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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] My perspective. display perferct?

"David Gerard" <dgerard@gmail.com> wrote on 06/30/2008 10:56:20 AM:

> 2008/6/30  <robert_weir@us.ibm.com>:
> > If users have the expectation of exact preservation of line breaks, etc., it
> > is from long participation in a software monoculture.
> As I said, saying "they're wrong to want this" doesn't stop them wanting this.

Right.  But they also want rich creamy ice cream with no calories, zero unemployment with no inflation, money without work, and love without consequences.  I can't stop them from wanting it all.  Having wants beyond needs is part of the human condition.  

But I also note the increasing move toward systems of less fidelity and greater collaborative reach.  For example, emails, blogs, wiki, online editors, etc.  These all have much poorer display/rendering fidelity than a desktop publishing package.  But their immediacy, easy of use and opportunities for instant collaboration are pulling users and documents that once would have been exchanged in DOC files.

A possible parallel.  The first person in your office who had a dot matrix printer on his desktop was a god among mortals.  Sure the output sucked.  It was far worse than what you would get by sending the job out to an offset printer.  But it was powerful, because the user could have output now, immediately, without depending on anyone else.  Soon we all had dot matrix printers on our desktop.  Quality still sucked.  But we were all powerful now.  Quality came later, with ink jets and lasers.  But it was the independence, the immediacy and the personal control that sold the idea of personal printers.

ODF is not here to replace desktop publishing packages.  We're not here to replace PDF.  We're here to do the things that you cannot do with desktop publishing packages.  

> >  Although the format
> > may not encode the details of rendering, in practice the users are
> > accustomed to sharing their documents with others using the exact same
> > application, using the exact operating system, with the exact sameinstalled
> > fonts.  When you have identical software stacks, then achieving
> > interoperability is trivial.  In fact, if everyone ran the same version of
> > Ubuntu, with the same version of OpenOffice, then I guarantee you that every
> > ODF document would render identically for all users as well.
> > However, we don't have the luxury of mandating what operating systems or
> > applications the world will use.  So we're limited to that part of the
> > rendering stack that we can control.
> People want this and will do what they have to to get this. If that
> means mandating one application, they'll do that, as they do now with
> MS Word.

You would need to mandate more than the application.  You would need to mandate the version as well.  People actually have a lot less fidelity with Word than they think they do.  An interesting paradox.  The perception of fidelity interchange, to the average user, is much greater than what it is in practice.

> So a failure of the interoperability TC to address this will drive
> people to think in terms of applications rather than file formats ...
> again. Which would be a failure of addressing interoperability.
> You can keep trying to define away the problem, but by doing so you
> will merely perpetuate it and sabotage the application independence of
> ODF. People want layout fidelity; some start does need to be made on
> addressing this need.

I'm not defining the problem away.  I'm just noting that the proposed TC is not obligated to solve all problems in the world.  We're entitled to have a charter scoped to the problems that we can actually solve.  If anyone thinks we can, within the proposed TC, achieve pixel perfection, or anywhere close, then I'm all ears.  I'm also open to good zero calorie ice cream recommendations.  I have wants too, you know.


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