|OpenOffice.org 2.0 - 2.3.1||ODF 1.0||Approved by ISO|
|OpenOffice.org 2.4||ODF 1.1||Has not submitted to ISO for approval|
|OpenOffice.org 3.0 (upcomming) - ?||ODF 1.2||Under development|
The problem with Alex Browns validation test (http://www.griffinbrown.co.uk/blog/PermaLink.aspx?guid=f0384bed-808b-49a8-8887-ea7cde5caace) is, that he is using a document from OpenOffice.org 2.4 and validates it against the ISO-approved standard. Jesper Lund Stocholm claims (http://idippedut.dk/post/2008/04/Conformance-of-ODF-documents.aspx) that he has created some documents with various versions of OpenOffice.org that doens't validates correctly. From my knowledge, Jesper hasn't put any documentation to support witch validation method he used nor put forward the bespoken documents. He has not even told us the seriousness (number of errors) of the 'variations'.
ODF file format is maintained by a technical committee under OASIS (http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=office). Members of the committee are developers and managers from Sun Microsystems, IBM and many other companies (http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/membership.php?wg_abbrev=office) and it is in fact OpenOffice.org and StarOffice, that is 'pulling' the development, because OpenOffice.org happens to be the project ahead in development. OpenOffice.org comes with about four releases each year. A standard specification is not work from an office desk, but experience from real world development. Therefore the technical development will be a little bit ahead of the specification work and approval. Thats how standard specifications are developed.
When the specification is ready from OASIS, it can be submitted to ISO for approval. One important condition for ISO approval is "multiple implementations". It's a question about the hen and the egg. The specification can't be approved if it hasn't been implemented and now we are been criticized for implementing it before it's approved. That doesn't make sense.
Both the standard and the programs are simultaneously developed over time. The question is, if we should make a choice in the program, that makes it possible to 'Save as...' ODF 1.0. This is of cause possible but not that simple. But should we develop OpenOffice.org according to what the users need or what the politicians need ? Probably both. But an extra 'Save as' option could do more harm than good, because it would confuse users. Nevertheless, this problem will be taken care of in OpenOffice.org 3.0. Another problem is, that higher ODF versions contains much more information and is of better quality. There is no need to use any ODF versions lower than the latest, except of cause, the ISO stamp.
So what's the difference between Microsoft/OOXML and OpenOffice.org/ODF ?
The difference is, that Microsoft Office is behind OOXML. OpenOffice.org is ahead of ODF. According to the ISO rules, a specification can only be approved as an ISO-standard, unless it has been implemented.