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OpenDocument Format Legislation: Testimony to the Texas House and Senate

by Bob Sutor, Open Blog

This is the text for the testimony I delivered to both the Texas House and Senate this last Monday, March 24, 2007... "Good afternoon/evening, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. IBM supports this bill. This bill is about the future, increased competition and innovation, and about more choice for Texas. It is completely consistent with the technological and intellectual property directions of the software industry.

The current file formats for how you save office document used by most of you and your citizens are based on technology and practices from the 70s, 80s, and 90s when some companies locked customers into their products and upgrades. This is not acceptable today. When you and your citizens are effectively restricted to a single software supplier to access government information, you and they pay what I would consider taxes. Open standards avoid this...

The first tax is the difference between what you must pay to that supplier vs. the lower cost if multiple suppliers existed and prices had to be competitive. You would also pay an innovation tax. The sole vendor has limited reasons to improve the product. Fresh ideas from new players such as Texan entrepreneurs are kept out of the product category...

In closing, the world is shifting to non-proprietary open standards based on the amazing success of the World Wide Web, a success that was far more important than any single vendor's market position or ideas for what was right for the world. We can do this again but we need to do it with care. Texas is in a position to demonstrate to its citizens and the world that this success is repeatable and that it intends to be a leader. Texas can show that the phrase 'open standard' means more than what a corporate marketing department says it is..." Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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