29 January 2007

The Openness Spreads...to Adobe's PDF

One campaign I have fought over the years has been for people to dump proprietary PDF files and use open HTML instead.

Clearly, I lost that one, but as time goes by, it's becoming less of a problem as Adobe moves PDF closer to being a totally open standard like HTML. Here's the latest news:

Most people know that PDF is already a standard so why do this now? This event is very subtle yet very significant. PDF will go from being an open standard/specification and defacto standard to a full blown du jure standard. The difference will not affect implementers much given PDF has been a published open standard for years. There are some important distinctions however. First – others will have a clearly documented process for contributing to the future of the PDF specification. That process also clearly documents the path for others to contribute their own Intellectual property for consideration in future versions of the standard. Perhaps Adobe could have set up some open standards process within the company but this would be merely duplicating the open standards process, which we felt was the proper home for PDF. Second, it helps cement the full PDF specification as the umbrella specification for all the other PDF standards under the ISO umbrella such as PDF/A, PDF/X and PDF/E. The move also helps realize the dreams of a fully open web as the web evolves (what some are calling Web 2.0), built upon truly open standards, technologies and protocols.

(Via Bob Sutor's Open Blog.)


Bill Hooker said...

Nooooooooooooooo!!! Wail! Pdf is information poison; a horrible, terrible, bad, no-good, toxic format! It pre-digests data and obfuscates everything it touches. (Peter Murray-Rust: "Turning a PDF into XML is like trying to turn a hamburger back into a cow".)

Now it'll be even harder to uproot!

(captcha: mpfhglui. Cthulhu f'gnagl!)

Glyn Moody said...

I used to think that. I fought with every sinew against the foul witch PDF. But I see now that I was wrong: PDF is good, PDF is kind.

Here: take this spare Adobe brain implant....