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Subject: Re: [office] Thoughts on ODF-Next


On the whole I very much like the proposed schedule, although I would
use the more frequent CSD periods to incorporate comments from national

Given the changes in OASIS process, I suspect new agreements will need
to be made between JTC1 and OASIS.

I would not use the CSD status as a means to allow the implemented OASIS
specifications to get out of synch with the ISO version.
For several reasons:

First, as you will recall, having ISO status is important in a number of
marketing venues. 

Second, we have gone to a great deal of effort to not only secure that
status for current versions and to arrange for it to remain current.

Third, having both OASIS and ISO review means that a broader community
has feedback into ODF, making it a much stronger standard.

With that minor tweaks, I like your proposal very much!

The six month window is doable and will make it easier to get promise
prospective users when new capabilities are likely to appear. (I have
been telling people about the metadata for quiet some time.)

Hope you are looking forward to a great holiday season!


On Fri, 2010-12-17 at 14:03 +0100, Michael Brauer wrote:
> Dear TC members,
> while we are waiting for the ODF 1.2 public review, I think it may be a
> good time to share a few thoughts how I could imagine that we adapt our
> specification process and schedule for future ODF versions to deliver
> specifications more frequently, and how to lower the time from a first
> feature proposal to a specification that contains the feature.
> I don't want to start with too many introductory words, but think a few
> observation may be reasonable, in particular for those who are new in
> the TC:
> - The OASIS TC process defines three levels of approval: Committee
> Specification Drafts (CSD), Committee Specifications (CS), and OASIS
> standards. While it of course should the objective of a TC to get
> OASIS standard approvals for the specifications it develops, a TC may
> decide to advance a particular specification only to the CSD or CS level.
> - It takes a minimum of about two months to advance a CSD to a CS, and
> a minimum of about three months to advance a CS to an OASIS standard.
> - There is an obligation to submit all ODF OASIS standards to ISO. The
> ISO standardization process itself takes at least 6 months.
> - Each specification document requires editorial work (including
> clarifying last details and issues). A rough estimate could be that for
> two months specification work, 1 month editorial work is required.
> - Our TC process is member driven: Individual TC members may propose
> enhancements for ODF, but they are also responsible for advancing their
> proposals into a state where enough details are specified so that the
> proposals can be voted on and integrated into the specification by the
> TC editors. Which means that it is to a large degree under the control
> of the TC members themselves when an enhancement is ready to be
> considered for integration into the ODF specification.
> Considering all this, it is realistic to assume that we cannot release
> OASIS standards more frequently than every two years, but even when we 
> would only have a window of about 6 months where we can add enhancements 
> into a specification document.
> What I'm therefore suggesting is that we
> a) make use of the CSD and CS levels of approval
> b) adopt a time-boxed or "train model" where we have previously agreed
> dates where we aim to have CSDs ready, and where we accept for a CSD
> only what is ready by when.
> c) decide for each CSD individually whether we want to get a higher 
> level of approval or public reviews.
> How could this look like in practice?
> We may agree that we deliver CSDs every 6 months. This would mean that 
> we would have a phase of 4 months open development where we integrate 
> all proposals that are ready to be integrated, which means that they are 
> detailed enough to be integrated and have been approved. After this 4 
> months, we would have a phase of two months where the proposals get 
> integrated into the draft. We when vote on the draft, and most likely 
> get a CSD that is published. After the CSD approval, we start working on 
> the next CSD in the same way.
> When a CSD has been approved, we also discuss and agree whether we want 
> to start a 30-day public review for the draft, and ask for approval as a
> CS. But even if we do so, we would continue our work on the next CSD.
> Where are a lot of things to consider for this decision: For instance
> how much new content we have in the specification. Or whether we have
> other public reviews running. Or where we are in the approval process of
> previous specifications. For this reason, it appears reasonable to not
> set up any rules for this in advance, but to just use the CSD approvals
> as checkpoints, and to decide individually for each CSD how to proceed.
> When we decide to advance a CSD to a CS and got the CS approval, we
> would then discuss and decide whether want to advance it to an OASIS
> standard.
> Where may of course be features that need more than four months to be
> developed. For these, we may set up sub committees, and may consider the
> deliverable of the sub committee as a proposal that we treat the same
> way as the other proposals.
> Where are a lot of advantages this model has compared to the one we used
> for ODF 1.2:
> - Enhancements and new features are available on CSD level in less than
> 6 months.
> - Vendors may implement CSDs instead of extended conforming documents 
> with vendor specific extensions. This
> -- provides a higher level of interoperability between ODF
> implementations that go beyond the last approved OASIS standard
> -- provides transparency to users
> - The "rush hour" we get when we are getting closer to the end of a
> feature definition phase is avoided, because if a proposal misses a 
> specific CSD, the next opportunity is already 6 months later.
> - Assuming that we get comments in particular for new features, we get a
> better distribution of comments by having many "small" public reviews 
> rather than a single "large" public review.
> Feedback to these suggestions is of course very welcome. I also did 
> present these ideas at the last OOoCon. The feedback I got there from 
> users of the ODF specification was positive. The slides of the 
> presentation are available here:
> http://www.ooocon.org/index.php/ooocon/2010/paper/view/233
> Best regards, and best wishes for the holiday season.
> Michael

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