There is a good post by Mathias Bauer on Sun Hamburg’s GullFOSS blog. He deals with the practical importance of OASIS’s “Feedback License” that governs any public feedback OASIS receives from non-TC members.
The ODF TC receives ideas for new features from many places. Many of the ideas come from our TC members themselves, where we have representation from most of the major ODF vendors, from open source projects, interest groups, as well as from individual contributors.
Other ideas come from other vendors or open source projects, from organizations that the TC has a liaison relationship with (like ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34), or individual members of the public.
Contributions from OASIS TC members are already covered by the OASIS IPR Policy. The TC member who contributes written proposals to the TC is obliged from the time of contribution. And other TC members are obliged if they have been TC members for at least 60 days and remain a member 7 days after approval of any Committee Draft. You can see the participation status of TC members here.
For everyone else, those who are not members of the ODF TC, the rules require that proposals, feedback, comments, ideas, etc., come through our comment mailing list. But before you can post to the comment list you must first accept the terms of the Feedback License.
Is this extra step annoying? Yes, it is. But this pain is what is necessary to keep our IP pedigree clean and protect the rights of everyone to implement and use ODF. It is part of the price we pay for open standards. Free does not mean free from vigilance.
One of my responsibilities on the ODF TC is to monitor and process the public comments we receive. Regretfully this is a duty which I’ve neglected for too long. So I spent some time this week getting caught up on the comments, entering them all into a tracking spreadsheet. We have a total of 180 public comments since ODF 1.0 was approved by OASIS, covering everything from new feature proposals to reports of typographical errors.
The largest single source of comments is from the Japanese JTC1/SC34 mirror committee, where they have been translating the ODF 1.0 standard into Japanese. As you know, you will get no closer reading of a text than when attempting translation, so we’re glad to receive this scrutiny. I’ll look forward to adding the Japanese translation of ODF along side the existing Russian and Chinese translations soon.
For comments that are in the nature of a defect report, i.e., reporting an editorial or technical error in the standard, we will include a fix in the ODF 1.0 errata document we are preparing. For comments that are in the nature of a new feature proposal, we will discuss on a TC call, and decide whether or not to include it in ODF 1.2.
A sample of some of the feature proposals from the comment list are:
- A request to support embedded fonts in ODF documents
- A request to support multiple versions of the same document in the same file
- A request to allow vertical text justification
- A proposal for enhanced string processing spreadsheet functions
- A proposal for spreadsheet values to allow units, which would help prevent calculation errors due to mixing units, i.e., adding mm to kg would be flagged as an error.
- A proposal for allowing spreadsheet named ranges to have namespaces, with each sheet in a workbook having its own namespace.
- A proposal to allow a document to have a “portable” flag to allow it to self-identify that it contains only portable ODF content with no proprietary extensions.
- Proposal for adding FFT support to spreadsheet
- Proposal for adding overline text attribute
If you have any other ideas for ODF enhancements, or thoughts on the above proposals, please don’t post a response to this blog! Remember, you need to use the comment list for your feedback to be considered by the OASIS ODF TC.
Of course, general comments are always welcome on this blog.