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Re: [K12OSN] OT: Required use of IE by State DOE

You might mention the legislation pending in MN, CA, and TX, not to mention MA, which requires all state agencies to standardize on Open Document Format (ODF). Their purpose is not to push MS applications out of gov't. Rather, the bills are recognition that a state, for reasons of sovereignty, cannot and should not have its documents in a format that is controlled by a private vendor. It isn't that DE should adopt ODF (although that would be good, too), but rather to point out that the trend is AWAY from proprietary interfaces, to open vendor-neutral standards. Then ask the question, why is DE actively moving backwards in this area?

Petre (who can't seem to shutup about this topic, much to his wife's frustration)

David Hopkins wrote:

Thanks, I was afraid that it would end up on this route. I contacted my state Senator and (old) Representative last year (they live 7 and 4 houses away, respectively), but even when told that adopting a different approach to IT could save 50% plus in IT costs (with data to back it up), and also provide a better (more rounded?) IT education to students, they still said that they needed to defer to the experts (State DOE, CIO) on these decisions. I now have a new Rep (about 1 mile away) after last fall's election, so I will contact him and see if he is more willing to question the status quo. Of course, this is the same House and Senate that passed sunshine laws which apply to everyone except themselves (specifically exempted themselves in the law).

Dave Hopkins

On 3/15/07, *Peter Scheie* <peter scheie homedns org <mailto:peter scheie homedns org>> wrote:

    This is a long route, but I don't know that there's an
    alternative.  Get to know your
    local state reps.  Explain how IE-only plans of the DOE will shut
    out ALL the Macs in
    schools, since IE isn't being maintained for Mac any more, how the
    modern approach is to
    code to open standards so people are not locked into specific
    vendor's products.  Remind
    those reps that 20 years ago, all the various mail services--Sprint,
    CompuServe, AOL,
    etc.--were proprietary and didn't talk to each other.  The Internet
    changed all that,
    and that's why it stomped those proprietary services.  The DOE's
    approach is a reversion
    back to proprietary approaches that don't do the job.  Get the reps
    to understand that
    the DOE's strategy will end up costing the schools MORE money
    because they'll have to
    buy expensive equipment (Windows boxes) just to accomodate the DOE's

    Then ask the reps to help the DOE adopt a more open approach, e.g.,
    something that
    complies with W3C standards rather than just accomodating one vendor.

    (There's an idea brewing here: Having government officials say they
    have great
    connections with a private business, such as your CIO has done,
    reminds me of the line
    from Styx's "Too much time on my hands": "I've got dozens of friends
    and the fun never
    ends, that is, as long as I'm buying".  Government shouldn't really
    have close ties to
    any vendors.  Private businesses, sure, they can have ties with
    whoever they want, they
    have no obligation to be neutral.  But government is
    different.  Unfortunately, it
    sounds like your CIO doesn't quite grasp that.  Who *doesn't* have
    good ties to their
    vendors?  The vendors are supposed to be your 'servants', although
    there's a price.)


    David Hopkins wrote:
     > All,
     > This is off-topic, but apparently the DOE for Delaware is developing
     > software (paying for the development) which will require the use
    of IE
     > in order to be used.  When asked why, the response is typically
    of the
     > form 'because that is what we want'.  Now, this is going to
    impact the
     > use of K12LTSP (or the adoption of anything that is not MS-centric).
     > So, has anyone come up with a legal requirement that would make
     > requiring the use of a specific browser by a specific vendor on the
     > vendor's hardware illegal?  I don't see how Section 508 can be
    used to
     > get around this, but perhaps someone on the list knows something.
     > Delaware is a very very very MS-centric approach to IT.  In fact,
     > Delaware CIO boasts about the close ties of Delaware and MS.  He was
     > formally the Verizon lobbyist to the state.
     > We are a small enough state (2 degrees of separation for most people)
     > that if there is something questionable about the proposed
    approach, it
     > can be changed but only with really good reasons.
     > Sincerely,
     > Dave Hopkins
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