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Subject: Re: [opendocument-users] simple OO.org document goes awry in MS Office 2007 w/SP2 - what went wrong?

On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 4:47 AM, Michael Stahl<Michael.Stahl@sun.com> wrote:
> hi Paul,
> marbux wrote:
>> If we are to lend credence to both the earlier and later
>> statements, one might infer that KDE and Sun worked out their interop
>> issues at the application level but didn't go to the trouble of
>> submitting corresponding proposals to fix the spec so others could
>> benefit from the knowledge they gained through their collaboration.
> this claim is demonstrably false.
> see e.g. "Proposal to enhance and clarify lists" by David Faure, Thomas
> Zander and Oliver-Rainer Wittmann:
> http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/23418/07-04-05-proposal-lists.odt

Sorry, Michael, but you're wrong. I remember the "List Enhancement
Proposal" well because it was hugely controversial on the TC. It only
affects a few edge cases on ordered lists, or at least that's what
Michael Brauer said. He also admitted that it was a trade-off between
features and compatibility, with compatibility the loser.

The problem was that because of an ambiguity in the spec, KWord had
implemented ordered lists differently from OOWriter. The amazing fix
that Sun and KDE came up with was to allow implementations the choice
between using list tuples or list triples. This was so KDE wouldn't
have to write a converter for their ODF 1.0-1.1 documents.

But it was anything but an interoperability fix. Consider that we'll
now have some apps apps out there expecting list triples and others
expecting list tuples. Now think about a processing chain where the
next app to process the document is unpredictable. One can map list
tuples to list triples, but going the other direction doesn't work so

So we got a work-around to avoid KDE having to write a converter for
its legacy documents, a break in compatibility with ODF 1.0/1.1, and a
break in compatibility between ODF apps and MS Word, which does list
tuples. That wasn't exactly good news to the Foundation developers who
were developing ODF plug-ins for MS Office that could round trip
between the Microsoft legacy formats and ODF without data loss.

Short story: That was not an interop fix and it says more about the
ODF TC's indifference to interoperability than anything else.

Best regards,


Universal Interoperability Council

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