Originally Posted by Kali Yuga
What is the IDPF supposed to do about it? Is there a license which precludes anyone from forking ePub in this manner?
No. And that is the problem.
Apple has in fact been producing and selling non-compliant epubs since they first set up iBooks. With no consequences.
What they're doing now is simply saying they have no intention of *ever* being compatible. As of now, iBook files are *officially* whatever Apple says they are. Just like Kindle books are whatever Amazon says and Kobo books are whatever *they* say.
Now, Apple (and Amazon) have every right to do this; that is why I said its not about Apple. There are many valid business reasons to do it, thich is why I said the article was overstating it. Apple isn't sabotaging epub as much as undercutting its "universal format" message; saying the emperor is buck nekkid.
The point to me is that the epub "standard" being undercut by a company that still gives lip service to supporting it (unlike Amazon, who have never disguised their indiference) is something to pay attention to.
Dunno if you remember the copy-protected music Discs of a few years back that the guardians of the CD standard hit with a cease-and-desist notice on calling their discs "CD" and denying them the uuse of the trademark and logo. Or Sun's suing MS over J++ and its claims of Java compatibility.
That is how proper standards are defended.
As of now, epub support simply means the app can open an epub file and display...something...
Until now these implementation consistency issues have generally been seen as growing pains of an immature spec and that over time they would get settled as epub use became universal.
What the ZDNet report suggests, though, is that epub implementation consistency issues aren't going away--they are being institutionalized by Apple and whoever chooses to follow their example.
The question that now faces all of us epub users is how many other ebook vendors are going to follow Apple's example and what it means to the epub3 transition.
I don't think this is trivial; the BPHs still see Apple as their biggest defense against "Amazon domination". That means the top ebook vendor and its most prominent challenger, worldwide, are both proprietary. And the next best ePub "knight", Kobo, has a tarnished record themselves. Come the transition to ePub3, they might decide to standardize on a kepub variant. The epub3 forking is not going to stop with Apple, guys...
Like the ZDNet guys, I have seen this *before* in other technology markets. The closest parallel right now is Engineering Workstations, where UNIX (In a variety of theoretically-compatible implementations) was once the annointed standard and the multivariate forks and the infighting over which Unix was holiest allowed Microsoft to get in the market with Windows NT and eventally squeeze most UNIX workstations out of the engineering market.
One more time: epub needs a coherent *consumer-level* story if it is going to remain relevant as a commercial consumer ebook format. And the time to get the story straight is running out.