Since the release of OpenOffice 2.0 last month and throughout it's beta, a lot of people had given it a second glance because of the massively improved suite. There is talk in many areas of even replacing Microsoft Office in many environments in favor of OO. It isn't all peaches, though, and there is backlash occurring. One area where an OO transfer is getting flack is over in Massachusetts, where those responsible for initiating a move to OO forgot, intentionally or not, that the move they had planned would render all documents for the state incompatible with Microsoft Office. At first, someone might not see the flaw here. But the fact is Microsoft Office is very popular, and one of the main goals for OO is interoperability, not inoperability. Making your documents intentionally incompatible with others is being seen a step back by certain lawmakers over in Massachusetts.
"How will people with disabilities in the state, who are working for the state, how will they deal with this thing?" said Curtis Chong, president of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science. Chong said Microsoft has added a number of features to Office that allow the software to interact with Braille printers, screen magnifiers, and screen-reader programs that speak the text appearing on the computer screen."
Recently there have been talks of Microsoft implementing, or allow a third party to implement, reading functions into Office for OpenOffice documents. If that occurred, it would be only a good thing for both sides. Change can be good, but change must be done right.