Andrew Rist andrew.rist at oracle.com
Fri Oct 29 22:43:44 CEST 2010

  I have taken as my task to list the root problems associated with the 
use of the ZIP format in document format standards.
This task does not involve the suggestion or prescription of any 
particular solution, and includes the understanding that WG1, SC34, or 
even ISO may not be the suitable forum to resolve these issues.

The following is what I have put up on the WG1 wiki, we can develop it 
further there.  Please limit edits to focus on identifying the problem 
and not to define solutions.  (for this section of the wiki, of course)

ZIP archive compression is a long-standing, widely-adopted technology 
described by PKWARE in their ZIP Application Note.  This technology is 
used for many purposes in the industry, from the archiving and 
compression of files to packaging of applications (Java jar/ear/war).

Additionally, in recent years there have been a number of document 
format standards that use ZIP as a "container file" for storing XML and 
related resources.  For example, OASIS ODF (ISO/IEC 26300), Ecma OOXML 
(ISO/IEC 29500), IDPF EPUB and W3C Widgets.

This use of the ZIP Application Note, as an external normative 
reference, by International Standards or specifications which may be on 
the track to become International Standards, presents the following 

    * There is no Standards Compatible Reference associated with the
      .ZIP Application Note.
    * There is an ambiguous IPR landscape, especially related to the IPR
      referenced in the .ZIP Application Note.
    * There are technical issues related to the use of ZIP as a document
      package which are not covered by the .ZIP Application Note
    * ZIP is a ubiquitous and highly interoperable technology, and any
      standards activity relating to ZIP should not negatively impact
      the current use of ZIP or its current use in standards.

As back up to the main problems identified above, here are a set of more 
specific issues that fall under these categories:

    * No Standards Compatible Reference
          o Current Application Note is not referenceable by
            International Standards
          o There is no mechanism to reference parts of the Application Note
          o There is ambiguity in terms of the future maintenance of the
            Application Note (e.g. feedback procedures and transparency)
    * Ambiguous IPR Landscape
          o It is not possible to identify which parts of the
            Application Note are subject to IP and which are not
          o The use of ZIP in Open Standards (which are implementable in
            all Open Source) requires any IP used in the standards to be
            licensed under RF terms.
    * Technical Issues related to the use of ZIP as a Document Package
          o Minimum feature set relevant to all document packaging use
            of ZIP
          o additional syntax
          o additional objects and metadata
          o signatures and encryption
          o ZIP URL protocol & fragment identifiers
    * Do No Harm to the Current Usage of ZIP
          o Ubiquitous nature of ZIP creates wide reaching benefits
            (utilities built into all development platforms and OSes)
          o Currently in use by wide range of standards
                + ODF, OOXML, EPUB
                + W3C widgets
                + Java (jar, war, ear, java.util.zip)
                + XPI
                + ADL-SCORM



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Andrew Rist | Interoperability Architect
Oracle Corporate Architecture Group
Redwood Shores, CA | 650.506.9847
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