Adobe Standardizing Full PDF Specification

Monday, 2007-January-29 at 09:56

Andrew Updegrove tells us that the entire PDF specification is being sent to AIIM to standardize, en route to ISO. Rob Weir also has this story.

This is good news, as it means that the format will continue to be available for implementation by nearly anyone. One wonders, though, whether this will mean that Adobe will no longer oppose Microsoft implementing PDF write capability in their office suite. For those of us who wish to see a “level playing field,” it was a little disconcerting to proclaim PDF as open on one hand, but see a particular company bullied out of implementing it on the other.

I’m as tired of Redmond’s dirty tricks as anyone else, but that action just added fuel to their “open standards mean ‘anyone but Microsoft'” message. When I say that I want anyone to have a chance to develop an application that works with standard office appliation file formats, for example, I really mean anyone—from Microsoft, to Sun, to IBM, to Corel, to a couple of college students at Victor Valley Community College, to a couple of high school kids at Neighbors Empowering Youth—should be able to produce a conforming application at any time for any purpose, without seeking permission, even if they decide to market said application commercially.

So I applaud Adobe on opening up PDF. I hope that they will begin looking at ways to open up Flash as well. Perhaps they could start by contacting the Gnash project and offering technical assistance, so that an open implementation will be available (which would mean that implementations for *BSD, Syllable/AtheOS, Haiku, and other operating systems could now become available without any extra effort by Adobe).

Now, let’s hope that Microsoft sees this example and begins to embrace openness, beginning with fully-implementing ISO 26300 and making MOOXML fully open for anyone to implement (and I mean with the script blobs and other hidden information that they use included) and continuing by fully-documenting the networking protocols used by their SMB/CIFS implementation.

Update @10:00 Pacific:Adobe has opened part of its ActionScript scripting engine, which is used to power Flash and other media engines.  This occurred back in November.

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