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Subject: Re: [office] YEARFRAC, etc.


I think Dostoyevsky said "one and one make two is a fine thing; but one and one make three is a fine thing too."  Mind you I don't believe he was looking to standardise the conclusion - quite the opposite in fact.

It seems to me that YEARFRAC is quite a ridiculous notion for a function - in a number of ways it defies definition.  The only sane reason to have such a function is for "backward compatibility" with a rather idiosyncratic Excel.  Now I am no great believer in the virtues of having 29500 under the comforting wing of sc34 (we in SA are still hoping to appeal), but I guess whilst it is there this is an opportunity to demand clarification.

There are no great alternatives here.  Should we simply not have YEARFRAC?  Patrick, it seems you are saying there is no correct answer so this is what we must do.  Or define YEARFRAC independently of the Excel non-definition?  It seems in this case that if Excel must be compatible with Excel, we have to (sadly) try to plod the same road on this one.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Patrick Durusau" <patrick@durusau.net>
To: "Andreas J. Guelzow" <aguelzow@math.concordia.ab.ca>
Cc: office@lists.oasis-open.org
Sent: 14 April 2008 08:46:16 PM
Subject: Re: [office] YEARFRAC, etc.


I have asked David Wheeler to confirm but:

Andreas J. Guelzow wrote:
> If there is no "correct answer", then we may want to decide on something
> just for the sake for consistency, but clearly not if there is one.
My sympathies because I too thought there *had* to be a definition of 
YEARFRAC somewhere. Simply made no sense to me that for all these years 
it has not had a definition. David looked a lot longer than I did but we 
both came up empty. There is no "correct answer" for YEARFRAC.

Even more disturbing, David reports (and I believe him) that banks buy 
electronic calculators for some financial calculations because they 
"like" the answers. Yes, they have no idea why the answer is produced 
but they like the results of a particular brand of calculator. Maybe 
that is the reason why some of their calculations are so far removed 
from any accepted economic reality.

Hope you are having a great day!


Patrick Durusau
Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
Editor, OpenDocument Format TC (OASIS), Project Editor ISO/IEC 26300
Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)

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