[Linux-aus] [Osia-discuss] Tax office - Open Source policy

Arjen Lentz arjen at lentz.com.au
Mon Aug 31 13:51:36 EST 2009

Hi Bret

> >> Obviously it would be better for the ATO to use an open and
> >> published standard such as ODF (Open Document Format). There are many
> >> products that support this standard and it can be read and written on
> >> all major operating systems including Linux, OSX, OpenSolaris and Windows.

----- "Bret Busby" <bret at busby.net> wrote:
> I am wondering what is wrong with simply using MS Word 97 document 
> format (.doc), without the malicious inclusion of macro's.
> Most of the free word processors (AbiWord, Open Office, etc) readily 
> import and export that document format, and, are available on multiple
> OS platforms, including MS Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and others.

Notice the conditionals in your own sentence: it has to be Word97 compatible, not contain any macros, etc. So seeing a .DOC file does not mean everybody will be able to read it.
It places a burden on the author of a document to know more about the product they use, and use it appropriately to ensure that the resulting files can indeed be processed by others.

With ODF and PDF, while not perfect, it will work. People are used to working on the basis of an extension and understand that already. In short, non-techies "get it", and thus the process is not hindered by a requirement for additional education (a requirement which would just hinder the desired objective).

Arjen Lentz, Director @ Open Query (http://openquery.com)
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