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Subject: RE: [opendocument-users] Adding tables to ODP files

[I see that Rob Weir has already responded with some interesting considerations for what might support communities of practice better.  My note is sufficiently different that I am posting it anyhow.]

I don't know about individual motives of participants with regard to removal of the non-normative Appendix on "Core Features."  I also don't think it was meant as a ceiling when originally written, considering the generality that the normative specification supports [;<).

I do know that when we discussed the removal of the Appendix there was some satisfaction in the notion that the ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC could provide something grounded with regard to the actual state of interoperability and with regard to profiling based on plugfest and other results.  While this is more pragmatic than normative in the short term, I can't fault it.  It seems an essential step in having mature implementations that users can count on as being substitutable in areas of application that are critical for them.

I need to remind myself from time to time that the actual bar for conformance of ODF documents in accordance with the OASIS Standards and IS 26300 is set unbelievably low.  I foresee that bar being adjusted but not raised dramatically for ODF 1.2.  (The exception is the scorched-earth reaction when a particular opening is considered to be a strategic vulnerability to prospective embrace-extend-dominate maneuvers by a prominent player in the Yankee-go-Home flavor of cold-war that some have enrolled themselves into.)

In the long run, I favor having demonstrable and testable profiles for meaningful levels of document interchange and heterogeneous interoperability of applications.  I wager that will be the best avenue to delivering on the promise that is attributed to the ODF standards but in fact depends on the good will and attention to detail reflected in independent implementations.

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: marbux [mailto:marbux@gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 21:53
To: opendocument-users
Subject: Re: [opendocument-users] Adding tables to ODP files

On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 9:05 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton
<dennis.hamilton@acm.org> wrote:

> In that respect, there is a Non-Normtive Appendix describing Core Features
> Sets.  That Appendix indicates that the Basic Table Model and the Advanced
> Table Model are not considered core features of Presentation documents.
> This Appendix appears in the ODF 1.0, IS 26300, and ODF 1.1 specifications.
> The most likely difference in ODF 1.2 in this regard is the potential
> omission of that Appendix.

It's ironic that the particular Appendix may be on the path to
oblivion. That appendix is as close as the ODF TC ever came to a
profile for interoperability of ODF implementations. I.e., a profile
as described in the TC Charter, for:

"b. establishing a set of 'core' elements and attributes *to be*
supported by *all* implementations,"

(Scope section; emphasis added.) /1/

One might hope that the TC would be moving to making support for the
"core elements and attributes" mandatory rather than removing all
reference to them. But I suppose that would be unrealistic given the
TC leadership's obvious intent to keep the OpenOffice.org code base at
the center of the ODF universe. Thus has gone the ODF TC since its
creation in 2002.

Best regards,

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

Universal Interoperability Council


/1/ Cf., JTC 1 Directives, Annex M ("Standards designed to facilitate
interoperability need to specify clearly and unambiguously the
conformity requirements that are essential to achieve the

See also WTDS 135 EC - Asbestos, (World Trade Organization Appellate
Body; 12 March 2001; HTML version), para. 66-70,
<http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds135_e.htm> (A
technical regulation must specify [i] "any objectively definable
'features', 'qualities', 'attributes', or other 'distinguishing mark'"
[ii] of an identifiable product or group of products [iii] only in
mandatory "must" or "must not" terms), reaffirmed, WTDS 231 EC -
Sardines (World Trade Organization Appellate Body; 26 September 2002),
pp. 41-51, <http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds231_e.htm>;
see also Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade Article 2 sect. 2.2
and 2.4, < (technical regulations must not create "unnecessary
obstacles to international trade" and international standards must be
adequate to serve as technical regulations).

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