Tuesday Nov 27, 2007

Obama steps into the open file format debate

During a talk at Google, Barack Obama mentioned that he would like to promote "universally accessible formats" for government information. News analysts are wondering why Obama would want to enter this debate. Government de facto support for proprietary standards owned by Microsoft impacts nearly everyone by forcing us to buy Microsoft's products. But this is understood only by a small technical minority and so normally wouldn't get any play in an electoral culture centered around "sound bites" and visceral reactions to pseudo issues which impact virtually no one but which make for emotive campaign advertisements. The fact that Obama mentioned file formats is probably an accident, but it would be nice to pretend that he is trying to drag electoral debates up to a higher level.

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