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Subject: Re: [office] Motion for approving ODF 1.2 as Committee Draft and submitting it for pubic review.

Hi Rob,

  Nice summation of the exact issues we dealt with in the Process Committee. I'd love to know of any application that meets your b1 criteria - even PDF may render differently given the right set of circumstances (I know because I have experienced and documented this). If asked, I will typically recommend that a TC declare their editing format as the authoritative one simply because this is the one that the editors have actually worked on and hopefully is the one that is reviewed by the TC and most likely to be accurate. Conversions are flawed, and unless someone is going to do a b2 comparison (and not just visual; hypertext links can break and not be spotted by a purely visual check) you can't really guarantee that it is 100%.

  The real answer, of course, is a single required authoring format with custom conversions. But I don't think I'll ever see that in my tenure at OASIS. 



On Jun 15, 2010, at 10:24 AM, robert_weir@us.ibm.com wrote:

> "Andreas J. Guelzow" <andreas.guelzow@concordia.ab.ca> wrote on 06/11/2010 
> 04:15:07 PM:
>>> In that context, it means OpenDocument Format as in a file format. The 
>>> other possible choices being PDF or HTML.
>> There are various (related) file formats referred to as ODF: ODF 1.0 and
>> ODF 1.1 comes to mind, with ODF 1.2 in process. I am specifically asking
>> which version.
>> And if the answer is ODF1.2 I obviously have some issues with that since
>> there is only a moving target with that name.
> The requirement on the OASIS side is "the TC must explicitly designate one 
> of those delivered formats as the authoritative document".
> Note that "authoritative" is not explicitly defined, but presumably it 
> means that if there is a difference among the HTML, PDF and ODF versions, 
> that the ODF version is considered correct.
> It should be clear that there are at least two ways for these format 
> versions to differ:
> 1) Versions generated from the ODF version, such as the PDF and HTML 
> versions, may have differences introduced in them during the conversion 
> process.  We have seen in the past, with ODF and with OOXML as well, cases 
> where the PDF version had errors not present in the original source. Ditto 
> for HTML.
> 2) Any of the formats may exhibit differences when viewed by different 
> editors/viewers.  This is obviously true in the ODF version, but also true 
> with HTML version.  However, I have not seen any reports of PDF 
> differences.
> Now, if I were Lord of OASIS, and wanted to indicate an authoritative 
> version of a specification, I would do one of either:
> a) Fully specify the reading environment of the document, e.g., the 
> application, the operating system, the page size, the installed fonts, 
> etc.  As we know, even the same word processor can render differently 
> depending on the environment.
> b1) Allow publication only in standardized formats, where the standards 
> have full conformance tests which guarantee perfect interoperability, and 
> say that the spec is only authoritatively read when read in an application 
> that 100% passes the conformance tests.
> b2) Like b1, but manually validate by visual comparison that the PDF or 
> HTML versions do not differ in any substantial way from the presentation 
> of the ODF version.
> But no one has given me these powers, and even if they did I'm not sure 
> this ideal approach would be of much help.
> In the end our choices are limited to:
> 1) Choose the ODF document as the authoritative document.  This has the 
> advantage, when viewed in the same editor, of being closest to what the 
> editors actually wrote and saw.  It has the disadvantage of not being an 
> approved standard.
> 2) Chose the PDF or HTML versions.  These formats are standards (though it 
> is unknown whether our posted versions conform 100% with the ODF and HTML 
> standards).  In one sense they are more interoperable, in terms of 
> app-to-app variation.  But if they differ from the editor's intent, then 
> I'm not sure that really matters.
> So I don't see any perfect choice here.  Any OASIS TC needs to make a 
> decision on this consideration, and whether you pick the editable source 
> or a derived/generated version, there are opportunities for surprises. 
> Regards,
> -Rob
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