Dear Linux Magazine Reader,

The State of Massachusetts has decided to require open file formats for office applications.

The move, it seems, could have the effect of driving Microsoft Office out of official state business. The state has thrown its support behind OpenDocument, an XML-based system that will appear in 2.0. It would not make sense to recount the whole discussion, but suffice it to say that many onlookers who don’t usually comment on this kind of thing were genuinely confused. Even if you like open formats, why would you place such a large investment in a standard that just appeared and is only implemented in applications that are still in beta? But as always, the high-volume rhetoric drowned out the real issue.

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