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Subject: Re: [office] Conforming OpenDocument Text Document, etc.

Andreas J Guelzow <aguelzow@math.concordia.ab.ca> wrote on 03/15/2009 
11:31:34 PM:

> On Sun, 2009-03-15 at 22:39 -0400, robert_weir@us.ibm.com wrote:
> > To accomplish there we need to either ensure that producers write the 
> > consistently, or that consumers use a more complicated heuristic to 
> > determine document type.  I'm inclined to believe that this will work 
> > if we require both.
> I find it greatly disturbing that the standard would try to force an
> application to show certain latin letters in a file name just to have
> that file to be considered a conformant document. 

That's the way the dominant operating system on the planet does it.  I 
find it disturbing as well, but it is the least-bad approach that works 
with all of the OS's is broad use today.  If you have a better idea, then 
I'm all ears.  But requiring an operating system to unzip a file and parse 
the XML in order to determine whether to show a text icon versus a 
spreadsheet icon for the file in a file explorer GUI -- that isn't going 
to work well.

> Perhaps if you weren't used to writing in the latin alphabet it would be
> more obvious that having such cryptic (and in the user's language likely
> meaningless) letter combinations attached to a file name.

End users don't necessarily need to see or deal with file extensions.  For 
example, Windows, since XP at least, hides extensions by default in the 
GUI. It is still a hack and not as clean as other OS's.  But I don't see 
how to avoid dealing with it in ODF. 
And remember, the file extensions are already part of our MIME content 
type registration.  So you'll see Apache servers set up to serve up ODF 
documents with the correct MIME type based on looking up the file 
extensions.  That breaks if documents are not saved with consistent file 
extensions in the first place.   It is all one giant hack, but a 
well-understood one at least.  I'm not sure there is much we can do about 

Sure, we could eliminate this from the conformance requirements.  But if 
someone takes a ODF presentation file and renames it with an .ods 
extension, it will display with the wrong icon in Windows, it will be 
served up with wrong content type in Apache, it will launch with the wrong 
application if you receive it in an email attachment, and it will do 
strange things if you try to load it in Gnumeric or any other 
ODF-supporting spreadsheet.  Personally I think this kind of inconsistency 
is something we should try to discourage, and a conformance requirement in 
favor of consistency is the way to do it.


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