An outline proposal

Alex Brown alexb at
Thu Oct 14 11:05:25 CEST 2010

Dear all,

> Come on Alex, speak up.

Well it's a good question: are we proposing to standardize something which just meets the immediate needs of format designers, or Zip-the-technology as a general purpose archiving technology? Or are we (as Rob suggests) effectively going to propose doing both by standardizing different levels of Zip.

The original proposal that failed its ballot very much focussed on a "minimal" Zip that would work as a drop-in replacement for the file formats in which SC 34 is most interested: 26300, 29500, EPUB and W3C Widgets. Part of the thinking behind that was that we wanted to avoid accusations of doing a "land grab" or of trying to appropriate PKWare's technology. However, there was some worry in the ballot responses that by standardizing something that was not Zip, we would be risking incompatibility. 

I would observe that the immediate problem faced by SC 34 is the question of how to reference a non-standard technology (the subset of Zip used by e.g. OOXML) in a way which is in accord with the JTC 1 referencing rules. We are hearing from our liaison in W3C and our contacts in IDPF that a standard version of Zip would be a useful thing for them too. So it seems to me the need for at least a minimal Zip is established -- that is after all why this study period is happening rather than the whole idea having been abandoned.

What is less certain is whether there's a requirement for standardizing Zip-in-its-entirety. Participants in this group need to speak up based on what they are hearing from the communities they represent. Or perhaps another useful way to pose the question (this being a consensus-based process) is: are there OBJECTIONS to such an effort? Or maybe a longer-term compromise approach might be standardize a base-level Zip now, without precluding the possibility that it might be extended to become a more fully-featured Zip at a later date ...

- Alex.

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