SC 34 Meetings, Okinawa - Day 2

by Alex Brown 27. January 2009 23:59
Sea Snake for Supper
A soup of sea snake, pig's trotter and seaweed

Another day of work in the hotel: which is a shame since the weather outside has been even warmer and very sunny. This morning was mostly given over to a meeting (via Skype™) with OASIS people to discuss how the future maintenance of ODF might be handled. This was a very constructive exchange, and while there are many details to work out over the coming weeks, my personal impressions was that all parties felt confident a good solution was in reach, and that the era of megaphone diplomacy on this topic was behind us all.

The afternoon was given over to drafting meeting notes, further readings of the JTC 1 Directives, and preparations for the WG meetings tomorrow. The coming-together of a number of people interested in both OOXML and ODF has led to some interesting lobby discussions over future directions for these standards. The groovy (but as yet unimplemented) new feature of RDF in ODF for metadata capture has certainly caught the imagination: might an NB propose that this feature is added to OOXML via an amendment? Conversely, the fact that a whole bunch of spreadsheet functions have been standardised in ISO/IEC 29500 (OOXML) potentially saves ODF a lot of work/pages. Certainly any new International Standard version of ODF would need a cast-iron reason to eschew borrowing any of these existing function definitions. Harmonious times may lie ahead …

In the evening Murata Makoto (who seems determined to test our Western sensibilities) took us for a meal of sea snake: a rare Okinawan delicacy. The charming old lady proprietor of the restaurant had been cooking our snake all day (we had had to place our orders yesterday). She explained that traditionally the sea snake was the food of kings, not because of rarity but because of the difficulty of preparation. Once the snake is caught it is smoked, turning it black. The snake is then boiled for one or two days (before domestic ovens this was a real chore) and at some point the many tiny bones in it have to be removed by hand.

And the taste? Well, it was certainly not like chicken. Quite chewy (so much muscle!), and a little like a gamier version of smoked mackerel. Yumsk.


1/28/2009 10:30:39 AM #

Alan Bell

Looks yummy. Borrowing function definitions to put into ODF sounds like a good idea, as long as the broken ones with the incorrect leap year and bad rounding etc. don't get in. Making ODF objectively better is always going to be the right way to make OOXML totally redundant, leaving us with one interoperable file format.

Alan Bell United Kingdom |

1/28/2009 1:52:16 PM #

Rick Jelliffe

OOXML's equations need to get a proper module and prefix system, such as ODF supports.

If memory serves me well, both already allow user definition of functions. And the BRM introduced new functions in a way that would be consistent with a proper module system a la ODF (different syntax, to fit OOXML)

Then it stops being a competitive problem, of defining the one true function. That kind of dispute pits purists against people who already have used the function and need consistency, adn it pits them unnecessarily. Both ODF and OOXML need to allow the Open Formula functions and the OOXML functions, for maximum reach.

Rick Jelliffe |

2/3/2009 6:25:20 PM #


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