Japanese Standard for ODF


By Rick Jelliffe
December 7, 2009 | Comments: 6

Based on a cryptic twitter from Dr Murata, it looks like the Japanese standard for ODF has been released. Congratulations to all involved, it is a good step forward to enable competition, substitution and industry in this area.

The ODF JIS has been approved finally. We trust in better maintenance by SC34/WG6 and the ODF TC.

I gather that JIS standards are always in Japanese, so transposition from an international standard to a national standard involves translation, which is where experts like Muratasensei fit in. Readers will know Murata Makoto from standards such as XML, RELAX NG and DSDL. He is particularly involved in SC34 work, notably WG1 (schema languages), WG4 (OOXML) and WG6 (ODF.)

Translation is actually a brilliant method for thorough review, because one language may require precision where another (English) allows fuzziness. Muratasensei is a strong supporter of ODF and document standards, but also a relentlessly hardnosed reviewer of its details, as you would want.

[UPDATE] Here is a more detailed note, posted on the office-comment list at OASIS.

Dear colleagues,

I am happy to inform that ODF 1.0 has been approved as a
Japanese Industrial Standard. Every sentence has been translated
from English to Japanese. A reviewing committee made 650
comments on earlier drafts, and we have done our best to respond
to the comments. I am grateful to everybody who has contributed
to this work.

As part of our vote on DIS 26300, Japan requested the addition
of accessibility features. We were aware that the ODF TC was
studying accessibility features and hoped that they can be
incorporated in 26300 as part of the comment disposition.
But this comment was not accepted and we now have
ISO/IEC 26300 and JIS ODF, which lack bare-minimum
accessibility features.

Please let me say that I do want to revise JIS ODF when
26300 is amended and has accessibility features.

ODF JIS committee chair

I hope Japanese people interested in open source or open standards will find the ODF JIS translation a good encouragement to participate in OASIS (and JIS) more. If Japanese users do not participate in ODF 1.2 development (either through OASIS TC directly, or through JIS and SC34, or just through the public comments) there is no guarantee that Japanese typesetting or cultural conventions will be enabled in ODF (or OOXML for that matter.) Ditto for Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and so on.

[BACKGROUND] What is the comment about maintenance in the twitter at the top?

Murata's comments on ODF as it stood a year and a half ago here perhaps give an inkling:

Although ODF exists, I am not impressed by the technical and editorial quality of the ODF standard, and I am unhappy with the way ODF has been maintained (or not maintained). Note: I have spent a *lot* of time on ODF, since I am the convenor of the JIS ODF committee.

I have been continuously astonished by the lack of careful reviews of the ODF standard. People appear to praise ODF blindly only because they hate Microsoft. In the long run, the lack of constructive criticism will cause significant damage to ODF.

I gather that Muratasensei has concerns that the decision by OASIS not to put OASIS 1.1 for standardization, but to leave fixes until the rather vaporous ODF 1.2, means that the Japanese standard is stuck with following ODF 1.0 and submitting fixes for ODF 1.0. (My own belief is that the OASIS ODF TC's desire to emphasize new versions at the expense of maintenance has failed: we have ended up with neither ODF 1.2 nor with a fixed ODF 1.1.) If any reader has information that the JIS ODF is based on OASIS ODF 1.1, I'd welcome the correction here.

[UPDATE] Please also note the comments below.

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Rick, I agree that translation is an excellent exercise and I am glad to see the Japanese translation take its place alongside the Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese translations of ODF that we've had for several years now.

As for maintenance, if you check your inbox you'll see that SC34 NBs were just sent today a ballot for DCOR-1 for ISO/IEC 26300, a set of corrigenda to ODF 1.0 based on defect reports submitted by Murata-san based on the Japanese translation effort.

And if you look in your inbox a couple weeks back, you'll see the liaison message from OASIS to SC34 notifying SC34 NBs that ODF 1.2 Part 3 -- that "vaporous" standard" -- has gone out to public review. Part 1 will go out for public review in a couple of weeks, with Part 2 following shortly thereafter.

The joke in your post, of course, is that rather than give the good news that is actually timely, you instead give a 1.5 year old quote from Murata-san and other outdated tripe.

Rob: I am glad to hear of their imminent solidification: the highly specific timetable you mention really demonstrates they are not "rather vaporous".

Perhaps you can share the expected timetable for them all becoming accepted by OASIS and ISO, barring unforeseen circumstances and assuming a straightforward comment resolution process?

Generally there are mandatory review and ballot periods with well-defined lengths:

Mandatory 60 day public review in OASIS
30 day ballot in OASIS
5 month PAS ballot in JTC1

And then there are administrative delays between each of these periods, as well as opportunities for deliberation and iteration. These add up to at least another couple of months.

OASIS is not a train. We don't have "highly specific timetables". We do standards work. There is a difference. If you want a timetable I suggest you go to Ecma. Evidently, they can deliver a 6000 page "standard" cooked to order and timed to deliver within any given 15-minute interval. In any case there is a difference between vapor and shoving-6000-pages-through-ecma-in-less-than-1-year. Putting your "standards activist" hat on for a moment (if you can find it) you should have some desire for a middle ground between vaporware and rigid corporate-driven timetables.

And as always I salute your enthusiasm for ODF 1.2 and share your desire to see it completed soon.

Rob: So 3Q/2010 for the OASIS specs and 1Q/2011 for the international standard is in the ballpark?

My prediction: I'd put the OASIS approval in early Q2.

As for the PAS processing, these rules are currently undergoing revision in JTC1. The new proposed changes will modify PAS approval rules as well as the processing timeline. So the exact timing of ODF 1.2 as an IS will highly depend on whether it is submitted under the new rules or under the old. Because of this "sensitivity to initial conditions" I'd hesitate to predict that end date.

I'm not sure that IS date is critical in the end. OASIS ODF 1.1 was widely adopted. I'm sure the same will be true of OASIS ODF 1.2. The approval of ODF 1.2 as an IS is of course nice to have down the road, but it is hardly on the critical path for implementers or adopters. I'm sure by the time ODF 1.2 is approved in ISO we'll be well along on our ODF 1.3 (or ODF 2.0) work, of course still responding to the occasional defect report on ODF 1.0 from Alex or Murta-san.


Thank you.

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