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Subject: Re: [office] Re: [office-metadata] Suggested Changes on the Metadata proposal

On 7/1/07, Thomas Zander <zander@kde.org> wrote:
On Sunday 01 July 2007 23:37:31 Bruce D'Arcus wrote:
> But if a user creates this document in application A and sends it to a
> colleague using application B: if that second application silently
> removes those metadata attributes and the first user gets it back with
> that information stripped, that's bad, and should -- I believe -- be
> discouraged by this TC.

I have seen nobody that has a problem with such a thing.

Then let me give you a concrete example. Sun's apps destroy all foreign elements and attributes other than paragraphs and text spans. That stymied the Foundation's ability to establish non-lossy interoperability between MS Office and OOo. The Foundation now plans to use the Metadata SC's work, but Sun is in here pitching for permission to destroy xml:id attributes.

And there was this interesting exchange of private emails between Gary Edwards and Michael Brauer in May of this year:

Gary: "The change in ODF 1.2 that will matter most will be other ODF ready applications "preserving" these foreign elements when and if they ever come across them in a document. "

Michael: :
I'm not sure if one can say that this way. What will be new in ODF 1.2
is that metadata aware application should preserve metadata (where
possible and reasonable), where metadata is contained in some new
RDF-XML metadata streams, or some some new elements and attributes that we will add the schema. ***The specification will not make any other assumptions about foreign elements (in the meaning of elements not defined by the schema) than those we have already."***

So King Michael had already decreed in May that metadata only "should" be preserved and that there will be no change requiring preservation of foreign elements.

But I have yet to hear a rational explanation of why preservation of metadata should be permissive if it **should** be preserved. Why is it so important to Sun that the specification allow the destruction of xml:id attributes. Why do they want that permission if they have no intent of exercising it? I've asked for use cases exposing the need, but none have been forthcoming.

I certainly agree
silently losing data is bad and should be discouraged.

Why just discouraged? Why not prohibited? Why should an application be entitled to a conformance title if it silently destroys data? What does that do to the respect for the standard and for the quality of this committee's work?

The question is what can the TC can do that will not harm real use cases
and which actually will have the effect we are after.

So offer us some use cases and tell us the effect you want.

So far I am unconvinced that the suggestions made to discourage this
losing of data satisfy these requirements.

I can well imagine since you have identified no requirements.

And if the suggestion does not satisfy the above two requirements, then it
will do more harm to ODF than good.
At this point I don't have a suggestion what would be a good solution to
the problem, except for the one about market forces. Which I understand
is a bit of a leap of faith for some.

More than a leap of faith, a leap past common sense.  Or maybe you missed King Brauer's suggestion that we put off all interoperability work until ODF 1.3 and make destruction of xml:id attributes optional, with nary a single use case exposing why we should do so.
Or maybe you just don't care about being able to round-trip documents with other ODF apps with high fidelity? Draw some guidance from ECIS, Thomas, which speaks for Sun and IBM at DG Competition:

""Interoperability is a cornerstone of the ICT industry. In today's networked ICT environments, devices do not function purely on their own, but must interact with other programs and devices. A device that cannot interoperate with the other products with which consumers expect it to interoperate is essentially worthless. It is interoperability that drives competition on the merits and innovation. The ability of different computer products to interoperate allows consumers to choose among them. Because consumers can choose among them, interoperable products must compete with one another, and it is this competition that has driven innovation in the software industry."


Of course that didn't stop Sun/IBM/ECIS from falsely claiming:

"The merits of ODF have already been established by its wide industry adoption. As noted above, numerous PPA vendors have implemented support for it in their products both on Windows and on other operating systems. Such widespread adoption is only possible ***because ODF is fully disclosed and created to allow for document interoperability by making it easy for various applications to exchange documents with full fidelity, i.e., without any loss of data or formatting of the document."***

<http://www.ecis.eu/inter/documents/ECIS_ODF_OOXML_comparison.pdf >

Really easy, especially if applications are allowed to destroy foreign elements and attributes and metadata. Not.

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