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URGENT: OpenDocument Format's Pollution of the SVG Namespace

From: Jon Phillips <jon@rejon.org>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 17:42:44 -0800
Message-ID: <41FEDE94.5040901@rejon.org>
To: www-svg@w3.org, MenTaLguY <mental@rydia.net>

Hello, I followed a comment by Daniel Carrera on groklaw 
(http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050130002908154) about the new, 
about to be standardized with EU's comments, OpenDocument XML format, which used 
to be the OpenOffice XML Format. He mentioned that a the community needs a 
filter for conversion of SVG formats to their format. He specifically mentioned 
Inkscape (www.inkscape.org) needing a converter, and thus I emailed the Inkscape 
dev. mailing list noting this. Well, in the last 12 hours we have discovered 
that this new format is attempting to use parts of SVG in this new format, which 
is polluting the SVG namespace.

Thus, we are concerned that this *use* of the SVG namespace is actually a 
pollution? Are you all aware of this format? The OASIS standardization group is 
taking recommendations on it until FRIDAY of this week, so it is imperative to 
get things sorted out with problems in the spec., as OpenDocument is a very 
important format for the Open Source community, and especially since the EU is 
looking to support it.

Here is the spec:

Here is the alarming comment by Daniel Carrera, a developer on the OpenDocument 

OpenDocument is not attached to OOo.
OpenDocument does not include the old OOoDraw format, but it has its own
format which is similar, and was inspired by the old format.

My understanding (I'm no expert) is that OpenDocument uses only one format
for images, but they regularly copied SVG attributes, using an svg:
namespace. For example, here is a rectangle:

  draw:style-name="gr1" draw:text-style-name="P1" draw:layer="layout"
   svg:width="7.62cm" svg:height="5.715cm" svg:x="8.89cm" svg:y="9.525cm">

So it includes SVG attributes and non-SVG ones.


Here is an Inkscape developers interpretation of the spec and he confirmed this 
by looking at the OpenDocument spec:

This has to do with the distinctness of attribute names, not their values.
Please see Appendix A of the "Namespaces in XML" recommendation[1] (sections 2
and 3 in particular).

In the expanded name notation offered there, the name of the "real" SVG width
attribute (for rectangles only) would be:

  <ExpAName name='width' eltype="rect" elns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"/>

Whereas your example above "invents" an attribute not described in the SVG
specification with the following expanded name:

  <ExpAName name='width' ns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"/>

In other words, the attribute named "svg:width" isn't meaningful in SVG terms,
and probably shouldn't have been put in the SVG namespace since the SVG
standard does not define it.

If an attribute has a prefix, it's in a "public" namespace identified by the
associated URI.

If an attribute doesn't have a prefix, it is (conceptually) in a "private"
namespace specific to the expanded name (local name AND namespace together) of
the element it is attached to[1].

SVG only defines a bunch of width attributes specific to their associated SVG
elements, not a "public" svg:width attribute that can be put on any element[2].

If OpenDocument has in fact invented an svg:width attribute, they're putting
non-standard extensions in the SVG namespace...

Unless this has been somehow okayed by the SVG WG, they are polluting the SVG


Anyhow, what do you all think about this? Are you aware of this? Maybe you all 
would have some suggestions for the oasis group about how to sanitize this usage 
of SVG for their situation.

Here is how to contact them: 

There is also a weekly conference call, general public invited, toll free
number. It is every Monday from 4:00PM to 5:00PM UTC. Here are the details
for the next one:


Also there is contact info on the last page of their spec. about how to contact 
the group.

Thanks and sorry for the long post, but you all hopefully understand the problem 
with what we noticed.


Jon Phillips

USA PH 510.499.0894

Inkscape (http://inkscape.org)
Open Clip Art Library (www.openclipart.org)
CVS Book (http://cvsbook.ucsd.edu)
Scale Journal (http://scale.ucsd.edu)	
Received on Tuesday, 1 February 2005 01:42:49 UTC

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