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

Peter Scheie peter at scheie.homedns.org
Thu Mar 15 17:12:26 UTC 2007

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:
> Peter,
> 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).
> Sincerely,
> Dave Hopkins
> On 3/15/07, *Peter Scheie* <peter at scheie.homedns.org 
> <mailto:peter at 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
>     shortsightedness.
>     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.)
>     Petre
>     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,
>     the
>      > 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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