Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Dec 2005 18:03 UTC, submitted by Andy Updegrove
Features, Office "I'm very sorry to report that Peter Quinn, the CIO of Massachusetts who has been at the center of a controversy relating to his efforts at the Information Technology Division to adopt the OpenDocument format for the use of the Commonwealth's Executive Agencies, has resigned."
Thread beginning with comment 78750
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Hah
by makfu on Tue 27th Dec 2005 19:55 UTC in reply to "Hah"
makfu
Member since:
2005-12-18

I doubt Microsoft had a lot (if anything) to do with this. Having worked in government organizations in the past, it is generally not a good idea to attempt activism, technology or otherwise, in a unilateral fashion. This is exactly what many in the government of Massachusetts are claiming Peter Quinn attempted.

Open standards are a good idea, but this guy should have worked the political aspects of his campaign for ODF a lot more carefully. He may have been long on vision, but he was short on political acumen.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Hah
by on Tue 27th Dec 2005 20:03 in reply to "RE: Hah"
Member since:

nicely stated. I work for the MA DOC and there are policies in place where if you have to talk to the public you must go through an approved mouthpiece. This makes sense since you can't have everyone claiming they speak for a certain organization. The result would be chaos. This guy got caught in that chaos and probably it was suggested he resign instead of being fired. That is what they usually do to you.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Hah
by on Tue 27th Dec 2005 20:33 in reply to "RE: Hah"
Member since:

You should look up the facts about how MA reached a decision (to mandate ODF and PDF, and to decline MS XML and MS Office Open XML), and how all of a sudden mud flew really deep.

The only one who could have been interested in that mud throwing was Microsoft, and in fact ALL opponent "grass roots" nonprofits of the decision have been found to be payed substantial money by Microsoft, with the notable exception of the accessibility guys. In other words, astroturfing was used by MS to create the false image of a public who felt left out by that decision.

Activism was not being attempted by Quinn or anybody else in that office, they clearly stated what level of openness they needed to be able to provide proper service to the public, and Microsoft refused to meet that level of openness for several months (if recent changes are enough remains to be seen). Conclusively the ODF format has been accepted, and the MS Office Open XML format has not been accepted.
It just happened, that Quinn had to make a decision which was not compatible to Microsofts business interests, but I do not see a problem with that, Quinn works for MA, not MS.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Hah
by on Tue 27th Dec 2005 22:36 in reply to "RE[2]: Hah"
Member since:

Activism was not being attempted by Quinn or anybody else in that office, they clearly stated what level of openness they needed to be able to provide proper service to the public, and Microsoft refused to meet that level of openness for several months (if recent changes are enough remains to be seen). Conclusively the ODF format has been accepted, and the MS Office Open XML format has not been accepted.


Oh, give it a rest. Jeez, you FOSS guys seem to think that people that utter morons. Quinn et al certainly DID embrace activism on the part of OASIS to get ODF adopted as the standard interchange file format of Massachusetts. His basic problem is that he overlooked or ignored the requirements of state agencies, relating to accessibility, security, cost, etc. He hand-waved these concerns as if they didn't matter at all. THAT is the reason that Quinn screwed himself. If he had gotten the various state agencies together and sought their approval -- regardless of whether the outcome was ODF or MS -- he would have kept his job.

Let this be a lesson to any CIO in any organization: Do not try to force change down the throats of people without evaluating their requirements carefully. That is a fundamental responsibility of any CIO -- not playing politics with document formats. Which is essentially what Quinn did, and it cost him big-time.

As for FOSS supporters blaming MS for astroturfing them, you only have yourselves to blame. If you could have answered the requirements put forth by the state agencies before the decision was made, this would be a non-issue. But you can't. ODF falls short in a lot of ways. In typical FOSS fashion, you blame MS rather than look at your own shortcomings and address them.

But look on the bright side: You were successful in getting MS to open up its XML license. You elevated awareness of the ODF format. And you pointed out the need for organizations to have long-term data stability and recoverability plans. All of these things will contribute to making the desktop Office environment a friendlier place for data storage.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Hah
by segedunum on Wed 28th Dec 2005 01:01 in reply to "RE: Hah"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

This is exactly what many in the government of Massachusetts are claiming Peter Quinn attempted.

Which means he was pushed. You don't claim anything. I take it no one gets accused of activism over Microsoft Office?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Hah
by segedunum on Wed 28th Dec 2005 01:02 in reply to "RE: Hah"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

This is exactly what many in the government of Massachusetts are claiming Peter Quinn attempted.

Which means he was pushed. You don't claim anything. I take it no one gets accused of activism over Microsoft Office?

Double post - apologies. Dodgy network.

Edited 2005-12-28 01:03

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Hah
by on Wed 28th Dec 2005 07:01 in reply to "RE: Hah"
Member since:

Also the document format wasn't mature and in the wild yet so he could simply point out how everybody else is using it now-a-days. Case in point Apache, MySQL, Firefox and Linux. I'm sure Mass. will one day use OpenDocument, but probably after we all adopt it on our home boxes and workstations.

Reply Parent Score: 0