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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] Proposed Use case -- Interoperability in vertical and horizontal ODF markets

On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 5:36 AM, Peter Dolding <oiaohm@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 10:23 PM, marbux <marbux@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 11:47 PM,  <Andrew.Updegrove@gesmer.com> wrote:

>> The consensus to be achieved at this meeting must be:
>> "based on the *merits* of objective expert judgments and through
>> procedures that prevent the standard-setting process from being biased
>> by members with economic interests in stifling product competition."
> Yes that is legal consensus.   Mailing list consensus is won by simple
> and logically proving you point.

This mailing list is not just a mailing list. It is supposed to be a
meeting to decide whether a new TC is needed and if so to negotiate an
agreement as to its Charter. Mailing list consensus is legally
irrelevant. The rules that apply here are the rules established by the
law governing standards work in organizations like OASIS.  That is why
I raise both legal and technical issues.

> Threats are a complete failure under Mailing lists.

Not invariably. However, I did not threaten Mr. Updegrove. I called
his attention to his violation of the law in his posts. I did not
threaten to sue him for those violations, although I do not disavow my
right to do so should I choose to do so later.  Having been put on
notice of the law that applies to his behavior, Mr. Updegrove now has
an opportunity to correct his behavior. I extended Mr. Updegrove the
courtesy of alerting him to my perception of his behavior in light of
the governing law.

> Answer your problems.   Text longer than what you need does not help
> you on mailing lists either.

I have a proposal at the top of this thread that addresses my
problems. I await discussion of its merits that that is responsive to
both its technical and legal merits. Thus far, I have seen no
discussion by others of the technical or legal validity of the use
case or principled discussion of reasons for omitting it from the OIIC
charter as a use case the TC is directed to provide solutions for.

As to the length of my posts, when the choice is between brevity and
effectively  communicating my position, I side with clarity. I do not
speak just to the people attending this meeting. I also speak to the
record of this meeting which may be reviewed by others, such as
judges, who much prefer understanding of the issues over brevity.

In short, to the extent your statement might be read as suggesting
that my posts have been longer than necessary, I disagree. Indeed,
even with the depth of detail I have provided you still have a
fundamental misunderstanding of my proposal. My proposal does not ask
that the use case be solved in this meeting. My proposal asks that the
proposed OIIC TC be instructed in its charter to solve that use case.

In other words, please direct your criticisms to the use case itself
and to legally and technically sound reasons why it should or should
not be included in the charter as presently written.

Criticism such as IBM's expressed desire to remove the foreign
elements and attributes from ODF 1.2 does nothing to address the
present state of the ODF standard or the ocean of documents already
created in conformance with it. The apps that generate foreign
elements and attributes have been out there for a very long time and
Weir's suggestion that there are no major implementations still out
there that write foreign elements and attributes is absolutely

There is an effort under way on the ODF TC to standardize *some* of
the foreign elements and attributes written by existing major
implementations. It remains to be seen whether the specification being
developed that would standardize the foreign elements and attributes
presently being used for document settings will actually make its way
into ODF 1.2 so those elements and attributes become part of the
standard itself.

The last time I checked the ODF TC mailing list archive, I found no
indication of any intent to put the specification being developed into
the standard itself. And I also saw no indication that conformity
requirements for those elements and attributes were being developed
nor of conformity requirements specifying application behavior
necessary to convert legacy documents containing incompatible foreign
elements and attributes to ODF v. 1..2. These are both necessary steps
if the specification for standardizing the document setting foreign
elements and attributes are to become part of a lawful standard.
Without those conformity requirement items, all that we have is a
group of developers engaged in a hackfest to help their own
implementations talk to each other; we get no specification of a
standard for anyone in the world to use.

Moreover, Mr. Weir's expressed preference for replacing the foreign
elements and attributes using the RDF metadata specification in the
latest ODF 1.2 draft merely points to a further but very similar
problem that would need to be added to my use case if the present RDF
metadata specification remains in the ODF 1.2 specification when
adopted as a standard. IBM and Sun Microsystems agreed on the ODF TC
to strip the Metadata Subcommittee's work of all requirements of
preserving the specifically identified types of RDF metata necessary
to use the RDF metadata for interoperability purposes.

Mr. Weir offers nothing but vapor as a solution to my use case --- a
topic that is off-topic to my proposal that the OIIC TC be tasked with
solving the use case --- and he does not address the technical
validity of my use case or the need for the OIIC TC to be tasked with
solving the use case.

In short, the foreign element and attribute aspects of my proposed use
case remain unaddressed on their merits. The problem exists in the
real world and the vapor of ODF v. 1.2 does not address the merits of
my use case proposal. The documents out there in the real world
already include a host of foreign elements and attributes. The
nebulous ODF v. 1.2 is not some kind of magic potion that solves the
real world problem.

To remove an area of dispute, I propose to modify the following
paragraph in my use case proposal:

"In each of Markets A through E, each competitor's ODF implementation
writes application-specific foreign elements and attributes in the
application's unique ODF namespace and is incapable of writing to
unextended ODF."

I propose that the quoted paragraph be replaced by the following paragraph:

"In each of Markets A through E, each competitor's ODF implementation
that writes to ODF formats writes to a superset of the standard that
is not fully specified in the standard and is incapable of writing to
unextended ODF."

That paragraph is now intended to encompass not only foreign elements
and attributes and RDF-based extensions to the standard, but also any
other superset of the ODF standard.

> Drifting off topic and threating people don't help either.

My objection to Mr. Updegrove's behavior was in essence that his posts
were off-topic because they were not addressed to the technical or
legal merit of my specific proposal. I explained precisely why his
posts were off-topic, citing and quoting a U.S. Supreme Court decision
that brands Mr. Updegrove's posts as off-topic.

I did no more than to direct Mr. Updegrove to what was on-topic in
this thread and explain to him and anyone else who reads my post
exactly why his posts in this thread were off-topic as a matter of

I made no threat, although I reserve the right to pursue my legal
remedies for Mr. Updegrove's misconduct.

There are a multitude of people participating in this discussion who
are adopting positions without regard to the governing law. You are
among them and I excuse what you say because your ignorance of the
governing law is apparent. Because of your obvious ignorance of the
law, I have no hostility toward you and intend no disrespect by
observing that you participate in the discussion under the handicap of
not understanding the law that governs this meeting.

However, neither Mr. Updegrove nor myself are unaware of the law that
governs this meeting. All I did was to call bullshit on one who well
knows he was dispensing nothing else. In my legal practice and since I
retired, I have never engaged in any attempt to intentionally mislead

I have never understood why some lawyers believe a victory justifies
deceit to obtain it. As a country lawyer named Abraham Lincoln once
said: "I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not
bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I
must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he
is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."

I parted ways with Mr. Updegrove some time ago. I do not practice deceit.

Best regards,

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. (Marbux)

Universal Interoperability Council

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