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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: Ask for advice:cloud office interoperability
Date Fri, 05 Oct 2012 16:37:26 GMT
Shortly after the publication of ODF 1.0, there were claims by some that ODF was a universal
format and that MSFT should simply adopt it, because as a universal format, ODF can certainly
carry anything that Microsoft Office then carried in its binary formats.  This was also a
factor in the argument that OOXML was not needed at the ISO level since ODF was there already.

As far as I can tell, that was some sort of magical thinking.  It completely ignored the reality
of document models and what they do and do not afford as an expression of the documents of
users.  It completely ignored the prospect that document models can be so disparate that their
perfect bidirectional mapping is not only impractical but unknown.  

There is no indication that ODF of any version is a universal format in the sense that it
is practical for all products to target it as a common interchange format.  

More to the point, there is no evidence that there is a practical universal format. 

Something else to consider: ODF is not the same as OpenOffice.  There are divergent implementations
of ODF (even ignoring however close Microsoft comes, but however close Microsoft comes is
practically of great importance).  There is no known *complete* implementation of ODF anywhere,
ignoring the features that ODF does not even address or that leaves completely open to implementation-dependent

I favor ODF being perfected.  That is not a simple matter.  The OASIS ODF TC is, in my opinion,
currently denting its spears on providing an understandable change-tracking mechanism that
hurdles the bar set by current practice and user expectations.  The current direction is to
abandon the change-tracking as it is currently, though imperfectly, specified.  

Meanwhile there is *no* scripting language or macro provision in ODF.  There is no provision
for extensions in ODF (and having a platform-independent one of those would be quite remarkable).
 These are all very practical problems that are very difficult to reconcile at a document-format
standardization level.  

Work at the ODF TC is not that much different than working on an open-source project.  There
have to be individuals who come to OASIS that can tolerant working on standards and that can
make useful contributions.  Saying what could or should happen without there being appropriate
capability brought to the ODF TC is not going to accomplish anything.

I favor ODF as a document format.  It is necessary to be realistic about what can happen in
its improvement and stabilization as a practical matter.

 - Dennis 

PS: I agree with the remark of Yong Lin Ma.  The way to understand the difficulties in reconciling
formats is to deal with the details involved in order to improve AOO's interoperability with
OOXML.  It is tedious work in the trenches that will calibrate the areas of feature harmony
and the places where bridging model incompatibility is intractable.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Lynch [] 
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2012 08:13
Subject: Re: Ask for advice:cloud office interoperability

On 5 October 2012 13:28, Yong Lin Ma <> wrote:

> That is an nice expectation.
> What do you suggest the AOO community do except improving AOO's
> interoperability with ooxml?
> On Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 8:18 PM, zhun guo <> wrote:
> > To Yong Lin Ma,my proposal is to get all office software to be convenient
> > for common user, include native office software or cloud office
> software. I
> > like ODF,OOXML,PDF or HTML. And you?
For me I'd like to see convergence to a single XML based open standard that
supported full data fidelity when transferring information between editors
whether on line, desktop or mobile. This is quite a long way off but odf
could be the starting point to get there. Other than MSFT I can't see
anyone wanting to adopt OOXML as the native format in other non-microsoft
products for fear of lock-in and intellectual property issues. MSFT shows
no sign of replacing OOXML with odf so probably getting very good filters
between odf and OOXML is the best hope. If that was achieved it would make
sense for any new software to use one of those two formats as its default
so there would be pressure for convergence.

> Zhun Guo
> --
> Regards
> Yong Lin Ma


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