Massachusetts Blasted Over Open-Source Switch

    September 22, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The activist group, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), released a statement yesterday strongly criticizing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for its recent decision to switch all government computer systems to open-source format.

The new policy would require all state agencies to acquire open standard software, like Open Document Format (ODF), by January 2007.

“It is bad procurement policy for any state to unilaterally lock itself into one set of technologies,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said.

“Agencies should be able to accept bids from any company that can provide the desired product or service. Government earns the best value for taxpayer dollars through a competitive, transparent, and accountable bidding process.”

The nonprofit, nonpartisan group complains that though the state aims to eliminate the costs associated with patents and licensing of proprietary software like Word Perfect, Lotus Notes, and Microsoft Office, the cost of retraining government staff and technical support workers statewide outweighs the dollars saved by switching to open-source platforms.

“The proposed shift in software will be paid for by the taxpayers, businesses, and regular citizens of Massachusetts,” said Schatz.