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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] Value and danger of extensions

Art Petrzelka (speaking only as an observer) brought to my attention that singling out FOSS in this email http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/oiic-formation-discuss/200807/msg00118.html is just the flip side of singling out a monopolist.

I don't see why FOSS needed to be singled out to get the main idea across. I'll try to use better judgment next time and reword things around better or else not single out Open Source class of products unnecessarily.

FWIW, besides some amount of improper advocacy, I think I was in the mindset of thinking of a full ODF implementation, and I am not aware of any way (generally), except through an existing implementation of ODF licensed as open source, where any individual developer would have a realistic chance to be able to come up with a full ODF implementation that implements any changes the proposed OIIC TC or the main TC are likely to adopt. Secondly, until there is an official reference implementation (if ever), open source ODF implementations are as close as we will ever get to one. Thirdly, open source ODF implementations are generally the only implementations available to *anyone* and whose precise functionality is *independently verifiable*.

To the extent anything I said in a certain part of that email was exclusive to a particular class of implementations, it would have been best to have left that out. Also, I should have avoided singling out any class, as, if nothing else, it can create confusion over any legitimate point I may have been trying to make that would in fact apply to other implementations.

More specifically, a few paragraphs were in violation:

"As long as we generally apply filtering, I think FOSS may stand to gain...."

"Finally, to end on a positive note ...."

Also, the second paragraph could have been worded a little better.

Of course, these were not the only problems with that email, as some following replies pointed out.

Finally, in a general defense for the specific references to FOSS on this mailing list: FOSS implementations are unique because, separately from the product that is an application, there is the product that is an open implementation useful to any vendor trying to build their own implementations. We are not singling out any vendor by speaking about the FOSS category of products but rather are recognizing that a specific class of open documentation which is useful to all ODF vendors exists.

--- On Sat, 7/12/08, Art Petrzelka <art@complum.com> wrote:

> From: Art Petrzelka <art@complum.com>
> Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] Value and danger of extensions
> To: hozelda@yahoo.com
> Date: Saturday, July 12, 2008, 11:49 AM
> Emailing off-list first...
> On Thursday 10 July 2008 10:07 pm, jose lorenzo wrote:
> > In potentially tough competition with rival less open
> formats, ODF stands
> > to gain by being attractive to market participants.
> Extensions (like
> > foreign elements) add to this attraction. I anticipate
> a market of closed
> > as well as open plugins to handle extensions,
> customizations using
> > extensions, etc. Clearly, many people would like to
> spin their own
> > creations and useful extensions.
> >
> > FOSS plays an important role in helping interop by
> *generally* filtering
> > out extensions and so helping keep most documents in
> the wild free of most
> > (bad) extensions. Extensions should always be the
> exception. But note an
> > exception to this: FOSS extensions can be understood
> by anyone because the
> > implementing source is available. Also, even closed
> source extensions may
> > come well-documented, thereby increasing interop and
> the likelihood of
> > surviving or being codified in the future. ODF should
> always strive to grow
> > by codifying the better extensions as fast as would be
> wise.
> ...
> >Clipped for bandwidth's sake.....
> I'm not sure what FOSS has to do with setting
> standards. GPL software may be 
> the current users of this standard right now, but once this
> became a 
> standard, anyone could implement it - including Microsoft
> doing an 
> independent, proprietary implementation of the STANDARD,
> not the GPL'ed code.
> You have stopped talking about blocking Microsoft (thank
> you). May I suggest 
> that you stop talking about how this benefits Free
> Software? It is just the 
> flip side of the coin. We have been warned about
> discussions of that type. 
> GPL software has the same status as any other implementor.
> As a Free Software 
> supporter, I don't want the bad publicity and possible
> FUD opportunities that 
> this may bring on.
> The task at hand is setting standards. We are drifting off
> into political 
> discussions. 
> Disclaimer - I don't speak for anybody. I have no
> official position. I am an 
> observer.


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