[odf-discuss] OOXML: The next step
robert_weir at us.ibm.com
robert_weir at us.ibm.com
Tue Apr 8 09:12:42 EDT 2008
Your paper is concerned with an open container file that can contain
proprietary, possibly patent encumbered extension components. Your
proposal is an "OpenFile" mark which could be applied to documents that
are free from such extensions. This appears not to be against all
extensions per-se, but only against those that are undocumented or have
restrictive licensing. Governments, etc., could require or prefer
documents with such a mark, and applications which are capable of
My concern was with undocumented extensions and undocumented
"implementation-defined" behaviors. My solution was to define conformance
in the ODF standard such that a conformant application must be accompanied
with definitions of their implementation-defined features, as well as
definition of their extensions. Governments, etc., would then require or
prefer applications which conform fully to the ODF standard.
One difference is that my proposal would be part of the standard, in the
conformance clause, while yours would be a separate program.
Other difference is in the treatment of patent-encumbered extensions. Your
proposal would forbid them. My proposal would allow them, if they were
This does not mean that I am not concerned with patent-encumbered
extensions. But if tried to create a conformance class in ODF called
"OpenFile" and defined it in terms of allowing extensions, but only
extensions that are not restricted in their licence, then this would meet
with a lot of resistance, possibly with TC member companies, and likely
with OASIS and ISO. It would be quite controversial. Typically a
technical standard places requirements only on tangible properties and
behaviors of the applications.
I'm not saying that is a bad thing, but I think it would need resources
behind it similar to the launch of a new open source licence. And
remember at a future ODF 1.2 BRM, Microsoft could get such a clause
watered-down ("shall" becomes "should" or "may") or removed altogether in
30 seconds, with the strength they have in ISO NB's.
"M. Fioretti" <mfioretti at nexaima.net> wrote on 04/05/2008 12:32:33 AM:
> On Fri, Apr 04, 2008 10:56:19 AM -0400, robert_weir at us.ibm.com wrote:
> > In my opinion the big risk is not extensions. If you use
> extensions you know
> > you will not be interoperable. The bigger problem is divergent
> behavior among
> > implementations. That is what the big problem with Internet
> Explorer has been.
> > It isn't their extensions to HTML. We ended up with the mess of
> quirks mode
> > versus standards mode because of divergent interpretations (or bugs)
> > core documented parts of CSS2.
> > So I think there is value in having an assessment procedure (a
> test suite) for
> > the core parts of ODF, just to ensure we don't end up in the mess
> we have with
> > HTML. It is still early enough to prevent that.
> Are you by chance thinking to something like what I proposed here or
> in the earlier Novatica monograph:
> If yes, please let me know, I'd like to write more, or work, on
> similar projects.
> Marco Fioretti
> Your own civil rights and the quality of your life heavily depend on how
> software is used *around* you: http://digifreedom.net/node/84
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