM) upon which its IT procurement is based.┬áThat revision not only required open standards and welcomed open source in its procurement, but also blessed an open document format standard called OpenDocument Format, or ODF.┬áSince then, government procurement based on open standards in general, and the role of ODF in particular, have been very much in the spotlight.”

One Response to “California Open File Formats Bill Introduced”

  1. This Just In! California Joins The Race « Opportunity Knocks Says:
    February 28th, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    […] Update: Benjamin Horst of Solid Office also has information from a ComputerWorld article.  Link to California bill: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_1651-1700/ab_1668_bill_20070223_introduced.html. […]