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Subject: Re: [office] OpenDocument TC coordination call minutes 2007-08-13

On 8/13/07, Bruce D'Arcus <bdarcus@gmail.com> wrote:
I'd like for us to avoid using the term "interoperability" as a
justification for proposals, since it seems to be one of those terms
increasingly thrown about without much concrete meaning.

If we do want to use it as a criterion, perhaps we ought to define it formally somewhere?

It's already defined in JTC 1 Directives along with some pretty exacting bottom line interoperability requirements that ODF v. 1.2 fails miserably. E.g., the discretion for implementations to destroy metadata xml:id attributes and foreign elements and attributes. We expect that the relevant Directive requirements will form much of the basis of our anticipated opposition to ODF v. 1.2 at ISO. Microsoft's feet are being held to the fire on these interoperability requirements in regard to Ecma 376. See e.g., the India NB comments under development. Why should ODF be exempt?


    These Directives shall be complied with in all respects and no deviations can be made without the consent of the Secretaries-General.


        A purpose of IT standardization is to ensure that products available in the marketplace have characteristics of interoperability, portability and cultural and linguistic adaptability. Therefore, standards which are developed shall reflect the requirements of the following Common Strategic Characteristics:

            * Interoperability;
            * Portability;
            * Cultural and linguistic adaptability.

ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives, 5th Ed., v. 3.0, pg. 11 (PDF) < http://www.jtc1sc34.org/repository/0856rev.pdf>

    This policy statement specifies the JTC 1 position on interoperability and clarifies the relationship between interoperability and conformity. It complements the JTC 1 policy statement on conformity assessment (see Annex C). ***For the purpose of this policy statement, interoperability is understood to be the ability of two or more IT systems to exchange information at one or more standardised interfaces and to make mutual use of the information that has been exchanged.*** An IT system is a set of IT resources providing services at one or more interfaces.

    JTC 1 recognises that interoperability is a major user requirement which can be facilitated by standardisation. Accordingly JTC 1 accepts the responsibility to identify the key interfaces and produce the key IT standards at those interfaces (including the relevant content standards, e.g. ODA, SGML, CGM) to facilitate practical, timely and cost-effective interoperability, consistent with market requirements and current technologies.

    ***Standards designed to facilitate interoperability need to specify clearly and unambiguously the conformity requirements that are essential to achieve the interoperability.*** Complexity and the number of options should be kept to a minimum and the implementability of the standards should be demonstrable. Verification of conformity to those standards should then give a high degree of confidence in the interoperability of IT systems using those standards. However, the confidence in interoperability given by conformity to one or more standards is not always sufficient and there may be need to use an interoperability assessment methodology in demonstrating interoperability between two or more IT systems in practice.

    An assessment methodology for interoperability may include the specification of some or all of the following: terminology, basic concepts, requirements and guidance concerning test methods, the appropriate depth of testing, test specification and means of testing, and requirements and guidance concerning the operation of assessment services and the presentation of results. In technical areas where there is a conformity assessment methodology and an interoperability assessment methodology, the relationship between them must be specified.

    JTC 1 has the authority and responsibility to clarify whether interoperability is intended to be facilitated by each JTC 1 standard and ISP, to what or whom the interoperability applies, how conformity is related to the provision of interoperability, and how to verify that interoperability is provided between relevant IT systems.

    Each JTC 1 Subcommittee has the responsibility to ensure that standards produced by that Subcommittee for implementation in IT systems clarify whether interoperability should be facilitated by use of that standard, and how conformity to the standard is related to the provision of the interoperability.

    Each JTC 1 Subcommittee has the authority and responsibility to specify or identify an interoperability assessment methodology, applicable to any distinct area of IT that is entirely within the scope of that Subcommittee.

    RG-CAI has the authority and responsibility to advise JTC 1 on work that needs to be done relevant to assessment of interoperability for JTC 1 standards and ISPs. This may include IT specific interpretations of general ISO/IEC Guides as well as work specific to particular areas of IT not covered or inadequately covered by existing assessment methodologies.

Ibid, pg. 145, Appendix I.


Best regards,


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