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Oregon Bill Mandates Open Source For Public Docs

March 29, 2007

Computerworld magazine reports that Oregon (my home state, BTW) has joined three other states that are considering legislation to mandate the use of open document formats for public documents and records.

Texas, California and Minnesota are also set to debate such a policy.

In Oregon, the effort takes the persona of House Bill 2920. Backed by Oregon State Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), the bill would direct state government agencies, all public libraries in Oregon, as well as the state library, to use open document formats "when practicable.

Computerworld's Eric Lai appears to have read the bill. His read is that Rep. Buckley's measure seems to favor " the use of free, open-source software such as OpenOffice and its native format, Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF), than do pending proposals in other states."

And it isn't only the documents that would be required to be written in open-source. Libraries would be directed to install and maintain freeware so that the public can read, print, and make copies of public documents- as long as such libraries would not "incur additional administrative or operational expenses" in doing so.

Lai notes that other states’ proposals mandate the use of open XML-based formats but do not specify the use of free software.

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