The Status of ODA Implementations for the IETF ODA Working Group Mon, 29 March 1993 06:14 UTC

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Subject: The Status of ODA Implementations for the IETF ODA Working Group
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 93 17:41:14 +0100
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A  paper on  the current implementations  available  to  the  Working Group
stored in  electronic  form   on   the   UCL-CS  info-server:  


The documents in the info-server are accessed by standard  message systems,
giving a message body of the form:
where xxxx is the name of the document required.
All the documents in the info-server are available in  text  form;  many of
them are stored also in ODA/ODIF  format.   The list of documents currently
in the collection is listed in a document called INDEX.
The latest  document  defining  the current status  is  [1]  below.   It is
available  on  the  info-server.    It  gives  details  about  the  current
implementations producing Q112  ODA available  for  the  Pilot.   These are
listed below:
 PRODUCT                  Supplier   Status   Product  Availability Source
 SLATE/ODA  V1.2 or V2    BBN/UCL    OK       SLATE-yes  Now        UCL
 Word-for-Windows/ODA v3  Bull       OK         Yes      Now        Bull
 DECWRITE/ODA             DEC        OK         Yes      Now        DEC
 Global View              Xerox      Testing    Yes      Now        Xerox
 MACODA                   Apple      Testing    Beta     ??         Apple
 WordPerfect              UPC        Dev        ??       Q2 92      UPC
UCL started shipping  SLATE/ODA v1.2  in  February 1992;   this is based on
SLATE v1.2.    Few have tested it.   BBN brought out V2 of SLATE during  Q4
92.  From a user  viewpoint,  this  has better  graphics  and font support,
supports a   fuller  character  set,  and is easier  to configure;  the UCL
SLATE/ODA v2  supports only the same functionality as the SLATE/ODA  v1.2 -
because the extra facilities  in  the SLATE v2  are  not  supported  in the
Convertor.   The   Bull   product has not been  changed recently;   UCL has
tested it for conformity.   The DEC product is available now,  and has been
tested for conformity;   no other site had tried   a recent version of that
software.   The Apple and Xerox products were delivered to  UCL.  They have
not really  been  tested for  interoperability by UCL;   little interest in
them was expressed in the last ODA WG meeting.
The  WORDPERFECT/ODA   system from University Politechnic  of Catalonia has
been delivered recently to UCL.   There are some  problems still which must
be ironed out - but the software should be available by June.
During an earlier discussion,  it became clear that there was a requirement
to use a large number of National characters;  for instance support for the
specific Nordic ones were requested by  one participant,  and of Greek ones
by  another.   It was considered  desirable to use  character set switching
according to ISO 8859/4 in the long term.  The SLATE V2 system now uses ISO
8859/1;   it was not clear who else supported it.   The Bull implementation
is expected to support a richer character set on the next version;   we are
discussing the requirements with them.  No information was available on the
Apple, DEC or Xerox ones.

So far,   most use of the systems have been using X.400  for transport;  at
the  last  ODA WG  meeting,  interest  was expressed in   working with  the
Multi-media   Mail   format (MIME). Little has been done about this, though
there  should be little  problem in  sending documents by  MIME.

The Profile used in all the ODA document activities   described hitherto is
the Q112   Profile.    A  new Profile called  FOD26  has now been ratified.
The new profile   has  some  advantages,  but  that  is less important than
that a number  of  large  manufacturers  have   agreed  to  support  it for
products under ODAC (Bull,   DEC,   IBM, ICL, Siemens-Nixdorf and UNISYS as
part of  the  ODA  Consortium).    The  manufacturers  are  providing their
further  products  only   according   to  the  FOD26   version.    The ODAC
Toolkits is now available in binary form for $US 100 from the Consortium.
In view of the above,  there has been little  interest in working  with the
Q112  versions of the software,  and we chose not to have a  meeting in the
November IETF.  There are a number of FOD26 developments announced;   these
include the following:

 PRODUCT                  Supplier   Status   Product  Availability Source
 SLATE/ODA V2             BBN/UCL    Testing SLATE-yes  Q3 1993      UCL
 Word-for-Windows/ODA     Bull       Testing    Yes     Q3 1993      Bull
 WordPerfect              UPC        Testing    Yes     Q3 1993      UPC
 ODAC Toolkit             ICL        Available  Yes     Now          ICL
UCL has prepared a subsystem   that implements the ODA extensions specified
in the Addendum to   the Standard -   subject to the vital restriction that
the extensions apply  to whole documents,  not also to  the  separate   ODA
portions   in   the  document.   The  extension  had been integrated   into
one version of   their SLATE   v2/Q112  system (DOCSEC).  While it could be
adapted to the Bull and UPC ones (and possibly  others), this  has not been
done;   DOCSEC will  be  used  in  the  PASSWORD  Pilot  in   Europe.    It
supports  a number   of  security  services    (including  confidentiality,
integrity  and  authenticity  for document interchange).  The  certificates
used are conformant with,  and indeed much of the functionality duplicates,
that  of  PEM.    There  is  one  important  difference  in   the  security
infrastructure supported by DOCSEC ( as in the UCL PEM);  it is possible to
obtain the certificates from an X.500 Directory Service automatically.

It will be interesting to consider whether there is  any interest  in using
it in the Pilot.   At the July 1992  meeting we decided not to use it until
the next WG meeting for the following reasons:
 1. It  was considered  undesirable to  duplicate  the  functionality of
     Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM), before PEM had been properly piloted;
 2. It was considered unnecessary to introduce yet further functionality
     until the present Pilots were more advanced.
To this must be added a third reason:

 3. It makes little sense to pilot more facilities without FOD-26.  
We should discuss, however, whether we would like to pilot privacy enhanced
ODA if a version with FOD-26 were available.

While the attendance at the August 1992 IETF ODA WG meeting was better than
that at  the previous   one,   we  decided then  not to have a   meeting in
November -   but to postpone   a further full  meeting until the March 1993
IETF.    It was hoped that by this time  there would be  extensive  Pilots,
and that the timing of FOD-26 products would be clearer.  The former is has
not happened;   the latter  is true.   We should discuss the  future of the
group in hte light of currently planned activities.
1.	S.  Bayderee et al:  The ODA Document Convertors, UCL Internal Report,
     Version 5, March 1993.