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Massachusetts' Bold Steps To Open Source

Open Source and Open Standards

  • September 30, 2003
  • By Rob Reilly

Late last week, it was announced that the Massachusetts Department of Administration and Finance has taken the bold step of pursuing Open Standards and Open Source Software for that Commonwealth, whenever and wherever possible. Eric Kriss, the department's Secretary, has charged the government office to begin looking for alternatives to many of the legacy systems that the agency currently uses.

Such a step is certainly within the purview of Secretary Kriss, but how did such a bold move come to pass?

First off, it should be noted that Kriss makes a strong distinction between Open Standards and Open Source. Open Standards refer to methodologies and formats, such as, the Web, SSL, and XML. Open Source refers to various applications, programming languages and operating systems.

With these definitions firmly in place, Kriss cited the obvious technical reasons for pursuing Open Source options, such as robust environments, stability, high quality testing and interchangeable software. Of course, there were other benefits and challenges, too.

Kriss outlined three major areas of benefit for using Open Standards and Open Source Software for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its citizens.

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