[TextShare] - proposal to make a desktop-wide format for text

Kevin Krammer kevin.krammer at gmx.at
Fri Jun 20 03:47:08 PDT 2008

On Friday 20 June 2008, Liam R E Quin wrote:
> On Thu, 2008-06-19 at 22:21 +0200, Kevin Krammer wrote:
> [...]
> > I have to admit that I might have misunderstood the purpose of the
> > thread, since some other comments indicate that other people understand
> > it as looking for solutions regarding simple formatting, not HTML or word
> > processor like separation of structure and style.
> I started the discussion because I want to see reliable interoperability
> for copy/paste (and of course drag/drop) between applications on the
> various Free desktops.

According to some interoperability testing I did a couple of years ago, most 
problems had very little to do with available formats but rather applications 
advertising or checking for formats in different orders, e.g. source 
application starting with its native format and ending with text/plain and 
the destination application also starting with its native format but checking 
the fallbacks in a different order, ending up with a worse match than they 
could have accomplished.

> I want something better than plain text -- GMarkup is a little too
> minimal -- but we can't expect every application to support all of
> ODF.  The ones that do can use ODF as a clipboard format already.

Hmm, I don't know enough details about ODF, but I assumed that its XML based 
allowed readers to skip all markup they don't know about and writers to 
create very minimalistic documents if they don't have much information.

However, as I said before, I seem to have misinterpreted the intentions, I 
personally was thinking along something similar to what Windows uses 
(Microsoft-)RTF for, capable of transporting word processor level data.

> I admit I was originally planning to propose a small, extensible XML
> vocabulary that would be a superset of the markup that Gtk+ and Pango
> use today, and also compatible with Qt/KDE's HTML-like markup.

I am not sure that creating yet-another-format will be benefitial, because 
additionally to advocating it to application developers (which would also be 
necessary for any other option), it has to be implemented and shipped in at 
least the four major sofware stacks (GTK+, Qt, Mozilla, OOo).

If the decision is that a document interchange format is not needed within 
this scope, I'd say that, given the main software stacks above, the most 
logical recommendation is XHTML (GTK+ and Qt have WebKit, Mozilla's main 
product *is* a web browser and OOo can already do at least file based I/O 
from/to HTML)

Kevin Krammer, KDE developer, xdg-utils developer
KDE user support, developer mentoring
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