Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Microsoft's 'Men in Black' kill Florida open standards legislation

Rep. Homan and his son Doug tried to add their little open standards boost to SB 1974 as quietly as possible. They wanted the modified bill to at least get through its first committee approval before anyone spotted what they had done. But Microsoft's Florida lobbyists were on the ball and spotted it almost immediately.

"It was like the movie 'Men in Black,'" says Rep. Homan. "Three Microsoft lobbyists, all wearing black suits."

Another lobbyist (unaffiliated with Microsoft) who would speak only "on background" laughed at the "Men in Black" description. "I know those guys," he said. "They even wear sunglasses like in that movie. They are the 'Men in Black' of Florida lobbying, for sure."

A legislative staff employee who would lose his job if he were quoted here by name said, "By the time those lobbyists were done talking, it sounded like ODF (Open Document Format, the free and open format used by OpenOffice.org and other free software) was proprietary and the Microsoft format was the open and free one."

Related Links:

Florida Free Culture Info on Legislation

Florida Representative Ed Homan

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