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Subject: Re: [chairs] DocBook TC position on Kavi

Philpott, Robert wrote:

>Hi Karl - I would like to comment that Norm's concerns have also been
>discussed many times among the co-chairs, editors, secretary, and web site
>maintainer of the SSTC as well. Norm's memo reads as though it almost could
>have been written by us. I agree with Norm that real urgency needs to be
>placed on addressing them. 
+1 for wsrm tc
Tom Rutt

>Thanks for listening...
>Rob Philpott 
>RSA Security Inc. 
>The Most Trusted Name in e-Security 
>Tel: 781-515-7115 
>Mobile: 617-510-0893 
>Fax: 781-515-7020 
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Norman Walsh [mailto:ndw@nwalsh.com]
>>Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 12:55 PM
>>To: Karl Best; chairs@lists.oasis-open.org
>>Cc: docbook-tc@lists.oasis-open.org; patrick.gannon@oasis-open.org
>>Subject: [chairs] DocBook TC position on Kavi
>>[I appreciate that this message comes a few days after the publication
>>of a set of requirements for a document repository. Nevertheless, the
>>DocBook TC felt that it would be useful and appropriate to report the
>>position that we have been developing for a month or so.]
>>The DocBook Technical Committee would like to express its continued
>>frustration with the document management part of the Kavi system
>>implemented at OASIS. We find the system to be technically inadequate
>>at best and flatly broken at worst. Beyond the technical issues, we
>>are concerned that it is an awkward, difficult to use system and
>>consequently we fear that it may be driving users away from OASIS.
>>This is not only bad for our committee, it is bad for the consortium
>>as a whole.
>>It is our unanimous opinion that the Kavi system as currently
>>implemented has critical flaws, and that it is imperative that they be
>>corrected. We are aware that some of these issues have been brought to
>>your attention before by individuals, but we would like to reiterate
>>them here as part of our committee position.
>>We draw your attention to the following technical issues.
>>1. The document repository is simply broken. Although chairs and
>>   secretaries can organize documents into a hierarchy, this hierarchy
>>   is not exposed to the general public. This frustrates any attempt
>>   that the committee might make to organize the documents for the
>>   public.
>>2. The Kavi system forces documents to have automatically generated
>>   URIs that are meaningless and difficult to remember. Even if we
>>   were able to accept the URIs generated, it is impossible to predict
>>   the URI that will be assigned to a document when it is placed in
>>   the repository. This makes it impossible for the committee to
>>   decide offline, for example at a face-to-face meeting, where and
>>   how documents will be published.
>>3. Another consequence of the fact that URIs are generated by the
>>   system rather than assigned by the committee with responsibility
>>   for the material is that it is impossible to publish specifications
>>   that contain internal cross references. An HTML version of a
>>   specification, for example, cannot contain a link to the PDF
>>   version.
>>4. This also makes it impossible to publish a web of documents. A
>>   large document could not be broken into chapters, for example, with
>>   navigational links between the chapters.
>>5. It follows further that the DocBook Committee *cannot* publish the
>>   DocBook DTD on the OASIS site. DocBook is a modular DTD and the
>>   URIs of the modules must be predictable. In fact, as a general
>>   rule, it would seem that no Technical Committee can publish any
>>   schema, stylesheet, or other work product of any reasonable
>>   complexity on the OASIS site other than as a zip package or
>>   something similar for the user to download and install locally.
>>6. The OASIS email system is unable to deal with properly formatted
>>   MIME messages. It simply discards their contents and forwards a blank
>>   message to the list. This is causing considerable frustration and
>>   effort. We observe also that several individuals have approached the
>>   committee to express frustration with the mailing list software.
>>   This situation is inhibiting communications within OASIS TCs thereby
>>   slowing down work by its members.
>>7. The design of the OASIS web server is insufficient for the needs of
>>   the DocBook Technical Committee. Before the migration to Kavi, the
>>   DocBook TC maintained an area of web space on the server containing
>>   almost 4,000 individual pages. No member of the public can be
>>   expected to navigate a web space of that size without some
>>   navigation system for the pages that are in the space, but the Kavi
>>   design offers no mechanism for such an information architecture.
>>In addition to solving these technical issues, we feel that OASIS
>>should give serious consideration to the overall design of the site.
>>We are concerned that the current design frustrates users ability to
>>quickly and conveniently find the information that they need. (Try,
>>for example, to find XML Catalogs Committee Specification or the
>>minutes of the second UBL meeting)
>>This frustration, we fear, will make them less likely to return to the
>>OASIS site thereby diminishing the organizations important role in the
>>industry. Several TC members have already noticed this effect on
>>themselves or others in their organizations.
>>We recognize that technical committees have many different needs. Kavi
>>provides facilities for electronic balloting, membership maintenance,
>>and meeting scheduling that are valuable. But it is demonstrably
>>inadequate in some very key ways: in the presentation of committee
>>work products, in the publication of schemas and other ancillary
>>materials, in the design and organization of technical committee web
>>sites, and in its inability to provide reasonable looking public URIs.
>>We close with the simple observation that these issues, both the
>>technical and non-technical, are driving committees to establish
>>entirely independent web sites in order to better serve their user
>>communities. It would seem clear that OASIS must re-prioritize some
>>staff duties and ensure that immediate, dramatic action is taken if it
>>wishes to reverse this trend.
>>Norman Walsh,
>>For the DocBook Technical Committee[1]
>>[1] http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/docbook-tc/200402/msg00012.html

Tom Rutt		email: tom@coastin.com; trutt@fsw.fujitsu.com
Tel: +1 732 801 5744          Fax: +1 732 774 5133

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