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Last modified: November 21, 2008
XML Daily Newslink. Friday, 21 November 2008

A Cover Pages Publication
Provided by OASIS and Sponsor Members
Edited by Robin Cover

This issue of XML Daily Newslink is sponsored by:
IBM Corporation

ArisID Open Source Software Implements Liberty Identity Governance Framework (IGF)
Staff, Announcement

Members of the OpenLiberty Aristotle Project have announced the release of ArisID, the first open source software implementing Liberty Identity Governance Framework (IGF) components. The ArisID API provides enterprise developers and system architects with a library for building enterprise-grade identity-enabled applications using multiple identity protocols, and lays the groundwork for allowing enterprises to manage and audit the identity requirements of business applications based on declarative IGF policy specifications. The ArisID API implements the CARML (Client Attribute Requirements Markup Language) and Privacy Constraints IGF specifications Liberty Alliance released earlier this year. ArisID demonstrates how CARML and Privacy Constraints policies may be used by developers to create declarative identity applications. The open source ArisID declarative approach defines what identity-enabled transactions can be performed to ensure applications only use identity information required to complete a transaction. This allows developers to build secure identity-enabled enterprise applications that are easily auditable and protect the personally identifiable information (PII), such as a social security number or credit information, of people engaging in enterprise identity-enabled transactions. ArisID is the first release from the Aristotle Project, an open source community working within focused on developing a single open source API for existing identity technologies. The goal of the project is to create an open source multi-protocol programming interface and multiple ArisID information providers to allow developers to access, update, and use identity data leveraging any identity protocol and IGF privacy and security policies. With today's release, developers can use ArisID to begin working with applications leveraging SQL databases and LDAP Directories, with additional releases planned for federation protocols such as SAML, Liberty Identity Web Services (ID-WSF), OpenID, and WS-Trust...

OOXML Standards Finally Published and Available Free
Rick Jelliffe, O'Reilly Technical

I am delighted to see that the free site for ISO publicly available standards finally has the OOXML standards available... These standards are useful for several reasons: (1) They provide very detailed, public and usable information about the information exchanged by Microsoft Office products [Word, Excel, Powerpoint] including information that was discovered and disclosed during the process. For example, the exact conversion factors used in Excel for fluid measures. Public information needs to be free, and no tied up in mysterious or encumbered formats. (2) It will be the format used for the next generation of Office software... (3) The splitting out of features into transitional and non-transitional has substantially cleaned up the technology, and reduced the barriers of implementation and conversion. For example, the original drafts had two drawing languages, the out-going VML and the in-coming DrawingML: VML is now clearly marked as transitional. In this, IS29500:4 goes much further than ODF (either IS29300 or ODF 1.n) in that ODF does not provide details of its transitional keywords... (4) The ISO process has resulted in hundreds of improvements to the actual technology. For example, Excel gets a mathematically proper version of the CEILING() function.... (5) The standards provides a more adequate basis for a future converged office document standard. Whether it is called ODF 2.0 or some new name is not important. There needs to be a lot more debate and consideration of the nature of such a standard: the naive idea that an insufficient technology could be adopted as the sole standard even though it patently did not support the features required by the market dominating products... (6) The standards provide information which can be used to improve ODF whether or not Microsoft is at the ODF table, even by cherry-picking. (7) The standard brings Microsoft to the table. It shows they are aware that standards participation and conformance is a cost of doing business now: part of the cost of openness. This will be a tremendous challenge for Microsoft, especially for their development and marketing teams, because they must adopt a conciliatory not regal attitude to changes and limitations suggested by the outside... Now I have stressed that JTC1 processes involves national review rather than public review. In some nations, participation is easier than others. But whether or not OOXML would benefit from more openness to the unwashed masses, competitors, consortia, and 'consultants with too much time on their hands'—it still needs systematic national review. They are not overlapping or mutually incompatible forms of openness.

See also: the Cover Pages news story on ISO/IEC 29500-2008

ISO Document Interoperability Working Group and OpenDocument/OOXML Translation Project
Sam Oh and Toshiko Kimura, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Announcement

Sam Oh (JTC1/SC34 Acting Chair, Korea) and Toshiko Kimura (JTC1/SC34 Secretariat, Japan) recently published a "ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 Business Plan" for the period December 2007 to October 2008. The document reports on SC34 resolutions which establish a new Document Interoperability Working Group and a nee SC 34 Project 29166 for "Open Document Format (ISO/IEC 26300) / Office Open XML (ISO/IEC 29500) Translation." The document says: "SC34 intends to act as good stewards for the two major office document formats for which it has responsibility: ISO/IEC 26300 [Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument)] and ISO/IEC 29500 [Office Open XML File Formats / OOXML]. Such work is critical to the millions of users of these formats over the World. The priority in the coming year is to establish effective functioning of SC34's new working groups that are concerned with ISO/IEC 29500 maintenance and interoperability between the two formats; and to increase our collaboration with OASIS on ISO/IEC 26300 maintenance..." The new Document Interoperability Working Group is chartered to develop principles of, and guidelines for, interoperability among documents represented using heterogeneous ISO/IEC document file formats. The initial work includes preparation of the Technical Report on ISO/IEC 26300 - ISO/IEC 29500 translation. SC 34 appointed Dr. Jaeho Lee (Republic of Korea) as the Convenor of WG 5 for a three-year term. Jaeho Lee also serves as SC 34 Project Editor for Project 13250-4 (Information technology—Topic Maps -- Part 4: Canonicalization) and for Project 13250-7 (Information technology—SGML applications—Topic maps—Part 7: Graphical Notation).

See also: references for SC 34 WG5 on Document Interoperability

Introduction to the Metadata Discovery Coordination Group
Eran Hammer-Lahav, Discussion Group Announcement

"Discussions about URI metadata discovery have been going on in many places for the past couple of years. This has been reaching its boiling point with the recent discussions between the W3C TAG, XRI TC, W3C POWDER WG, the OpenID / Yadis, OAuth, Portable Contacts, XRDS-Simple, and OpenSocial communities, and various IETF Internet Drafts published on related topics. Web Discovery is likely to consist of two parts, the retrieval and format of a metadata document linked to a resource identified by a URI. There are multiple proposals for the metadata document format, with XRDS and POWDER as two notable examples. Discussions regarding metadata format should and will remain where they are currently being held. However, there is great recognizable value in a single (simple) mechanism for retrieval of metadata for resources identified with a URI. From the most basic use case of identifying which API is supported by a given endpoint, to a more complex trusted identity resolution, the requirements seems to be significantly overlapping. For many of these communities, time is running out and most are getting ready to put the final touches and ship specifications that already have running code. We have a rare (but narrow) opportunity to quickly go through the current proposals and at least set the tone for current and future discovery solutions. I am not ignoring the political complications of trying to reach consensus among so many entities and communities but I truly believe from the many hours of conversations I had the past two months that we are mostly all on the same page. All I think we now need is a room, and hence this new list ['']... It is designed as a coordination venue for the various efforts going on to discuss their proposals and progress. It is also for soliciting feedback and confirming assumptions about discovery proposals..."

See also: Discovery and HTTP

Last Call for Web Description Resources (POWDER) Working Group Drafts
Kai Scheppe, Phil Archer (et al., eds), W3C Technical Reports

An initial public Working Draft has been published for "Protocol for Web Description Resources (POWDER): Primer." This is one of four W3C POWDER documents released, three of which are Last Call Working Drafts. POWDER (Protocol for Web Description Resources) provides a mechanism to describe and discover Web resources and helps the users to make a decision whether a given resource is of interest. There are a variety of use cases: from providing a better means to describing Web resources and creating trustmarks to aiding content discovery, child protection and Semantic Web searches. There are two varieties of POWDER: a complex, semantically rich variety, called POWDER-S, and a much simpler version, just called POWDER, which is intended as the primary transport mechanism for Description Resources. POWDER-S can be generated automatically from POWDER. The primary 'unit of information' within POWDER is the Description Resource (DR), which comprises: (1) attribution—assertions about both the circumstances of its own creation and the entity that created it; (2) scope—to which resources does the description apply; (3) the description itself. At first a Description Resource is simply a claim: somebody is making some statement about a given resource, or group of resources. However, most users would have to trust the person that made the claim before deciding whether to trust the data. If a DR is made available directly by a well-known content provider that is trusted to uphold a certain level of quality, then the data might readily be trusted. However, this will not always be sufficient. Since a DR may be published by anyone, anywhere, to describe anything, an end user may reasonably want to query the cited author of the DR to ask questions such as: Did you really make that claim? And, if so, when? Would you make the same claim today? The Last Call WDs include [i] Description Resources—details the creation and lifecycle of Description Resources (DRs), which encapsulate metadata [ii] Grouping of Resources, which describes how sets of IRIs can be defined such that descriptions or other data can be applied to the resources obtained by dereferencing IRIs that are elements of the set [iii] Formal Semantics—describes how the relatively simple operational format of a POWDER document can be transformed for processing by Semantic Web tools.

See also: the W3C news item

StarOffice Adds Native Support for Mac OS X
Staff, Sun Announcement

Sun Microsystems has announced the availability of StarOffice 9 and its Asian language counterpart StarSuite 9 with new versions of word processor, presentation, spreadsheet, database and drawing software. This major update to Sun's productivity suite comes with native support for Mac OS X, delivers significant enhancements and provides advanced, extensible productivity tools for all users. With Mozilla's Thunderbird email client and Lightning extension for calendaring as part of its distribution, StarOffice 9 software provides a simple, comprehensive solution for businesses of all sizes, from small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to large enterprise customers. The suite includes many extensions that make it easier to perform common tasks such as editing PDF files, creating reports, blogging, and publishing wikis. Additionally, Sun Services can provide enterprise tools to assist customers who are migrating from Microsoft Office to StarOffice 9. StarOffice 9 is completely open sourced, with the same binaries as 3.0. In this release, StarOffice has a fresh new look, with a new start center, new icons and a host of usability improvements. Many new features—multiple page editing in Writer, an optimization Solver tool and 1024 columns in Calc, native table support in Impress, and effective handling of poster-size graphics in Draw—increase productivity and make StarOffice 9 very easy to use.

See also: StarOffice 9 Features and Benefits

Call for Participation: Open Repositories 2009
Organizing Committee, Open Repositories Conference Announcement

The Fourth Annual International Open Repositories Conference will be held May 18 - 21st 2009 at the Georgia Institute of Technology Hotel and Conference Center and Global Learning Conference Center at Technology Square in Atlanta, Georgia. A program of papers, panel discussions, poster presentations, user groups, and workshops or tutorials will bring together all the key stakeholders in the field. Open source software community meetings for the major platforms (EPrints, DSpace and Fedora) will also provide opportunities to advance and coordinate the development of repository installations across the world. Repositories increasingly play a pivotal role in the emerging information landscape. Through the format of blending open user group meetings for DSpace, Fedora, and Eprints, followed by general conference sessions that cover cross-cutting and overarching issues, Open Repositories attempts to create an opportunity to explore the challenges faced by user communities and others in today's world. Repositories are being deployed in a variety of environments (education, research, science, cultural heritage) and contexts (national, regional, institutional, project, lab, personal). Regardless of setting, context or scale, repositories are increasingly expected to operate across administrative and disciplinary boundaries and to interact with distributed computational services and social communities. It is the aim of the Open Repositories Conference to bring together individuals and organizations responsible for the conception, development, implementation and management of digital repositories, as well as stakeholders who interact with them, to address theoretical, practical, and strategic issues.

See also: the Open Repositories web site

Selected from the Cover Pages, by Robin Cover

Office Open XML File Formats Published as ISO/IEC 29500:2008 Standard

Announcements from the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Secretariat and ISO News Media reported on the publication of the Office Open XML File Formats specification as an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) joint standard. A new ISO "Document Interoperability" Working Group has been established to help align this ISO/IEC 29500 Standard with ISO/IEC 26300 (OpenDocument). The four-part standard is freely available online, or on CD ROM from the ISO Store. ISO/IEC 29500 specifies a family of XML schemas, collectively called Office Open XML, which define the XML vocabularies for word-processing, spreadsheet, and presentation documents, as well as the packaging of documents that conform to these schemas. The goal is to enable the implementation of the Office Open XML formats by the widest set of tools and platforms, fostering interoperability across office productivity applications and line-of-business systems, as well as to support and strengthen document archival and preservation, all in a way that is fully compatible with the existing corpus of Microsoft Office documents. ISO/IEC 29500 consists of the following four parts, under the general title Information technology—Document description and processing languages—Office Open XML File Formats: Part 1: Fundamentals and Markup Language Reference; Part 2: Open Packaging Conventions Part 3: Markup Compatibility and Extensibility Part 4: Transitional Migration Features ISO/IEC 29500 was prepared by Ecma International (as ECMA-376:2006) and was adopted, under a special 'fast-track procedure', by Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, in parallel with its approval by the national bodies of ISO and IEC. ISO/IEC 29500 defines a set of XML vocabularies for representing word-processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. On the one hand, the goal of ISO/IEC 29500 is to be capable of faithfully representing the preexisting corpus of word-processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations that had been produced by the Microsoft Office applications (from Microsoft Office 97 to Microsoft Office 2008, inclusive) at the date of the creation of ISO/IEC 29500. It also specifies requirements for Office Open XML consumers and producers. On the other hand, the goal is to facilitate extensibility and interoperability by enabling implementations by multiple vendors and on multiple platforms.


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