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ODF 1.2: Approved as an OASIS Standard

To quote the immortal words of Otis B. Driftwood,  “Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor”.

The day has finally arrived.  Open Document Format (ODF) 1.2 has been approved.  It is now an OASIS Standard.

If you are regular reader of this blog, you know all about ODF 1.2, the enhancements we’ve made with OpenFormula, with RDFa/RDF XML semantic metadata, the digital signature support, etc.  I’ve discussed this all before, on this blog and at conferences.

Most likely your office suite already supports ODF 1.2 today.   If not, ask your vendor when they will be adding support for it.

ODF 1.2 is a large standard,  in four volumes, totaling 1217 pages.  It was the work of many hands, over a four year period.   I’d like to acknowledge some of the many who contributed to the success of this standard, with apologies in advance for any inadvertent omissions.

First, credit goes to the editors of the ODF 1.2: Michael Brauer, Dennis Hamilton, Eike Rathke, David A. Wheeler and especially Patrick Durusau.  With a document of this size and complexity, the work of an editor is as much an engineering exercise as technical writing task.   Hats off to our editors for their their accomplishment.

Many companies enabled their experts to participate on the ODF Technical Committee, including prominent technical contributions from Sun/Oracle, IBM, Novell, Microsoft, Nokia and others.

Open source projects should be especially proud of the contributions made to this standard by their project members, especially Gnumeric, KOffice, Calligra Suite, AbiWord, OpenOffic.org, LibreOffice, WebODF, lpOD and the ODF Toolkit.

In some cases,  participation of technical experts was sponsored by organizations such as NLnet and the Friends of Open Document/Open Document Fellowship, and their support is gratefully acknowledged.

A full list of TC members who contributed to ODF 1.2, as copied from Appendix B of the standard:

Chieko Asakawa, Waldo Bastian,  Thorsten Behrens, Nathaniel Borenstein,  Michael Brauer,  Pete Brunet, Manuel Cano,  Suresh Chande,  Robin Cover,  Pierre Ducroquet, Jerome Dumonteil,  Patrick Durusau, Cherie Ekholm,  Ezer Farhi, David Faure, Jean Gouarne,  Andreas J. Guelzow, Bettina Haberer, Dennis E. Hamilton, Bart Hanssens, Donald Harbison, Mingfei Jia,  Bob Jolliffe, Peter Junge, Kazmer Koleszar,  Peter Korn, Jirka Kosek, Robin LaFontaine, Marcus Lange, David LeBlanc,  Fong Lin,  Jun Ma, Yue Ma,  John Madden,  Doug Mahugh,  Ben Martin, James Mason, Tristan Mitchell, Duane Nickull,  Michael Paciello, Ganesh Paramasivam,  Eric Patterson,  David Pawson, Steven Pemberton, Stephen Peront,  Asokan Ramanathan, Eike Rathke,  Florian Reuter,  Janina Sajka, Svante Schubert, Charles Schulz, Richard Schwerdtfeger, Douglas Schepers, Wei Guo Shi,  Michael Stahl,  Yan Shi, Jomar Silva,  Frank Stecher,  Hironobu Takagi, Malte Timmermann,  John Tolbert,  Elias Torres,  Warren Turkal,  Jos van den Oever, Alex Wang, Robert Weir,  Oliver-Rainer Wittmann,  David A. Wheeler, Cheng XiuZhi,  Panrong Yin, Kohei Yoshida,  Helen Yue,  Jin YouBing, Thorsten Zachmann,  Thomas Zander and Pine Zhang.

ODF 1.2 obviously built on the previous work in ODF 1.1 and ODF 1.0, so it is fair to acknowledge as well those who laid the foundation that we built upon:

Daniel Brotsky, Jerome Dumonteil,  Charles Schulz,  Jerry Berrier,  Donglin Wang,  Rui Zhao,  Stephen Noble, John Madden, Chieko Asakawa, Nathaniel Borenstein, Pete Brunet, Yue Ma, Richard Schwerdtfeger, Robert Weir, Zhi Yu Yue, John Barstow, Patrick Durusau, Michael Paciello, Janina Sajka, David Clark, Waldo Bastian, James Mason, David Faure, Jody Goldberg, David Pawson, Michael Brauer, Peter Korn, Lars Oppermann, Eike Rathke, Svante Schubert,  Frank Stecher,  Malte Timmermann, Daniel Bricklin,  Daniel Carrera,  Bruce D’Arcus,  Gary Edwards,  Elmar Geese,  Sam Hiser,  Michael Kleinhenz,  Tomas Mecir,  Thomas Metcalf,  Stefan Nikolaus,  Florian Reuter,  Daniel Vogelheim, David A. Wheeler,  Chris Nokleberg,  Paul Grosso,  Tom Magliery,  Doug Alberg,  Paul Langille, John Chelsom, Monica Martin, Jason Harrop, Uche Ogbuji,  Lauren Wood, Simon Davis,  Mark Heller and Phil Boutros.

The work of the ODF TC was complemented and amplified by a larger community of related committees and organizations, including the OASIS ODF Adoption TC, the OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC, the ODF Alliance, the OpenDoc Society and OpenForum Europe.

I’d like to also acknowledge the many who who submitted comments during the unprecedented 270 days that ODF 1.2 was under public review, with notable contributions from Regina Henschel, Leonard Mada, Michiel Leenars, Norbert Bollow, Casper Boemann,  Németh Lászl, Søren Roug, and someone known to us only as “Ronnie the Bonnie”.  We also received, via the comment list and via official defect reports, valued contributions from ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 technical experts, including Alex Brown (UK), Murata Makoto (Japan) and Jesper Lund Stocholm (Denmark).

My personal thanks as well to the OASIS staff, especially Chet, Robin, Mary, Carol, Jane, Laurent and Jamie, for their constant support.

Finally,  a special thanks Michael Brauer, whose diligent efforts and leadership as ODF TC Co-Chair, made ODF 1.0, 1,1 and 1.2 possible, and whose legacy lives on into our work on ODF 1.3.

When work first started on ODF 1.0, back in December, 2002,  the idea of having an open standard for office documents was radical. Every word processor had its own format, and most formats were undocumented or had documentation available only under anti-competitive licenses.  ODF challenged that status quo and shook the palace walls of companies whose business models relied on ensuring that your documents were the source of their vendor lock-in.  In some places the walls crumbled.  Today having an open standard document format is considered to the norm.  We’re all open standards supporters now, at least in words.

So a time to celebrate this important accomplishment.  There will be no OASIS ODF TC next week.  We’ll take the week off from ODF work.  But we’ll be back at it the following Monday.    We need to start preparing a submission to ISO/IEC JTC1, to refresh ISO/IEC 26300:2006.  And we continue work on producing a first draft of ODF 1.3.

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • George Cudd 2011/09/30, 22:25

    Congratulations and Thank you.

  • x 2011/10/01, 10:13

    It seems that the LISA foundation for standardising translation and localization work is not active anymore. Could OASIS take over the work of LISA (Localization Industry Standards Association). This would be very nice, to carry on the TMX, TBX and other open XML-based interchange formats.

  • David Apimerika 2011/10/02, 16:26

    Great work! But the comment regarding this being groundbreaking in 2002 ignores the work of Apple in the ’90s to standardize a document format with OpenDoc (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opendoc). I still believe this would have been a better approach than the one taken by ODF and everyone else. Unfortunately, it was killed by a lack of cooperation from Microsoft, intent on their own OLE spec. Apple’s approach would have been cross-platform and application agnostic (i.e. a spread table written using one vendor’s component could be modified by another vendor’s implementation of a spreadsheet ‘app’). But anyway, I’ll be using this with LibreOffice.

  • oversky 2011/10/06, 23:30

    Is there any odf validator working according to this new final standard?

    This website provide odf 1.2 validation, but it had this before the final standard.
    Can it be trusted?

  • teg 2011/10/07, 13:19

    I guess the next push is to get ODF 1.2 as an ISO/IEC international standard like 1.0. Also, improving ODF 1.2 support in Microsoft products like Office and Wordpad would be a benefit because Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 do not play nice work with OpenFormula in ODS spreadsheets saved in ODF 1.2.

  • Rob 2011/10/09, 10:47

    @George, thanks!

    @X, you should take a look at the OASIS website to see what is involved in creating a new technical committee. Generally, you need a charter and five OASIS members to sign up.

    @David, I worked with the original OpenDoc/Bento stuff. I don’t agree that it was a competitive approach. We used Bento, for example, in Lotus WordPro. We still suffer for that decision today. I’m glad we use markup languages like XML today. And I’m glad we’re using ZIP rather than Bento. This is not just an observation that we’ve made with ODF. Everyone has abandoned OpenDoc. So today, the idea of XML + ZIP is common across ODF, OOXML, ePub, and others.

    @oversky, the ODF Validator project has moved to Apache, as part of the Apache ODF Toolkit Podling. Now that we have the final schema for ODF 1.2 we can work on releasing a new version.

    @teg, We’ll continue work on ODF 1.3 in parallel with the submission of ODF 1.2 to ISO. But I don’t think I’d call it a “push”. It is just something that we need to do, along with other things. Vendors and user who want ODF 1.2 have it now. Those who need the ISO imprimatur will get the same thing, after a delay. But the success of ODF is in the implementations, not the standards approval. The approval is important, yes, as a formality, but we shouldn’t forget that the approval of the standard is just the public act that culminates a successful standards development process. It doesn’t create the success. It marks the success. It is like your university diploma. Receiving the diploma did not make you smarter. It just was a credential that acknowledged that you’ve satisfied the requirements of the degree.

  • Dr Greg Nazvanov 2011/11/23, 09:09

    Could OASIS take over the work of LISA?

  • Felix 2012/09/04, 17:13

    30 Sep 2011: “The day has finally arrived. Open Document Format (ODF) 1.2 has been approved. It is now an OASIS Standard.”

    4 Sep 2012:
    Napoleon Bonaparte said “Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.”, but I find it almost impossible to believe that it is mere incompetence that has prevented OASIS from submitting ODF 1.2 to ISO for 11 months following its approval.

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