In 2005, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Chief Information Officer under Governor Mitt Romney proposed new regulations to mandate the use of open source file formats for all documents created by state employees. Concurrently, supporters and opponents in the Massachusetts legislature began hearings to consider legislative action on the same issue.
As the creator of the popular Portable Document Format (PDF) file format, Adobe took great interest in these developments, having already worked to ensure widespread PDF use throughout Massachusetts state government. In recent years, the PDF file format has emerged as a standard for electronic archiving. Furthermore, Adobe’s management and licensing of its software code is consistent with open source principles. Adobe sought to ensure that their PDF file format would be included in any new law requiring the use of open source software.
O’Neill and Associates created messages to emphasize the consistency between the open source regulation and the use of Adobe’s PDF file format and worked with Adobe to advocate for their position with representatives of the Romney administration, members of the state legislature and other stakeholders within the public and private sectors.
Working with a coalition of technology companies, O’Neill and Associates successfully lobbied the state’s Chief Information Officer and the legislature to include Adobe’s PDF file format as an acceptable open source file format.