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Subject: OpenDocument TC FAQ reworked
Dear TC members, in the past few weeks, several questions were asked regarding OpenDocument and the OpenDocument TC. This included questions about the size of the OpenDocument TC and questions how OpenDocument relates to other office file formats. I therefor reworked the TC'S FAQ and added multiple Questions and Answers. The new FAQ is attached. I've marked new questions with a green background color, and reworked Questions and Answers with a yellow background color. I've also attached a plain copy of the FAQ below. Please let me know in the con call on Monday if you agree to the reworked FAQ. Best regards Michael OpenDocument TC FAQ =================== What is the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument)? OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) is a standardized XML-based file format specification suitable for office applications. It covers the features required by text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents. Who benefits from this work and how? A vendor and application independent open document format for office applications protects content, whether it is a 800 page airplane specification or a legal contract, from being locked into an application- or vendor-specific file format. Additionally, it lets application users participate in the benefits of XML file formats without having to change their habits and without requiring additional knowledge or education. There is a TC 45 with a similar charter existing at ECMA. Is this a competitive effort? No. The OpenDocument TC and the ECMA TC 45 have in common that they define standardized file formats for office applications, but there are differences in the charters of both groups. The purpose of ECMA TC45 is "to produce a formal standard for office productivity applications that is fully compatible with the Office Open XML Formats, submitted by Microsoft.". The purpose of the OpenDocument TC is to "create an open, XML-based file format specification for office applications." This means, the file format is not specialized for a certain application, but provides a formal standard for arbitrary office applications. This includes Microsoft Office, but is not limited to it. How large is the OpenDocument TC? The OpenDocument TC has 17 founding members (full list). An up-to-date list of TC members is available here. At the time this FAQ was updated (14/12/2005) the TC membership database lists 16 members from 6 organizations and three individual members. Isn't OpenDocument only the file format of the OpenOffice.org application that has been standardized? OpenDocument has been developed as an application-independent format by a vendor-neutral OASIS Technical Committee (TC) with the participation of multiple office application vendors. The basis for the OASIS OpenDocument TC's work indeed was the OpenOffice.org XML file format, but even the OpenOffice.org XML file format was developed as an application-independent file format that is not usable by the OpenOffice.org application only. The OpenOffice.org XML specification went through a one year review phase within the TC, that resulted in about 100 changes to the schema, and a one year phase of additional specification and editorial work. The OpenDocument specification also went through a one month public review phase within the full OASIS membership, which represents over 600 organizations. Did the OpenDocument TC take the requirements of Microsoft Office users into account? Several companies that are members in the OpenDocument TC are very much committed to deliver office products that are highly interoperable with Microsoft's office products, especially on the file format level. Some of these companies for instance deliver products that have MS office document filters for ten years now. The membership of these companies in the OpenDocument TC actually ensures that the requirements of MS Office users are considered within OpenDocument. Is OpenDocument backward compatible with Microsoft Office binary documents? No. Backward compatibility with binary documents is technical impossible for an XML file format. However, applications may support legacy binary format as well OpenDocument and this way may provide backward compatibility with binary formats for office application users. Does OpenDocument support "custom schemas"? There are several usages of the term "custom schema". The term "custom schema support" frequently is used to describe the possibility to interleave an office application schema with XML tags from some other schema. Because this is a feature of XML and XML Namespaces in general, this is supported by OpenDocument. But it is important to distinguish between the OpenDocument format and applications that implement it. No applications at this point exploit this feature, but this is inherently supported by OpenDocument. Another definition of "custom schema" support is the possibility to include an instance of a non-office-schema into an office document. This feature is provided by OpenDocument due to its partial inclusion of the W3C XForms standard. Was performance listed as a requirement for the OpenDocument standard? Although performance is not explicitly listed as a requirement in the OpenDocument TC charter, the ability to provide performant implementations of a file format seems to be self-evident for an open standard. There are no performance issues known in applications that have their root cause in the OpenDocument standard. In case such issues would be brought to the attention of the TC, the TC would work on a resolution. OpenDocument is a new standard. How well is it tested? OpenDocument is well tested. OpenDocument is based on the OpenOffice.org XML file format. OpenOffice XML is the default file format of the OpenOffice.org application since 2001. This includes the word processor, the spreadsheet, and the presentation applications of OpenOffice.org. Who owns OpenDocument? OpenDocument is owned by OASIS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the open development of public XML standards. OpenDocument is maintained by an OASIS Technical Committee made up of XML, document manager and office application experts. Is the OpenDocument effort still open? Yes. The OpenDocument TC will extend OpenDocument 1.0 to encompass additional areas of applications or users, and also will adapt the specification to recent developments in office applications. OASIS members who are interested in participating in the further development of OpenDocument are encouraged to join the OpenDocument TC. For non-OASIS members, OASIS membership- is available at the following URL: http://www.oasis-open.org/join/ What is the current state of the specification? The OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) 1.0 is an approved OASIS standard. OASIS has submitted the OpenDocument Format OASIS Standard to the ISO/IEC JTC1 (International Organization for Standardization International Electrotechnical Commission's Joint Technical Committee) for further approval as a de jure standard. Where did OpenDocument come from? OpenDocument has its roots in the OpenOffice.org XML file format. In December 2003, Arbortext, Boeing, Corel, CSW Informatics, Drake Certivo, National Archive of Australia, New York State Office of the Attorney General, Society of Biblical Literature, Sony, Stellent and Sun Microsystems founded the OASIS Open Office XML Format TC to develop a standardized XML-based file format for office applications. The basis for the TC's work was the OpenOffice.org XML file format that had proved its value in real life already. The first committee draft was approved in March 2003, a 2nd one in December 2004. In January 2005, the Open Office XML Format TC renamed itself to OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) to emphasize that the resulting specification is not only suitable for OpenOffice.org, but for arbitrary office applications. A third committee draft was approved in March 2005. OpenDocument was approved as an OASIS standard in May 2005. How much will it cost to use OpenDocument? OpenDocument is royalty-free. It can be used without charge by anyone. Where do I find the OpenDocument specification and schemas? The OpenDocument v1.0 specification is available in PDF format at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12572/OpenDocument-v1.0-os.pdf and in OpenOffice.org XML format at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12573/OpenDocument-v1.0-os.sxw . The OpenDocument v1.0 Relax-NG schemas are available here: 1. OpenDocument v1.0 Relax-NG Schema (extracted from chapter 1 to 16 of the specification): http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12571/OpenDocument-schema-v1.0-os.rng 2. OpenDocument v1.0 Manifest Relax-NG Schema (extracted from chapter 17 of the specification): http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12570/OpenDocument-manifest-schema-v1.0-os.rng 3. OpenDocument v1.0 Strict Relax-NG Schema (extracted from appendix A of the specification): http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12569/OpenDocument-strict-schema-v1.0-os.rng How does this work compare to existing standards at other standards organizations? There are some standards that cover single features of office applications, like SVG for graphic content or HTML and XSL-FO for text content, but none of these standards covers all features of office applications. The OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) covers the features required by text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents, but also 'borrow' from similar, existing standards wherever possible and permitted. How does this work compare to other office applications schemas? * OpenDocument was developed in a completely open, publicly visible, vendor-neutral, royalty-free standards process that allows input from the entire user community * OpenDocument is one schema for text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents. There are no distinct schemas for the different kind of office applications. * OpenDocument is highly interoperable by making use of existing standards like HTML , SVG , XSL , SMIL , XLink , XForms , MathML or Dublin Core wherever possible. * OpenDocument has a package concept and can be used as default file format for office applications without disadvantages in file size or integrity. What kind of applications are covered by the specification? OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) 1.0 is suitable for text, spreadsheets, charts, and graphical documents. Later versions of the specification will encompass additional areas of applications or users. I've sometimes read about and OASIS Open Office XML Format TC and an Open Office specification. What is their relation to OpenDocument? OASIS Open Office and OASIS OpenDocument are the same. The OpenDocument TC was originally named “OASIS Open Office XML Format TC”, but renamed itself to “OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC ” in January 2005. OpenDocument previously was called Open Office. What is the relation to OpenOffice.org? When the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC was founded, it chose the OpenOffice.org XML file format as the basis for its work, because the OpenOffice.org XML file format had already proven its value in real life. The OpenDocument format therefore is an advancement of the OpenOffice.org XML file format. It us usable and used by OpenOffice.org, but also by other office applications like KOffice. The OpenDocument TC as an OASIS TC is not part of the OpenOffice.org open source project, and only some of the TC members have a relation to the OpenOffice.org project. My question isn't listed here: where do I get more information? If you do not find an answer to your question in this FAQ, please do not hesitate to send it to the TC members using the "Send A Comment" button at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=office.
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