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Subject: Re: [office-comment] Separating OpenFormula from (the rest of) ODF 1.2

On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 10:49 AM,  <robert_weir@us.ibm.com> wrote:
> The question is whether there is anything new in a part that interacts
> with anything new in another part.  OpenFormula is new.  But the only
> thing really new in the Packaging part is digital signatures.  Not much of
> an interaction there between these two.  So you can fairly review these
> two parts independently.  Of course, the main part with the schema
> interacts with everything.

Thinking about this more, I see problems. The underlying assumption
seems to be that the TC's view of whether there is interaction between
different parts of the spec is infallible. But if the TC errs in that
regard, the public would be deprived of any comment period in which to
bring the error to the TC's attention.

In researching this issue, I traced the 60-day comment period to its
origin in the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade Annex 3 section
L, <http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/17-tbt_e.htm#ann3_sp>.
The plain language seems to resolve the issue:

" Before adopting a standard, the standardizing body shall allow a
period of at least 60 days for the submission of comments on *the*
draft standard by interested parties within the territory of a Member
of the WTO."

In context, "the draft standard" is unambiguous and encompasses the
entirety of the draft standard as opposed to a sequential review of
component parts.

The requirement extends to OASIS by virtue of ATBT Article 4 section
1.1's "non-governmental standardizing bodies within their territories"
phrase and the U.S. statutes implementing the ATBT. E.g., 19 U.S.C.
2503 (Approval of Trade Agreemements);  19 U.S.C. 2504 (Relationship
of Trade Agreements to United States Law), respectively found at
and  <http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode19/usc_sec_19_00002504----000-.html>

So it appears to be a legal requirement rather than a matter committed
to TC discretion.

While OASIS TC policy is not so clear-cut on this issue, I do not
believe that it should be read as being in conflict with the ATBT.
Section 3.2 provides in part that "[t]he first public review of a
specification must take place for a minimum of 60 days." Read in
context with the remainder of that section, it seems quite clear that
the "specification" referred to is the entire specification being
prepared as a standard.
<http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/process.php>. E.g., one
provision drops the ambiguous "a" in favor of the non-ambiguous "the":
"Before starting another review cycle *the* specification must be
re-approved as a Committee Draft and then approved to go to public
review by the TC."

I see no conflict in the OASIS TC policy with publishing Committee
Drafts in piecemeal fashion for public comment. But the quoted
reference to "the specification" in the portion discussing Public
Review Drafts seems quite clear that it is the complete release
candidate specification that *must* be given the 60-day public comment

I suggest consulting with OASIS counsel on this issue.

Best regards,

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. (Marbux)

Universal Interoperability Council

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