Massachusetts CIO Change Worries ODF Supporters

Massachusetts keeps saying that it will be using the Open Document Format in government offices by 2007, but there's still no IT budget. (Linux-Watch)

Massachusetts has a problem. The Commonwealth cant keep its CIO or pass an IT budget. Louis Gutierrez, the of CIO Massachusetts Information Technology Division, resigned earlier this week. Does this mean the end of the states pioneering ODF rollout?

First lets look at why Gutierrez is leaving.

As he said in his resignation letter, its because, "IT innovation in Massachusetts state government ran out of steam in August, when the legislature closed its formal session without action on the IT and facilities bond. I am presiding over the dismantling of an IT investment program—over a decade in the evolution—that the legislative leadership appears unwilling to salvage at this time."

This is widely seen as a blow to open standards. In particular, this wont do the planned rollout of the Open Document Format for state use in January 2007 any good.

The use of ODF has been a controversial subject in Massachusetts for over a year now. Peter Quinn, Gutierrezs predecessor as CIO, resigned on Jan. 9 because of personal attacks based in part on his support for ODF.

While Massachusetts is theoretically still switching to ODF for its official documents, without a budget to implement the change, its hard to see it happening.

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