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Subject: Re: [office] Formula subcommittee - olive branch?

"David A. Wheeler" <dwheeler@dwheeler.com> wrote on 02/02/2006 09:48:15 PM:

> I'd agree, it
> SHOULD be possible for everyone to work together on this spec.

I'm sure it's possible; I'm less sure it's as transparently good an idea as it sounds.

> Perhaps, if it were widely-known that there was a SINGLE
> spec for formulas for both sides, the "need for speed"
> on formulas would be reduced... because everyone would know it's
> the same thing.  

I think this re-opens what I think of as the first decision any formula effort had to make:  is the goal to define a good, clean, unambiguous format, or to document what Excel already does?  If it's the latter, I'm all for cooperating with ECMA/Microsoft, since they have the best chance of actually knowing.  If it's the former, they're not really going to be interested, I predict.

> And it might also give even more credence to ODF,
> for those who think that only a particular vendor can set standards.

I think this cuts both ways, and perhaps more strongly the other way:  ODF is much more credible from an open standards perspective, so cooperation could give more credence to the ECMA effort.

> But I think we should put out an olive branch and TRY to make it
> possible to work together in the future, for as long it's practical
> to keep the window open:

Agreed.  We should just go in with our eyes open to the fact that we aren't really even sure why they'd want to cooperate.

> * Suggesting a liaison between the groups would make sense.

Yes, I agree.

> * Perhaps we could maintain the formula spec as a physically
> separate document, at least for a while, so that they could
> reference it? I know of no reason why a spec can't have
> multiple volumes.

I'd go further than this:  Specs are generally better (easier to absorb, easier to maintain) when they come in multiple, smaller pieces.  The ODF document is long enough as it is.  I'd argue in favor of keeping the formula spec separate even if ECMA convergence wasn't a possibility.  -- Nathaniel

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