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Subject: Finally, the ODF summit technical report

Sorry this took so long, but here's the report from the technical breakout group from the 11/4 ODF summit:

Summary of technical break-out discussions
November 4 ODF summit

The parties present (no roll call was taken) discussed
and achieved rough consensus on the following topics:

1.  Reference implementation:  It is very hard to know what
an ODF reference implementation would actually include.
The most productive approach might be to focus on small
but useful pieces of ODF-related code, for example:

        -- A free ODF viewer
        -- Some free, simple translators,
            such as ODF-to-PDF or html-to-ODF.
        -- Code libraries that map ODF documents onto a DOM object            
2.  Formula formats.  Everyone agreed that this is important and
the committee must take it on.  There may be more than one formula
format some day, but there needs to be at least one now.
David Wheeler's OpenFormula proposal seems like an excellent
starting point, but awaits resolution of IPR issues.  Fortunately,
in the short term we can work on function definitions that
will be useful either in extending OpenFormula or in a new
replacement, but it would still be good to resolve these issues
as soon as possible.  The group endorsed the creation of a
new subcommittee of the TC to deal with formula formats.

3.  Accessibility:  The group agreed that accessibility was a
complex problem that needs to be addressed at both the level
of the standard itself *and* open source implementations.  
The group endorsed the creation of a new subcommittee of the
TC to deal with accessibility issues in ODF itself, with the
understanding that doing so properly will inevitably be
entangled with issues of open source implementation.

The group also agreed that beyond the technical enhancements
necessary to support accessibility, there is an  urgent need
for refining our public message about ODF and accessibility,
and for coordination of our ODF efforts with the larger
accessibility community.  

4.  Conformance testing:  Conformance testing for a standard
as complex as ODF will never be complete, but that does not
mean it can be ignored.  The group endorsed the creation of
a new subcommittee to create examples, tests, screen shots,
and any other materials that will enable such testing and
promote interoperability.

5.  Digital Rights Management:  ODF has no DRM mechanisms,
and there does not appear to be any enthusiasm for adding
such mechanisms in the future.  However, there is probably
a need to clarify how ODF will work with future DRM schemes.
This is less because of the imminent adoption of such
technologies than because the absence of a DRM strategy
seems to be an effective criticism of ODF in some quarters.

6.  Non-technical matters:  Although it does not regard them
as in scope for the OASIS technical committee, the technical
group discussed several non-technical matters and informally
agreed on the importance of several non-technical efforts
that we thought should begin:

-- a campaign to promote ODF adoption.

-- the creation of an online community around ODF.  
Suggestions included using the existing Open Document
Fellowship, and creating an opendocument.xml.org.

-- Creating international documentation in languages beyond

I believe that this is a fair summary of our discussions,
but any errors are my own, and I will try to correct them
as they are pointed out.  -- Nathaniel

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