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Eyeballs Needed for ODF
Saturday, June 07 2008 @ 08:16 PM EDT

There is an announcement just posted about OASIS opening a new discussion list for members and nonmembers to discuss a proposal to form a new technical committee to help out with "ODF Implementation, Interoperability and Conformance". Yes, interoperability is the key. Rob Weir will lead the discussion, which will go on for 90 days, and which will be discussing a number of things with respect to what such a new TC might do, including this:
  • Liaise with other standard bodies whose work is leveraged in present or future ODF specifications. These include, but are not limited to, the W3C and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34.

The discussion list may remain open up to 90 days. Typically, list participants will determine whether there is sufficient interest to form an OASIS TC, and if so, they will collaborate on a draft TC charter for submission.

Well, that got my attention. ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 are the folks that gave us OOXML before it was baked, and because they have been trying to get ODF under their umbrella, and I hope a lot of you will sign up for that discussion and watch like hawks. If you can, you can join the discussion by sending an email to:

oiic-formation-discuss-subscribe @lists.oasis-open.org

I can tell you that from what I know, and I know a fair amount, that X marks the spot where a lot of eyeballs are needed. I have no doubt that Microsoft wishes to use ODF for its own purposes, and I know for a fact that some kind of liaison is what some who seem to me to be happily doing whatever Microsoft wants have been hoping for, namely some mechanism for ODF to coordinate with SC34 in ISO that would operate a bit like the relationship between the Unicode Consortium and JTC 1/SC 2, who jointly maintain the Unicode standard.

Ask yourself a question: do you want Microsoft helping to maintain ODF? EEEK, you say? So do I. Now some interchange is obviously going to have to happen, because interoperability is an important goal, and this proposal is better than the other, but how it happens and who makes it happen is vitally important. And while the proposers include IBM and Novell, the fact is Novell's interest may not be identical to ours. They smoked the patent peace pipe with Microsoft, after all. The GPL is systematically excluded from all Microsoft IP promises, IIRC, and that is serious. I'm not saying Novell won't do right this time, because they very well might. Life is complex, but we've seen that even with all the good will in the world, corporate friends don't always come through, particularly with respect to the GPL. And that is why the community needs to pay attention too, and not leave important issues to corporate entities. That's my view, anyway.

So man the stations, everyone. This is the moment to pay full attention, if this is something you care about and you wish to avoid the Microsoft EEE. Stay polite at all times, of course, if you say anything, and you needn't say anything, but do follow along and please keep us posted on anything you see that sounds peculiar. I'll try to do the same.

Here's the full announcement:

***********************************

OASIS opens discussion list for ODF Implementation, Interoperability and Conformance

OASIS has created a new discussion list for members and non-members to explore a proposal to form an ODF Implementation, Interoperability and Conformance (IIC) Technical Committee. The new TC would provide a means for software implementors and service providers to create applications that adhere to the ODF specification and are able to interoperate. Proposers include representatives from Ars Aperta, IBM, and Novell; Rob Weir of IBM is designated as the discussion leader.

Potential activities for the OASIS ODF IIC TC include:

  • Publish test suites for applications of ODF to check their conformance with the standard and to confirm their interoperability;
  • Provide feedback, where necessary, to the ODF TC on ways in which the standard could improve interoperability;
  • Produce a set of implementation guidelines;
  • Define interoperability with related standards by the creation of profiles or technical reports;
  • Coordinate OASIS Interoperability demos related to ODF, in conjunction with the ODF Adoption TC.
  • Liaise with other standard bodies whose work is leveraged in present or future ODF specifications. These include, but are not limited to, the W3C and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34.

The discussion list may remain open up to 90 days. Typically, list participants will determine whether there is sufficient interest to form an OASIS TC, and if so, they will collaborate on a draft TC charter for submission.

OASIS members and non-members are invited to join this discussion by sending a message to: oiic-formation-discuss-subscribe@lists.oasis-open.org.


  


Eyeballs Needed for ODF | 236 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: entre on Saturday, June 07 2008 @ 08:35 PM EDT
If Needed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Eyeballs Needed for ODF
Authored by: cryophallion on Saturday, June 07 2008 @ 08:39 PM EDT

At least the lead person is Rob Weir (his antic disposition blog has some very intelligent criticisms of OOXML, including the random page number test for flaws and the argument about valid ODF with the head of the OOXML BRM). At least someone with a full understanding of both the process, the issues in both standards, and an ability to keep his integrity is going to be the one leading this, and hopefully is the type to make sure that every question gets an answer, and a good one based on technology instead of politics.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic thread
Authored by: bbaston on Saturday, June 07 2008 @ 08:57 PM EDT
Use lots of links when available/pertinent!

---
IMBW, IANAL2, IMHO, IAVO
imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks
Authored by: bbaston on Saturday, June 07 2008 @ 09:03 PM EDT
Comment on News Picks items here.

---
IMBW, IANAL2, IMHO, IAVO
imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

One set of eyeballs signed up
Authored by: ankylosaurus on Saturday, June 07 2008 @ 09:45 PM EDT
Ancient - but maybe useful... :)

---
The Dinosaur with a Club at the End of its Tail

[ Reply to This | # ]

count me in
Authored by: designerfx on Saturday, June 07 2008 @ 11:15 PM EDT
I've got plenty of free time at work to dig through their mailings and ask you
questions, PJ.

Lets hope for the best and keep eyes open for the worst.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This might not be as bad
Authored by: tz on Sunday, June 08 2008 @ 09:23 AM EDT
Though I would count the silverware after the dinner in case it comes up light.

That said, one thing which was being asked is why Microsoft wasn't there to make
suggestions to ODF if they thought it couldn't adequately handle their Office
document formatting, metadata, etc. - and this over the long time it was being
developed. Perhaps they are finally getting to it.

I would watch for EEE, but also consider that if Microsoft is going to be
dragged kicking and screaming into supporting ODF as a standard, they might see
it would be better to cooperate to make things easier on them.

As long as it works with my software (interoperates), I generally don't care
about where a document comes from. That is also part of the point. And a lot
of people will use MS Office for a while, but if the default can be ODF,
everything will talk. Most still use IE, but Opera and Firefox can still work
because HTML is the standard.

(I'd still be cautious, but it would be a good thing if ODF files worked better
with MS Office).

[ Reply to This | # ]

What about the appeals?
Authored by: wbormann on Sunday, June 08 2008 @ 10:34 AM EDT

Is this committee appropriate? Aren't there three formal appeals in the pipeline for OOXML?

Shouldn't formation of a committee seeking to "harmonize" document formats wait until the appeal process is finished?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Eyeballs for ODF - the Groklaw discussion thread
Authored by: bbaston on Sunday, June 08 2008 @ 11:26 AM EDT
For Groklaw's benefit - whether participating over at OASIS or just passing by - here's the place to post.

PJ reminds those of us monitoring the discussion to
"Stay polite at all times, of course, if you say anything, and you needn't say anything, but do follow along and please keep us posted on anything you see that sounds peculiar."

OASIS discussion list for ODF Implementation, Interoperability and Conformance

If you want to monitor the "live" OASIS discussion, send an email to
oiic-formation-discuss-subscribe at lists.oasis-open.org [replacing " at " with "@"]
and OASIS should then send a confirmation.

The relevent OASIS announcements are here and her e.

---
IMBW, IANAL2, IMHO, IAVO
imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

What to watch for
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 09 2008 @ 01:59 PM EDT
Let us suppose just for a moment, that MS is going to try to do the right thing.
Improbable, I know, but just suppose.

What they will have to try to do is to introduce some functionality
corresponding to ActiveX, or a whole bunch of their Office "features"
won't move over, and they need this desperately. They will want to add
everything from embedding to scripting.

Microsoft so !doesn't get it! about security (other than their own and Mafiaa's
-- Palladium) that they; are incapable of understanding why it's so bad to be
able to run (un)trusted code in a word processing application (or any of the
others).

The ability to embed code in documents and spreadsheets, or even in html email
adds a huge class of attack vectors to anyone who uses these vs someone who
doesn't. Even if you run a nice opsys like Linux, as I do. Yes, it lets some
Office power users sometimes get similar results to what someone who bothered to
learn how to really program can get, but is it truly worth it?

Making this amateur programming too easy just makes it even more likely that
bad, insecure code will be distributed widely. Sound good, like "double
your IQ or no money back" offers? When I run a company (and I've run two)
I found it far cheaper to hire real programmers to do that sort of thing, rather
than let some hotshot in accounting or engineering mess up the corporate network
for everyone while they learn and test live.

And how do I actually print that sound file embedded in the Word Doc someone
just sent me? Is that really a needed feature? I could go on, but I'll save
that for you.

Watch for feature creep that includes loss of security!
We do not want the ability to auto-brick documents in the name of security
either, DRM, and so on.

DC, not logged on.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • What to watch for - Authored by: PJ on Monday, June 09 2008 @ 05:33 PM EDT
  • What to watch for - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 09 2008 @ 09:23 PM EDT
  • Java - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 10 2008 @ 07:08 PM EDT
Microsoft joins OpenDocument Technical Committee
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 09 2008 @ 09:33 PM EDT
Micros oft has actually joined the OASIS Office Technical Committee (TC) - this is the group that maintains the OpenDocument specification itself (just look at the "participants" list). Microsoft even participated in the June 9 TC teleconference.

Usually, a company joining a standards group would not be a big deal. However, after NOT participating in the OASIS TC for many years, and working hard to develop OOXML instead, this is a dramatic turnaround for Microsoft. Microsoft joins Sun, IBM, Novell, and Google, as well as a host of people from smaller organizations and projects. What's more, the OASIS committee rules have not changed; anything that they developed has to be royalty-free, which should reduce the risk of patent tricks.

It would be a wonderful world if there were a standard for exchanging documents that everyone adhered to. Will it happen? I do not know, but it would be great if it does.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Eyeballs Needed for ODF
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 09 2008 @ 09:55 PM EDT
What puzzles me is would I have to buy a copy of Microsoft Office to verify any
of the compatibility issues?

I just don't have the cash for that right now.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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