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Subject: Re: [oic-comment] State of ODF Interoperability ? Draft Rev 0.2 -- Discussion of interoperability

marbux <marbux@gmail.com> wrote on 06/09/2009 12:13:33 AM:

> @ The draft currently states:
> "According to ISO/IEC 2382-01, 'Information Technology Vocabulary,
> Fundamental Terms', interoperability is 'The capability to
> communicate, execute programs, or transfer data among various
> functional units in a manner that requires the user to have little or
> no knowledge of the unique characteristics of those units'.
> ISO/IEC 2382-001's definition is inapplicable to international IT
> standards and its usage has led to a serious error in the subject
> draft.

ISO/IEC 2382 is the International Standard for IT Vocabulary.  So to say 
that its use is inapplicable to international standards is absurd.  Not 
only is it permissible, the use of this vocabulary standard is 
specifically recommended in ISO Directives Part 2 "Rules for the structure 
and drafting of International Standards".

> The definition applicable to international IT standards is provided by
> ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives, (5th Ed., v. 3.0, 5 April 2007) pg. 145,
> <http://www.jtc1sc34.org/repository/0856rev.pdf>:

This is a policy document, not a standard for IT vocabulary. The section 
you quote is in annex to that policy document. You have conveniently 
omitted that the sentence you quote begins "For the purpose of this policy 
statement, interoperability is understood..." which makes it clear that 
the definition is scoped to that specific policy statement, and is not 
being set out as a general definition.


> Web pages written in HTML and web browsers have nothing to do with
> "interoperability," properly defined, because their primary use is for
> 1-way transmission of data from servers to client-side browsers. Web
> pages are not transmitted by browsers, so there is no full "*mutual*
> use of the information that has been exchanged" among "two or more IT
> systems."  HTML and Web browsers provide only an example of
> compatibility, not interoperability.

HTML is from authoring tool to reading tool.  Although the connection is 
mediated by emailing the HTML or posting to a web server rather than 
direct tool-to-tool communications, the exact same thing is true of word 
processors.  My word processor does not communicate directly with yours. I 
need to save the document, send it via email, save it in a document 
repository, post it on the web, etc. So this is directly analogous to 
HTML. Remember, there are word processors that save their documents in 
HTML format and there are WYSIWYG HTML authoring environments that are 
indistinguishable from word processors.  So I don't think you can make an 
argument that interoperability of HTML and documents are entirely 
different things.

> Indeed, HTML is not even designed for interoperability.  For example,
> HTML does not specify circumstances where markup must be preserved by
> a receiving editor implementation during processing for a return trip
> to another editor implementation.

JTC1 covers everything from network protocols to optical disc formats to 
programming languages to character sets.  I think you are stretching 
things too far to read JTC1's policy statement on interoperability in such 
a narrow sense that it applies only for document formats and not for the 
other 99.9% of ISO/IEC standards.  Remember, when the JTC1 policy 
statement was written, there were no ISO standards for office document 
formats.  You need to read it in a way that it would have make sense at 
the time it was written. 

> The last-quoted paragraph also obscures the proper relationship of
> conformity requirements and interoperability as laid down by JTC 1
> Directives, supra, paragraphs which should be substituted instead
> because they are requirements that ODF must fulfill to become a lawful
> international standard:

Remember, HTML is also an ISO standard (ISO/IEC 15445:2000).  Do you 
believe that it is not a "lawful international standard" because it was 
"not even designed for interoperability" (by your definition)? 

Could you point me to a handful of relevant international standards which 
you believe are interoperable and lawful by your reading of the applicable 
rules and definitions?


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