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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About ODF 1.2

Some little known facts, all of them true, but only some of them amusing, and even then only just so, about ODF 1.2, recently approved as a Committee Specification by the OASIS ODF TC:

  1. In producing OASIS ODF 1.2, we had 184 Technical Committee meetings, not including the numerous subcommittee meetings.
  2. During the development of ODF 1.2, the active TC membership grew by 78%.
  3. The ODF TC , during the ODF 1.2 work, had 76 members, from 17 countries, representing 23 companies or organizations, as well as 17 individual members.  The sun never sets on the ODF TC.
  4. ODF TC members received 14,655 emails from the TC’s email list while working on ODF 1.2, including 474 notes with a post-script (PS), 113 with a post-post-script (PPS) and 13 with a post-post-post-script (PPPS), suggesting a new phrase for derangement:  “going postscript”.
  5. ODF 1.2 has been out for public review a total of 210 days.
  6. The ODF TC resolved 1,822 public comments while working on ODF 1.2.  We read every one of them.
  7. ODF 1.2 says “shall” 628 times, but says “please” only 14 times, making it one of the most discourteous specifications around.
  8. ODF 1.2 has 72 external normative references and 16 external non-normative references.
  9. If you printed out all of ODF 1.2 and laid the pages end-to-end, it would be approximately 20% taller than the Eiffel Tower.  You would also probably be arrested.
  10. ODF 1.2’s OpenFormula knows how many imperial pints will fill a cubic light year.  But please, drink only in moderation.
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Aldi 2011/05/06, 4:05 pm

    Thank you for the article and the great work done in ODF 1.2

  • TomS 2011/05/08, 11:05 am

    I also applaud your work for and on ODF as a goal and a specification. However, this post makes me wonder if you have a second calling. Perhaps another career as a sports statistician on ESPN? While point # 4, “going postscript” offers a refreshing bit of introspection on the act of self moderation, it was point #10 that stopped me dead. My old TI calculator is only accurate to 13 digits, so I have no handy way to verify the truth of your statement. It’s driving me crazy so I am unlimbering some old tools I know are accurate to 128 digits. We’ll see if ODF can really calculate values in a range of 10^30 without rounding errors. Thanks again for the committee work and the delightful blog entries.

    • Rob 2011/05/08, 1:28 pm

      ODF 1.2/OpenFormula does not require a specific numeric representation. Obviously many implementations will opt to use 64-bit floating point, per their processor’s native IEEE 754 support, but there is nothing that prevents them from using an arbitrary precision package. One idea we’ve tossed around is the idea of having a spreadsheet have a mode where it does a calculation twice, once using the default precision and another with much higher precision. This could be used to detect spreadsheets that have unstable or ill-conditioned calculations.

      In any case, OpenFormula defines a spreadsheet function called CONVERT() that converts numbers measures between various measures. It runs the full gamut of SI prefixes, from yocto (1E-24) to yota (1E+24), for common scientific as well as traditional measures. Light year was a tricky one to define. Although the speed of light is clearly defined, we had to find a reference for what the length of a year is, for calculating a light year. Is it 365 days? 365.25 days (average according to Julian calendar)? Or average according to Gregorian calculations? We consulted various sources before pinning this down based on an International Astronomical Union publication.

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