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Subject: Change tracking in the proposed ODF 1.2 standard

Dear all,


As most of you know, the proposed ODF 1.2 standard has a big problem in its specification of document change tracking. There are numerous public statements – many from OASIS committee members – stating that this aspect of ODF as it stands is inadequate, non-interoperable and/or un-implementable. This is borne out by the implementation landscape in which there is poor interoperability between different code bases.


The situation parallels that of formulae for ODF 1.0 in being attempt to make a standard with a known major weakness. This risks jeopardising ODF’s chances in any future submission to JTC 1, jeopardising OASIS’s standing as an organisation committed to quality, and – most seriously – jeopardising users’ chances of enjoying workable, interoperable and long-lived documents.


Some possible ways of fixing this:


1. Specify change tracking adequately in ODF 1.2. (I am aware an effort to do this work is underway but that the prospect of producing any solution *soon* is fairly slim. However, given some of the seismic changes in the ODF standards community maybe now quality rather than timeliness may be more of a driver when considering whether this solution should be in ODF 1.2?)


2. Remove the change tracking spec. entirely from ODF. This effectively would make the feature implementation dependent, but would remove the false impression that the current specification of CT is adequate, interoperable, etc.


3. Make the current CT spec informative and deprecate it. Effectively the same as (2) but maybe helpful for those dealing with implementations which have attempted to use the current mechanisms.


Apologies for the telegraphic nature of this message – I am rushing to get something in to be considered as part of the ODF 1.2 public review.


- Alex.



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