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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] List of ODF interop issues that need to be addressed -- Electronic signatures
In addition to the list of ODF interop issues I previously raised, I propose that the proposed TC charter also identify in its recommendations to the ODF TC and to address in it profile work the ODF standard's lack of full specification for electronic signatures that can be processed by any conformant implementation.
My previous list of major ODF interop breakpoints has been recorded on Sam's record of this meeting at <http://sites.google.com/a/odfiic.org/tc/Home/odf-interoperability-and-conformance#TOC-Issues-List> and is also on the official record of this meeting in one of my early emails to this list.
Electronic signatures are a major market requirement in commerce and in government. A full specification of conformance requirements necessary to achieve interoperability in regard to electronic signatures among conformant implementations of ODF and the ODF profiles contemplated by this TC.
No version of the ODF standard addresses electronic signatures. In the draft ODF 1.2 work, electronic signatures are addressed in the portion of the draft spec that deals with packaging conventions. However, the draft electronic signatures language is grossly under-specified in interoperability terms. E.g., nary a single requirement for the conformant implementation to use any particular electronic signature standard nor any conformance requirement that that a conformant app preserve an electronic signature in processing a document under any specified circumstance.
This is an ODF interop break point of vital importance in the markets that require electronic signatures to be preserved in official records. E.g., the U.S. U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce ("E-SIGN") Act require that a host of document types in both the private and government sector preserve electronic signatures. There is similar law in the E.U. ODF apps incapable of preserving electronic signatures are in effect dealt out of such markets as implementation of such laws progresses.
StarOffice is presently capable of preserving electronic signatures. I am not sure of OOo's capability in that regard. But my point here is that implementation of electronic signature preservation only at the application level without specifying the preservation requirements in the ODF standard is an area of gross interoperability under-specification in the ODF standard.
Sun already has the hard-coded programming instructions for preservation of electronic signatures in StarOffice. It would be relatively trivial for Sun to derive from its own source code and internal specs a competent draft of the necessary interop conformance requirements and application behaviors for the ODF 1.2 standard and the profile work of the proposed TC. We can then evaluate whether those proposed conformance requirements and specfiied app behaviors are app-neutral and implementable by other ODF apps.
Paul E. Merrell, J.D. (Marbux)
Universal Interoperability Council