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To read comments to this article, go here
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.


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