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Before PDF: John Warnock's 'Camelot'

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the quest-for-the-holy-grail dept.

Graphics 214

Karl De Abrew writes: "In the Spring of 1991 Dr. John Warnock wrote a paper he dubbed "Camelot" in which the Adobe Systems Co-founder and CEO laid out the foundation for what has become Acrobat/PDF. With the author's permission, Planet PDF is pleased to publish the full-text of that historic document." Of course, now it's 2002, and the dream of universal display / printing remains only partly realized; PDFs really have helped to narrow the gap between dream and reality, though.

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my leige (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860728)

i am arthur! king of the brittons! will you join me at my court at came--uh--adobe?

FHS Query (-1)

the_furies (541751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860778)

I was reading the latest Filesystem Hierarchy Standard [] (FHS), which should be followed by *NIX developers, and I noticed that it states there should exist a /usr/homosexual/ directory on all standard filesystems. Does anyone know what the purpose of this is?

I get to push the pram-a-lot... (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860797)

... In Camelot!

On second thought... (-1)

AnonymousCowheard (239159) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860862)

Camelot is a silly place...

Breaking news: Debian breaks the social contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860872)

Over the past few months, the GNU/Linux community has slowly adopted a way of dealing with security issues which closely resembles the approach suggested by Microsoft last year: more-or-less systematic hiding of security problems from end users, at least for some time.

Some Debian maintainers seem to participate in this process, and hold back security fixes, waiting for events to happen which are external and not related to the Debian project (for example, other distributors being ready to publish fixes).

I'm not sure if this approach is desirable, or has the intended effect. However, I do think that it is conflicting with the third item of the Social Contract: The promise, "We Won't Hide Problems", is not held. (The following technical explanation is honored, though, such problem reports never enter the Bug Tracking System before release.)

However, I do think that the Social Contract needs to reflect this problem. After all, the claim, "We Won't Hide Problems", gives the user a false sense of security and openness.

Re:Breaking news: Debian breaks the social contrac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860913)

Watchew talkin' 'bout Willis?
you sniffin' paint cans agaiine?

Re:Breaking news: Debian breaks the social contrac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2861043)

Wow... you are so full of shit I can smell you from here.

timothy is a fag: special late-night edition (-1)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860729)

first post queers

Re:timothy is a fag: special late-night edition (-1)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860740)

great, beaten by AC scum. who's the queer?

Will you be my ashna? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860817)

Dear Sexual Asspussy,

I am convinced that you would make a great ashna for me.

Please mail me at once if you're willing.

Yours truly, Jon

Re:timothy is a fag: special late-night edition (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860800)


It's a beautiful winter morning here in the gay old Europe!

Time to get to work, soon.

I assume, (0, Offtopic)

Stone Rhino (532581) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860732)

that the paper will be made available in Portable Document Format?

Re:I assume, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2861224)

the problem is that you're just NOT FUNNY

I couldn't live without it today (3, Troll)

Choose Wisely (551927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860734)

Even as a Windows user, I'll be the first to admit that even a standard word processor like Word leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to creating a document that'll display correctly everywhere (even across different versions of Word). Adobe has done some excellent work with the PDF format, it's just a shame that it's another company-controlled format, though at least much better than the Word .doc!

Re:I couldn't live without it today (2, Informative)

barfy (256323) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860754)

Except that PDF is an open and published standard.

Adobe however, does make the worlds best tools for authoring PDF from a variety of sources...

Re:I couldn't live without it today (5, Insightful)

dzym (544085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860760)

In my opinion, it isn't truly good until it can be freely converted back and forth into other usable, edit-able formats.

Which, I note, thanks to the efforts of many, is a criteria that even Microsoft Word doc format is able to meet.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (4, Informative)

Beautyon (214567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860883)

Acrobat Pro allows you to edit PDFs, and with Ghostscript, you can edit PDFs and strip the "security" from encrypted PDFs leaving you with the original, 100% editable file.

PDFs are editable, you just need the right tools [] .

Re:I couldn't live without it today (2)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860918)

The point is that PDF is a document DISTRIBUTION/DISPLAY format! That's like saying a drawing in GIF/JPG/PNG format isn't good until it can be freely converted back to its original Photoshop/Illustrator/whatever format.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860964)

Ah, but they CAN be loaded back into the original program, or any other program, and you can still perform editing operations on them.

PDF is different. Unless you're able to license the Acrobat software plus various plug-ins, making a PDF is a one-way trip.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (1)

RossyB (28685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861150)

I've editted PDFs, you just need to own Adobe Acrobat, Not Acrobat Reader.

In this way the comparison to GIF/etc is more appropriate.

I can create a file in Photoshop and save it as a PSD file, I get layers, effects, editable type, etc. If I save it as a PNG I just get a copy of the pixels. I can make simple changes but nothing complex, as it is just a single layer.

I can create a file in Word and save it as a DOC file. I get tables, columns, editable pictures etc. If I save it as a PDF I get a copy of the text. I can make simple changes but nothing complex, as it is just a collection of character and lines.

I have edited a white paper we released as a PDF when a product was renamed. I opened it in Acrobad, selected the Text button, clicked in the body text and editted the text.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (3, Insightful)

uebernewby (149493) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861093)

In my opinion, it isn't truly good until it can be freely converted back and forth into other usable, edit-able formats.

First of all, it is editable, though not as easily as .doc.

Second of all, part of the appeal of PDF is precisely the fact that you can't edit them unless you have some specific tools to do this. Believe it or not, but a lot of businesses find a technology that allows them to share documents electronically without running the risk of someone tampering with them quite convenient. Why do you think it is fax machines are still used as widely as they are?

I happen to think that PDF's are really convenient, they even allow for fill in the blank forms that make it possible (in the Netherlands at least) to interact with all sorts of government agencies without having to go through the tedious process of calling them up, asking them to send a form to you (which they always fail to do unless you remind them at least three times over the course of three weeks), filling it out and sending it back (causing it to "get lost in the mail" (room, I suppose)). Now I just download the PDF, complete the form and mail it back. Done.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (1)

Segfault 11 (201269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861252)

Not this lame old argument again. PDF gains nothing, as far as tamper proofing goes. This comment says that you only need Acrobat.

Suppose there is a protected format that doesn't allow one to tamper with the output file. The minute this information reveals its output image, it's not really protected anymore, is it?

Re:I couldn't live without it today (1)

Howie (4244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861338)

It has a digital signature, which I assume is similar to a PGP Signature, in that it will be invalid if the file changes. Whether anyone uses that or not is another matter. I've never seen a signed document myself, although I know of at least one organisation that uses them internally to provide a 'paper trail' during a certification process.

Hardcoded paper size (4, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861307)

In a way, PDF is one of the most idiotic formats for document interchange ever designed. Who exactly thought it would be a good idea to hardcode the paper size?

At a minimum this means that all internationally distributed PDFs have to come in two variants, A4 and Letter. And you need a screen wide enough to view a whole line of text - no possibility of reformatting into narrower columns for palmtops etc.

There are plenty of good things about PDF, taken as a way to represent a printed page. But it certainly is not a good format to exchange documents that are meant to be readable by everyone.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (2, Informative)

diwolf (537997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860762)

PDF is an open standard. It is NOT controlled by a single company/interest. That's one of the reasons it's so great. While Adobe tends to make some pretty kick-butt software for the PDF format, there's lots of free Linux/UNIX/etc utils that do the same thing as the Adobe products.

Slightly off-topic, but, in response to the .sig of the parent post: It's funny though, I took a look at your website. "Is linux right for you and your business". Considering the lack of insightful and documented ideas on the site, the fact that you thought PDF to be proprietary to be understandable.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (5, Interesting)

khuber (5664) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861370)

>PDF is an open standard. It is NOT controlled by a single company interest

I don't think you know what you're talking about! I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I think there a few things to consider. My understanding is that it's "Adobe PDF" and it's a de facto published "standard" controlled by Adobe. PDF is a derivative of PostScript Level 2. It is most definitely proprietary even though the format specification is available. Usually when people say "open standard", they mean that it is a "de jure" standard controlled by a recognized standards body like ISO, and Adobe Systems is a single interest, not a standards body. Another usage of "open standard" with respect to Adobe PDF refers to the fact that it's published and royalty-free. If Microsoft publishes the Word document format, it is still a proprietary format.

The problem with proprietary formats like PDF is that a company who wants to influence the standard cannot join the controlling standards body. So basically if you don't like the direction Adobe Systems is taking with their format, you're screwed unless you have clout with the company. If you're concerned with archiving information for a long period of time or choosing an interoperable format, the proprietary nature of PDF is discouraging.

Don't get me wrong, I like using the PDF format and have produced some nice documents using pdflatex, ebnf2ps, and other free PostScript tools. I just think it's important to understand the limitations of PDF which are primarily that it is 1) a publishing format more than an editing format and 2) Adobe controls it. At work, for example, documents are stored and passed through an editing and publishing workflow as XML, archived as XML, and only rendered to PDF on demand at the end.

I hate to ramble on, but there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding on this topic. Some other people have made the analogy between the JPEG graphics format and a format with layer information like Photoshop's proprietary format. PDF is not designed to carry the types of metadata you might want in a document workflow as well as XML (or SGML), just like JPEG only represents the final rendered and flattened ("published") image from what may have been a multilayer graphic in the editing process. In other words, PDF is not a universal document format when you are concerned with editting or automation which relies on metadata that is not part of the document displayed to a user.


Re:I couldn't live without it today (5, Informative)

Matthias Wiesmann (221411) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860790)

First you have to understand that PDF is designed as a page description language (with some add-ons for forms and scripts), while Microsoft word is a word processor. Those are different tools.

Also while the pdf format is controlled by Adobe, the specs are open and available (contrast this with Microsoft's format which is a complete mystery), you can get the specs from Adobe's site and nothing prevents you from writing code that manipulates pdf files (well yes there are issues with compression algorithm).

This openess is the reason why Apple chose to use pdf as their graphic description language for OS X (older OS versions used QuickDraw). The windows page description language, is, I think, WMF. It's funny to think that the basic page description language used under Unix is Postscript, which is much more closed than PDF.

Open and available specs? Not quite... (1, Troll)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860870)

Ask Dmitry Skylarov what happened when he tried to "reverse-engineer" the encryption on that "open" standard (if it's open, why would he need to reverse engineer it in the first place?)


Re:Open and available specs? Not quite... (2)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861177)

Hey, why the fuck is this moderated as 'Troll'? Have people forgotten the Sklyarov so quickly?

Are Adobe employees now moderators on Slashdot?

Re:Open and available specs? Not quite... (2)

evilviper (135110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861246)

That was not PDF, that was their 'eBook' format. Very different indeed.

Ignorance is often modded down on /. (although not often enough)

Re:I couldn't live without it today (3, Informative)

Lars Arvestad (5049) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860978)

It's funny to think that the basic page description language used under Unix is Postscript, which is much more closed than PDF.

I'll admit that I am no expert on PS, and know even less about PDF, but in what respect is PS "more closed" that PDF?! The whole language is publicly published and easily accessible for free to anyone near by a library. There are also countless implementations of PS interpreters.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (2)

Matthias Wiesmann (221411) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861140)

I don't know the exact conditions for the use of Postscript. When NEXT used display Postscript, they had to pay some license money to Adobe. Also Postscript compatible printer often were not called Postscript for licence reason. For instance for some time I had a Brother printer that supported BR-script.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (2)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861339)

If you want to use "PostScript", you need at least a trademark license.

Of course, Adobe PostScript is not just a language specification, it's also an interpreter, and for the latter, you certainly have to pay license fees (and for the standard fonts, too).

Re:I couldn't live without it today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2861350)

PostScript is a published specification, so it's "open" in the old sense of that word. The word "PostScript" is however an Adobe trademark, so implementations of the spec have to find different names ("GhostScript", or on my HP printer, just "PS")

Display PostScript was a little more complicated - Adobe wrote at least some of the code, and the spec might not have been published like regular PS.

Re:I couldn't live without it today (2)

Kiwi (5214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860808)

I will peobably lose karma for this, but I can't stand to see downright wrong perceptions about Linux being spread around.

The person who posted the parent to this posting has a signature which points to a site with the url Among other things, this web site has the following inaccurate assertions:

we were considering using [Linux] for a great deal of future internal projects.

So you can imagine our suprise when we were informed by a lawyer that we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It was brought to our attention that Linux is copyrighted under something called the GPL, or the GNU General Public License. Part of this license states that any changes to the kernel are to be made freely available. Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money we spent "touching up" Linux to work for this investment firm would now be available at no cost to our competitors.

Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to its source code released. This was simply unacceptable.

Looking at this, I come up with three possiblities:
  • This person is seriously ignorant of the GPL.
  • This person is a troll (e.g. someone who enjoys getting other people angry because they are too pathetic to accomplish anything else)
  • This person is being paid by some company that perceives Linux to be a threat.
For the Windows users here, the quoted text is simply incorrect. The GPL allows modified versions for internal use without requiring the modified source to be distributed; the GPL allows people to compile anything they want with GCC; using any license; the only time the GPL is an issue is if someone wants to distribute a binary of a product which uses GPL source code.

OK, this is a troll (3, Funny)

Kiwi (5214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860839)

Talking to myself, but I have concluded that is a troll. I found the following gem on the site:
I consider myself to be very technically inclined having programmed in VB for the last 8 years doing kernel level programming. I don't believe in C programming because contrary to popular belief, VB can go just as low level as C and the newest VB compiler generates code that's every bit as fast.
I have bitten the troll. Sigh.

- Sam

Re:OK, this is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860841)

You fail it.


Re:I couldn't live without it today (1)

NightWhistler (542034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861172)

I found the one about Linux not having SMP support quite amusing as wel... ;-)

Re:I couldn't live without it today (1)

xtremex (130532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860974)

The original poster must be on crack. The link on his website was the most laughable FUD I have ever seen. Either he is 12, and "believes the hype", or he works for Microsoft, but I doubt the latter either. Anyway, PDF is an open format, and I like it alot. I absolutely love how KDE has a Print to PDF choice in program menus!

PDF is alright (-1, Troll)

obi-1-kenobi (547975) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860741)

My only beef with pdf is that on computers that have a 32 mb of ram and a 233 mhz cpu, it is very glitchy and you can not scroll threw... But then again on my g4 733, it looks pretty good and some companys have made some pretty nice pdf's, like thoes sydney oylimpic ones were alright...

Strange (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860843)


I just woke up and my ass hurts. I mean the cheeks are really hurting. I didn't exercise yesterday and I simply cannot understand why my ass hurts.

Next I'm going to check what it looks like in the mirror. If there are any bruises I'll get really worried.

Profound. (4, Informative)

torpor (458) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860748)

Especially when you consider that OSX now has a graphics engine based on PDF, which begins to finally close the gap between screen and paper ...

Gotta love those dreamy nerds.

PDF's Role in Mac OS X (3, Informative)

guttentag (313541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860823)

I find that the real advantage of OSX's PDF-based graphics engine is that I can create PDF files from any print dialog.

Previously this was available only though special software which had to be purchased from Adobe. Now the operating system emables me to create documents with the assurance that it will be rendered on anyone's screen as it would have been rendered by my printer.

Beyond that, I know anyone can print their own hard copy of my document without any cross-platform problems. That's something MS Word cannot boast.

Re:PDF's Role in Mac OS X (1)

Darren Winsper (136155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861124)

While it's not as easy, under Linux you just print to a PS file and run it through ps2pdf. Not exactly rocket science.

Re:Profound. (2, Informative)

znu (31198) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860845)

"Finally?" NeXTStep's Display PostScript closed this gap 13 years ago.

Re:Profound. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860886)

Nextstep is OS X except no one used it (well not no one, but not the millions that will end up with OS X). We can thank NeXt for all the innovations that have made their way into Mac OS X. There's a lot of stuff in there that Apple wouldn't have put in if they did it from scratch, but is good to have since it was pre-made by NeXt.

Re:Profound. (2, Interesting)

scrutty (24640) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861122)

Huge NEXSTEP fan that I am I still feel compelled to point out that Display Postscript was Adobe's tech,and licensed by NeXT, and also that Sun NeWS [] was doing this before Display Postscript.

Re:Profound. (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861218)

I'd agree with that wholeheartedly, under OS9 I'd either have to use Acrobat Distiller or InDesign to get my pages out to pdf easily, under OSX it's a breeze, the next step is to allow editing of pdfs in Text Edit. I'm sure that Windows will be where OSX is now in 3-5years as usual... :-[

Warnock's always had great ideas (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860758)

I attended college with John Warnock many, many years ago. Although I didn't really get to know him well, few people did; he spent most of his time meeting with the "Graphical Science" professors (no joke, that is what they were called at our school) and working on obscure programming projects. I remember one time when he exhibited what must have been an early version of the Photoshop core at an engineering fair - it had a very primitive [] GUI but produced some amazing (for the era) effects on the images he used it on. The one effect I remember the best was the "emboss" transformation - it's now a staple in all graphical toolkits and editors, but I had never seen it before his demo.

John and I haven't kept in touch in recent years but I wish him the very best of luck with Adobe. He's a very talented man and he deserves success.


Re:Warnock's always had great ideas (1)

animaal (183055) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860962)

How could the above be a troll?

Re:Warnock's always had great ideas (1)

Yakman (22964) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861007)

How could the above be a troll?

One clue might be that the troll says "I wish John the best of luck at Adobe" when this paper was written by Dr Warnock "CEO and Co-Founder of Adobe" in 1991.

less is more PDF & Multiple Master Fonts (3, Informative)

red_crayon (202742) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860770)

Another function of the IPS binder will be to include reconstituted fonts into the IPS file. The idea here is to include just the characters of a font that are actually used in the document. A result of including the necessary characters from the fonts used is that an IPS file will be completely self contained. In other words, when I send a file around the country, I don't have to worry about whether the receiving location has all the fonts required by the document. The current situation is that complex font substitution schemes are used to deal with locations not having the appropriate fonts.

Later on Adobe did better than this, with the Multiple Master Font idea --- even if a font or a subset of the font is not embedded (this can seriously bloat file sizes as the font encodings are a lot of overhead for a small document), Acrobat reader (or some other display device) can render the font pretty well because it knows how to "fake" the correct appearance based on similarities to combinations of master fonts. It's a very clever approach.

OSX, PDF, and Windows (3, Interesting)

banky (9941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860772)

Everyone knows about OSX and DPDF. When will Windows abandon the bitmapped display it has used since, well, forever? Is MS working on a system similar to DPDF? Or do they not even really regard the technology as worthwhile? It seems odd to me, since MS's cash cow is Word and Excel, that they are essentially using the same graphics engine they have always used, albeit much faster and with more features. (opponents of MS will say that this applies to all their technologies). Is it merely that they (MS) have not built their own, and are hesitant to license PDF from Adobe? Or are there strong technical reasons (besides, I guess, breaking the old software).

Re:OSX, PDF, and Windows (2)

znu (31198) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860852)

You don't need to license PDF from Adobe. It's an open standard. This is one of the reasons why OS X has a shiny new PDF-based graphics engine, instead of continuing to use the Display PostScript engine from NeXTStep.

Re:OSX, PDF, and Windows (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861094)

Well, these days they have a reasonably display-independent graphics system (GDI+), which is unfortunately saddled with the fact that:

1. It's buggy. (create a bitmap to cover your entire window, and it'll be a pixel shy at the bottom and right sides).
2. It uses a mix of pixel coordinates and real-world units.
3. You have to switch to drawing things in a kind of reverse-polish notation if you're doing any kind of transformations. For example, drawing text so that the line goes vertically upwards can get real messy. Especially when you start measuring the bounds of it.

It probably needs a little time to mature -- heck, the documentation is 'pre-release'. But for now, I think a lot of people are going to stick with GDI for regular windows development.

Of course, I'll happily be proved wrong.


Very useful (2, Informative)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860793)

..and it would seem to be a solid alternative to the office/printer problem on Linux. Color printing on Linux remains a problem for some printer models (although this is improving). Any office suite is limited in use without the ability to print *correctly* from Linux. The need for the Windows printer driver is very inconvenient.

However, once one learns LyX, it would seem, one can author documents at least (with color graphics, no less) on Linux in a format that can be exported to either PDF or HTML, and viewed or printed on any platform with a PDF viewer, including eBooks, Linux, Mac and Windows. This makes things far more convenient.

so.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860801)

why does ps2pdf still suck?

They Certainly Changed the Sales Plans (2, Interesting)

herbierobinson (183222) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860804)

Note that the paper indicates they were originally planning on selling the viewers. I'll bet there is an internal political story there...

I assume they eventually got paid for including it in the printer drivers in Mac OS and Windows, but initially, they were just giving it away. In fact, they also gave away the rendering tools to just about everybody who owned another Adobe product. Of course the net result was that it quickly became indispensable.

Re:They Certainly Changed the Sales Plans (1)

LL (20038) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860995)

Ahhh ... the good ol' days of font wars between Adobe and MS. I believe that one unintended side-effect (at least I hope so otherwise it would indicate some really devious business thinking) was that by making acroread ubiquitous, they effectively controlled the pathway to the printer. All their publishing products can suppress printing/cut&pasting and those rules are enforced by acroread. Hence by giving away their viewers, they effectively created a distribution channel for PDF files that required comparatively expensive authoriing tools ... it is a heck of lot easier selling 10,000 $500 packages than trying to flog 1,000,000 $5 viewers.

The puzzling thing is why they don't produce unix versions of their latest acroread versions. This opens up a gap in their product range which open-source viewers could potentially evolve to bypass any protection scheme.


Re:They Certainly Changed the Sales Plans (1)

yora (254503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861072)

Note that the paper indicates they were originally planning on selling the viewers. I'll bet there is an internal political story there.

In fact, Adobe initially used to sell the Acrobat Reader software for something like $99. I don't remember the exact ammount, but there was a charge. This was changed in the later versions of Acrobat Reader.

In fact the initial target market for Acrobat was internal corporate documentation in a mixed computing environment. It was only later that Adobe decided to give out the Acrobat Reader for free and turned PDF into what it is today

Brilliant (0, Flamebait)

baron000 (551941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860821)

If you are reading this post, and you have not read the document yet, read the document it is a must read; not only is it informative, but it is interesting.

Its nice for what it does, but hardly a revolution (4, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860829)

The main problem I see is that its designed to reproduce print-like quality, which is great for when you need a hard copy, but the trend to turn PDF into a lazy man's HTML is definately for the worse.

First, the filesize is ridiculous.

The interface needs a lot of work, unless I have a scrolling mouse I won't even bother reading one. The little hand widget must go. Also, I don't want to have to resize my screen to be able to read half the poorly produced PDFs out there. No use in jumping to the next page when I can only display 2/3 of the current one. So back to the little hand.

They're non-editable for the most part once you make them.

They are in a closed format and controlled by a litigious company unafraid to use the DMCA for their own questionable ends.

The plug-ins are notoriously buggy.

Its great for sending something straight to the laser printer, but as an on-line advance it really just stinks.

Re:Its nice for what it does, but hardly a revolut (2)

banky (9941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860881)

>First, the filesize is ridiculous.
Yes, but personally, I see it as a trend; Moore's Law, HD technology, and better broadband will make this trivial.

>The interface needs a lot of work
Eh, its just an implementation detail, isn't it?

>They're non-editable for the most part once you make them.
Only because Adobe wants to charge a lot for Acrobat. Were PDF as common as .DOC, you'd see more of a slant towards editing them.

>They are in a closed format
Isn't the actual format open? For instance, xPDF isn't a hack, it uses the open specs, right?

>controlled by a litigious company unafraid to use the DMCA for their own questionable ends.
Yeah, no argument there.

>The plug-ins are notoriously buggy.
Another implementation detail. Fix the plugins. I am not aware of something specific to PDF that causes that.

Re:Its nice for what it does, but hardly a revolut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860940)

This is a score 4 post on a technical forum and he doesn't know the difference between PDF and Acrobat.

Re:Its nice for what it does, but hardly a revolut (2)

cowboy junkie (35926) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861100)

First, the filesize is ridiculous.

I dunno - the complete 423 page manual for Macromedia's Fireworks (with tons of embedded graphics) is about 6.5 megs and the print quality is light years ahead of the same document reproduced in HTML. That doesn't seem outrageous to me.

They're non-editable for the most part once you make them.

I think you're truly asking for magic software that can take input from any existing application, make it universally readable while retaining the formatting and also allow you to make changes to the complex formatting within the document.

PDF is revolutionary because it enables organizations to easily take documents intended for print and quickly/cheaply make them freely available electronically for a multitude of users. Think of all of the forms, manuals, etc. that are now available because they could just run it through Acrobat.

Re:Its nice for what it does, but hardly a revolut (2, Informative)

martinschrder (21036) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861105)

First, the filesize is ridiculous.
Compared to what? XML and DOC are usually larger. PDF provides compression (lzw,flate) and the overhead of the file format is relativly small.
The interface needs a lot of work, unless I have a scrolling mouse I won't even bother reading one. The little hand widget must go. Also, I don't want to have to resize my screen to be able to read half the poorly produced PDFs out there. No use in jumping to the next page when I can only display 2/3 of the current one. So back to the little hand.
Is this a critic of the Portable Document Format? You are talking about a specific viewer on a specific plattform for that; there are other viewers available (e.g. xpdf, gv, gsview). And even the Acrobat Reader has keyboard interface. You might want to read the manual.
They're non-editable for the most part once you make them.
PDF was never intended to be editable (You would know that if you had read the original paper [] ). It's for viewing and sending to the printer. And you can add comments to it. It's great for sending to the printer (or printing house) because it's (in a way) simplified PostScript with all fonts attached.
They are in a closed format and controlled by a litigious company unafraid to use the DMCA for their own questionable ends.
PDF is a proprietary open format which can be extended by everyone (you should really check the specification [] ). And there will be an ISO version of it: PDF/X [] .
The plug-ins are notoriously buggy.
And this is a problem of the file format? Or are you talking about the reader working as a plug-in in your browser? Because the Acrobat plug-ins we use are not "notoriously buggy".
Its great for sending something straight to the laser printer, but as an on-line advance it really just stinks.
Show us something better for on-line reading with perfect layout and graphics that prints as intended. XHTML with CSS2? Where do I get a viewer for that that's as small and fast as Acrobat Reader?

P.S.:And this has a score of 4? :-(

Re:Its nice for what it does, but hardly a revolut (3, Informative)

anpe (217106) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861111)

I'm no Adobe fan, but I've been working on PDF format for a few years and I found it great.

First, the filesize is ridiculous.

If you're comparing to plain text, yes. Otherwise, PDF have a built-in format that allows the producer to compress the PDF's streams (ie text and images) with a LZW algorithm.

They are in a closed format

These are java libraries for creating and editing PDFs :

pj [] [Open Source, GPL]
Big Faceless [] [Commercial w/ Evaluation]
retepPDF [] [Open Source, LGPL]
Java Pdf Library [] [Open Source, LGPL]
PDFGo [] [commercial]
rugPDF0.20 [] [Open Source, LGPL]

By the way the closed format has an open specification : cs/PDFRef.pdf []

NO, NO, NO (3, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861289)

You're right in the fact that it is ridiculous, but for the wrong reasons....

With HTML, the page contures and changes to match your environment. Width, Height, Font, Color, etc.

If a web page made up of PDFs is designed on a 1024x768 screen, anyone with a 640x480 screen is really screwed. Imagine Lynx trying to read PDFs!

PDFs are great for documents that WILL be printed on a standard and consisten sized media (letter-sized paper) but it's serious drawbacks are that it doesn't scale, resize, change fonts etc. Try printing an A4 PDF on letter-sized paper, or vice versa.

In fact, I've seen PDFs made quite badly. The problem is, the creator holds all the cards, and the user is screwed. With some PDFs, the designers use damn tiny fonts, and huge margins, making the printout look like With HTML, we can override the font settings, we set the margins, and in general, the user simply controls exactly how they want it.

That's the difference. PDFs put the creator in too-much control, and HTML puts the end user's in total control.

Screw PDF, I like HTML.

I never liked PDF (0, Flamebait)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860830)

It has all the disadvantages of online and printed documentation rolled into one.

Re:I never liked PDF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2861296)

I wish this would get modded-up. It's quite true, just unfairly moderated by people that don't want to hear about PDF's shortcommings.

So, which path did they take? (1)

sasha328 (203458) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860840)

John Warnock said there were two paths, one is to use Display Postscript, and the other is to use Interchange Postscript.
It sounds like they went with IPS, but how divergent from Postscrip is PDF (or Acrobat Exchange format)? Also, does anyone know if anyone other than Apple uses Display Postscript?

Display Ghostscript (2, Informative)

krmt (91422) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861036)

There is actually a free DPS library for X. It's made by Aladdin, the people who brought you Ghostscript, and the package itself is called Display Ghostscript.

It's actually not complete, and I don't know what's going on with it currently. I had seriously toyed with the idea of writing a window manager based off the library, a la' OSX, but from what I gathered the lib wasn't quite in a useable state. You can get it on debian via "apt-get install libdps" and there are dev packages too.

I would seriously love to see someone (particularly the Windowmaker & GNUStep team, as it fits them best) create my project of the DPS window manager and Widget set. I don't know how useful it would be, but I think it would definitely compel people to move forward. The URL for DPS programming info is here [] , if anyone is interested.

Re:So, which path did they take? (1)

gr (4059) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861255)

Also, does anyone know if anyone other than Apple uses Display Postscript?

OpenWindows (under Sun Solaris) can, NeXTStep does (but I'm presuming that's what you mean by Apple), some SGI Irix X stuff can.


xxSOUL_EATERxx (549142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860848)

it is important to structure Camelot components so that they can be sold in ways that are useful to the corporations (emphasis mine)

. If someone produced a CD-ROM with "maps of the world" on it, then one can imagine selling a retail package with one viewer and the CD-ROM. (emphasis mine)

. In any event corporations should be interested in site-licensing arrangements

...they start with a genuinely innovative idea (using the rebinding features of the PostScript language to develop documents that can do not require the complete PS parser to be read,thus vastly improving portability, as a much smaller reader application compatible with any IPS can then be distributed), and all they can think about is the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR.

What about truth? What about freedom?! What about human rights, or helping developing countries? ANY hint of idealism is shunted aside. The glorious implications of "Camelot" have been abandoned along with the name, and Adobe is today just another software behemoth slugging it out with the Micro$oft gorilla. Sometimes it's too easy to be cynical.


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860920)

*LOL* Human right violation my ass :)

So, if a car-company require you to pay for their products your human rights have been violated?

It's not like adobe is forcing you to buy their products, are they?

It's just like everything else that is produced on the planet, I spend a bunch on millions of developing something and if you want it you have to pay your share. Ofcause nothing forces you to be a part, you can always go elseware.

Socialist scum...


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860954)

I guess you are one of them who links your "right" to warez mp3's (the music is the result of hard work) with aids in Africa?


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860850)

Okay, how do I page number a document starting on page 3 and labeling it page 1 (without having any page numbers whatsoever on page 1 and 2)? So page 3 would be called page 1, page 4 would be called page 2 and so on. I cannot do this manually because the document is very long. Oh, this is in Microsoft Word 2000.

All help will be greatly appreciated because this is for a worthy cause.

Thank you, and God bless.

Re: John Warnock's `Camelot' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860855)

the dream of universal display / printing remains only partly realized; PDFs really have helped to narrow the gap between dream and reality

Fuck you.


Q/A (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860863)

If only Distiller wouldn't crash Win2k oh so often...
And even when it doesn't bluescreen in my experience it's better to reboot it after generation of a bunch of PDFs just to be sure that the mess in kernel structures Distiller driver (usually) causes does not stay there.

Re:Q/A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2861031)

I can't really see the usefulness of PDF. All of our printers handle Postscript, none of them handle PDF with conversion. We use Solaris and Linux boxes, and have three conversion utilities to choose from: Acroread, xpdf, and ghostview. I think I have encountered files which fail on all combinations of them, i.e. some work in Acroread which fail on xpdf, and vice-versa, and some fail on both, but work with gv. Whenever I get an PDF document, I know I'm going to have trouble.

This Post Intentionally Left Blank (2, Interesting)

pheph (234655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860864)

... or how printing is highly overrated and I'd rather use hyperlinks than (see page 41). I don't quite see how PDF is better than a regular markup language, a manual or technical paper isn't a work of art. Why does it need to look exactly the same. I'm looking for information, not a breathtaking setup of paragraphs. Why not do it in html?

And will someone please tell me what's up with those "This page intentionally left blank". Not only is it contradictive, but a waste of paper/time/etc.

Re:This Post Intentionally Left Blank (2)

evilviper (135110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861315)

I second that anti-PDF notion... PDF puts full control in the hands of the creators and practically no control in the hands of the users. HTML will look damn good at any resolution, in the font I choose, with or without images as I see fit, with the margins that I want it to have.

My favorite page was a right-to-the point message on a Government intern application:

"This Page is Blank".

Now mind you, because it was an offical document, it means the offical opinion of the US Government is: that page is Blank!

It just reminds me of going up to an officer at some military facility and getting direction to Area 51. Area 51 may not exist according to the government, but you can get directions to it by offical government personell.

Jews Had To Be Good For Something (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860869)

Alright I was reading a couple stories and I just decided to share this little
story about the time I hit it with a Jew girl using deception and cunning. LOL.
I mean it's not real hard to act like another person or make others believe you

When I was a senior in high school last year not long before my 18th birthday I
was just cruising through school. After we changed classes at the end of second
semester I got into a class with this really hot girl named Cindy who I was
sitting by in the seating chart, well I knew from the first day I was gonna try
and hit it with this girl, but I didn't think it would be nearly as complicated
as it turned out. One day in class we had to pair up and do this project (it was
history class) and it was on the Cold War, well into the convo we started
talking about those Jew Rosenberg's selling the atom bomb and I said "well what
the hell do you expect for those fucking kikes?" and she looked at me and said
"what did you just say?" and I repeated myself and she said, "You ignorant
asshole I'm Jewish," and I looked at her and said, "Well sux to be you" and
started laughing. Well we didn't talk the rest of the project, I just let her do
the work then I guess to be a dick I acted like I was scratching my arm and
pulled up the sleeve to show my Neo-Nazi tattoo to her (I am a proud and loyal
NNLR member) and she said, "I can't believe I am sitting next to a Nazi," and I
was like, "I am unfortunately not a Nazi, I missed the good old days," and
started laughing and man was she pissed.

To go on, well we went through the next few weeks barely saying anything to each
other and me and A.J. (a fellow NNLR in my class) would sometimes say some shit
to her. Well it pissed her off enough to try and get her boyfriend after me so
he came up to my table and asked me about some shit and I ended fucking him up
in the lunch room, I mean it was a weak fight with some Jew-loving soccer player
against me a pure Aryan linebacker. LOL. I ended up getting 10 days out for
drawing blood and I just cruised through that easy as hell.

When I came back I found out that sometime when I was gone she had broken up
with her boyfriend. I am not sure why, but it figures he gets his ass beat for
her and she dumps him later for something. Typical Jew. In class, she eyes me
when I sat down and didn't say anything to me, I started razzing her and was
like, "how's you boyfriend doing?" and she's like, "I am not going out with him
anymore but I am sure he's doing fine," and I said, "broke up with him after he
gets his ass beaten for you, that some kind of Hebrew thing?" and she said, "Oh
shut up you asshole, I am so tired of hearing you talk about that," and I razzed
her a little longer. Anyways, later in the month we had a project we had to do
out of class, and it had to be with my desk partner she was mad, but she's a
crazy A student and she asked me, "Well do you want to do the assignment at my
house or yours?" and I said, "Well I am not allowed to have Jews at my house"
and me and AJ started laughing, I was like, "Why don't you just do it?" and she
said, "'cause you're not getting an A for my work," so we ended up going to her
house well it's a typical Hebe home, with the 8 candle stuff and I knocked on
the door and her mom answered, "Hi, are you Luke?" and I was like, "In the
flesh," she said, "Come on in Cindy is in her room," and I looked around and saw
all this Jew stuff and I sort of scoffed, anyway I went to her room and she's
like, "Alright lets get started," and I was just looking around, "I don't think
I'll be able to concentrate in this Yid hol,e" and she's like, "Well then I'll
tell Mr. Deen that you didn't do anything," so I had to sit there and figure out
the project with her.

I wasn't really doing anything but nodding when she said something. While I was
sitting there I was scoping her and thinking what it would be like to get a
piece of Jew ass, I was thinking it the whole time I mean is there really
anything wrong with using one for sex? I mean not dating just fucking? and I
thought about that the whole time.

The night after I went home I was looking at my ceiling and thinking the whole
night on how to fuck Cindy, I was going over some ways and though well maybe
I'll be like in the movies and act like I changed and then after I fuck her,
just tell the bitch about it and break her little kick heart. LOL. I talked it
over with Tom, AJ, and Rob, they all wondered why I wanted to fuck the Jew, but
they knew she was hot and stuff. I decided to act like I didn't want to be a
NNLR anymore and have like AJ and them act like I changed in front of her. Not
to go into much detail, but it was a good plan to tap that ass.

At school the next day I went over to her and was like, "How you doing?" She
seemed a little surprised, "I'm alright," and then AJ walked by and we sorta
gave each other this fake little mean look that we made sure she noticed. She
was like, "Are you and AJ mad about something?" and I was like, "I don't know
he's a dick," she goes, "I thought you guys were good friends?" and I'm like,
"We were but the NNLR are starting to piss me off," and she's like "Is that so?"
and I'm like, "Yeah I am thinking about getting out," and she's like, "That's
good, maybe then you'll stop being such a prick." I wanted to say something but
I restrained and continued the charade.

It lasted much longer than that to her, and I'm not going to go into depth but
in the next few weeks I made it look like I had gotten out of the NNLR's and to
her I wasn't hanging out with them anymore well we had to do another project and
I was like, "Let's do it at my house" and she's like, "I thought you weren't
allowed to have Jewish people there?" I sorta gave a sad face and was like "I'm
not like that anymore," which she thought was true. That night I had to
rearrange my room take down all my party and NNLR emblems and stuff and I made a
great effort to make it look like a typical room. When she came over she was
like "Wow your house is nice," which it is since both my parents are business
workaholics and I'm like "Thanks, it's alright." Well we got into the project
and after it was done we started watching TV on the couch. We got into a deep
convo about the NNLR and I had to say some bad things that it was hard to say
and eventually when she was leaving I talked her into a date with me for
Saturday, I was gonna kiss her but I didn't really feel like pushing it since I
was hoping to get in those little kike panties this weekend anyway.

As the week went on we talked in class and stuff until she probably thought I
was a very tolerant ex-bigot that was pushed into joining the NNLR because of
bad parenting and a need for acceptance. LOL. Not bad huh?

As Saturday came along we went on our date and went to a real expensive place
and ate then we went to a movie, and we held hands and walked around the mall, I
could tell their was no way I was going to get in her pants on the first date
for some reason and I was a little pissed, but I figured it will come
eventually, the date ended that night after making plans for another and we went
into a french kiss in front of her house. She went inside and I wiped off my
mouth, damn I hated kissing the Jew, I just wanted to fuck her. LOL.

We had two more dates before anything real sexual happened and that was when we
were in my car outside her house after going to another expensive restaurant
(damn Jews) and she gave me a decent blowjob in the car. I came all in her mouth
and she swallowed every drop like a good Jew, we made plans for another date the
next weekend and I had the feeling I was finally going to fuck my Jew.

I picked her up and we went to see a movie, then after we went to eat and talk
and junk like that you gotta go through to get laid, I talked her into coming to
my house and I knew I was going to fuck her, well we got into it on the couch
and she gave me another decent blow job and again swallowed like a good Jew.
Then I got her into the bed by like fake tackling her after she stood up we
started laughing and she's like "stop it" and I undid the buttons on her shirt
and we started kissing. So much for stopping it, I got her bra off and sucked on
her tits, then got her jeans off and was about to pull off her panties and she's
like, "Stop it Luke!" and I stopped and looked up all sad faced like, "Why
what's wrong?" and she said, "I never had sex before."

I was rock hard, by the end of the sentence I had the opportunity to pop a Jew
girls cherry I started acting all nice like "Well I don't care if you're a
virgin you'll like it I promise," and she sat up and I kissed her and started
talking about never doing it and eventually I got her to lay down through some
good talking I might add and I took off her panties and finally got a glimpse of
her bush which was pretty fine I might add, I started thinking about a condom,
but then I was like are you stupid? Don't wear one, I mean she's probably not
even thinking about that, and pulled off my underwear and prepared to put it in,
then she asked about a condom and I said don't worry I'm sterile, LOL. I don't
know why she believed me but she didn't press the issue.

She looked a little scared but I wasn't really going to hurt her anyway in that
fashion 'cause I just wanted to fuck the kike bitch. I don't have a monster cock
like it seems everyone else in these stories have but I am very proud of my 7
incher and I led it to her very very tight pussy. I mean I had fucked tight
girls before but never a virgin, and I put it into her and she started like
sorta startled moaning and when I reached the hymen her face was all like all
closed up so I just rammed it in and busted the hymen, she screamed pretty loud,
but then I start inching it in and she was moaning sort of, well I continued the
pace figuring I'd fuck her again later and just went in and out till I came in
her. After I was done I looked at her and she was like all sweaty even worse
than me, and I don't know how much she enjoyed it, but she put her arm on me, I
fucked her again like 40 minutes later and this time I felt her orgasm, she
called her mom and said she was staying at a friend's, and then she fell asleep.

I laid on the bed thinking about how to show her that not only had I just used
her Jew body, but I was still a very loyal NNLR, so while she was sleeping I put
my room (which is my entire basement) like it was before that night she came for
the project, and I had my swastika flag over the bed and the Fuhrer and my SS
posters and stuff back up, and I even put my swastika screen saver on, then I
laid down next to her and dozed off.

I woke up the next morning before her when it was light and decided on another
thing to do so I left a note on the lampshade next to her all it said was
"Thanks for the easy fuck last night, I did enjoy it, when you wake up please
leave my room I don't want your Jewish bitch ass here longer than that. Claiming
NNLR 4 Life" LOL.

I sat in the living room and a little later I saw her walking on the side of our
house where the basement is onto the sidewalk to walk home and she was like
crying hard I mean like her face was so red. LOL. I loved it and the fact that
she lives a 10 minute drive from me and she had to walk all red and stuff home.

When I went to school on Monday I found out that she had asked Mr. Deen for a
new seat and talked him into it and I got to sit my AJ which was cool as hell. I
looked at her but she just sat there and didn't look back. I heard later from
friends she had to go through therapy and all this stuff and her Dad like almost
came after me with a gun when she got home that day, and I wish he would have
I'd have dropped his ass with my .45 as soon as he stepped foot on my property.

Good shit yo (-1)

Ralph JewHater Nader (450769) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861145)

This is excellent literature and a sound contribution to the Slashdot forum. Keep up the good work.

Prepress industry (3, Interesting)

lamj (153635) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860879)

I know most readers here (myself included) are from IT industry, let me also introduce some effects of PDF on prepress industry. (Let's look at things from another perspective)

In the old days, there was a lot of press approval and proofs being sent via the ad. agency to the end user for approval. With PDF, even the end user can fire up PDF reader on their own computer and view the electronic proofs, it is not color accurate (looking at the screen), but for most part (especially small cheap run), it works well.

The same PDF sometimes also get on the RIP (Rasterized Image Processor) for output, this assures same results from the electonic proofs. (accuracy is very important in this industry)

Major problem now is sometimes a prepress shop get one job done and sent to other for output to film or CTP (to plate), the PDF files does not have fonts embeded (PDF have this "feature"), then, it will become a hunt for the right fonts.

Prepress shops have mixed feelings for PDF, most that I talked to see it as a constructive technology.

Insanity inc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2860889)

From ( ml)

"However, one so-called freedom that we do not advocate is the "freedom to choose any license you want for software you write". We reject this because it is really a form of power, not a freedom. "

So, RMS should be the universal super-police that dictates what everyone else should do like how they sell/use/whatever with their OWN DAMN SOFTWARE?

MS & PDF (2, Interesting)

lamj (153635) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860908)

I think one of the major resistance that PDF have today is support from major Word Processor. MS Office and most major suite does not support saving as PDF "yet".

By the way, the most easiest way to covert MS Word doc to PDF without Acrobat would be Adobe's website, they offer 5 free online file conversion (supporting many source formats). Might be useful for some of you.

Re:MS & PDF (1)

troc (3606) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860947)

Nope, the easiest way to convert to pdf is to use the print dialogue box in OS X and print to a file instead of the printer.


Re:MS & PDF (1)

xtremex (130532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860996)

The easiest was is to use KDE for your Desktop Manger and choose File | Print to PDF

Re:MS & PDF (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861200)

Even easier: ml

It's a free(beer)ware interface to Ghostscript that works from within MS-Office applications, and enables conversion to a .pdf in two mouse clicks.

I don't know about you... (2, Interesting)

Viceice (462967) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860932)

... but i feel for publishing purposes, i have yet to see anything with the ease of use of Acrobat. Espcially in publishing, where you have to mail upteen versions of magazine pages etc to clients who arn't technically oriented but whose go ahead for a run is needed.

Besides, even with pros, acrobat gives WYSIWYG, embeded fonts, compression for text and images and so on.... i think the size overhead for all this is worth every bit it takes up...

And even if you don't agree, which is more moronic, sending in MS Publisher .PUB or Pagemaker and PDF?

About the post (-1, Offtopic)

baron000 (551941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860934)

IMPORTANT: Please read the whole post

I'm sure many of you are aware of this thread [] already.

If you are interested in helping against the moderators who have been "editing" the thread, please read this [] .

Please do not moderate this post down. It is good for the long term, but if you still feel like being someone who denies the horrible truth, give me your best shot. You will help hold all of Slashdot users back in the long term.

For more info, read this piece [] from an apparently superior news site.

PDF Proprietry - what about 'Portable HTML' (2)

WhyteRabbyt (85754) | more than 12 years ago | (#2860948)

I'm surprised no-one (that I'm aware of) has proposed a 'bundled' portable HTML file format that would be non-proprietry, vendor neutral, and immune to problems like the Skylarov case.

All it would take (IMHO) is an extended HTML document which contained each individual HTML page in < PAGE > < /PAGE > sections, as well as < MEDIA > < /MEDIA> wrappers around text-encoded graphics file. Fonts could possibly also be shipped within the document.

All the browser would have to be extended to do would be split up the pages, and decode the image information. Or, a simple parser could chop it into its component pages and images. Voila, a single-file multi-part document viewable by any browser.

Why is this better than a zipped set of HTML pages? For one it misses the unzipping and saving stage, making it as immediate as PDF. Secondly, the PHTML generator would do link checking and remunging ensuring local links within the document was completely self contained.

Any thoughts?

Re:PDF Proprietry - what about 'Portable HTML' (2)

epeus (84683) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861009)

There are standrads for doing this already - HTML mail encapsualtes images inline, and the data: URL specifier allows inline base64 images, though most browsers don't implement it.

Re:PDF Proprietry - what about 'Portable HTML' (2)

znu (31198) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861219)

There are also .htmld bundles in OS X. An OS X bundle is really a directory (that shows up as a single file in the file manager), so .htmld bundles are fully backwards compatible, since browsers just see a directory with HTML files and images in it.

Re:PDF Proprietry - what about 'Portable HTML' (3, Informative)

Matthias Wiesmann (221411) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861064)

It has not been proposed because HTML is not a page description language. It's a document structuring language, even if a lot of people do not understand the difference. Its is simply the wrong tool. HTML displays a document using information about its structure (title, paragraphs), to an arbitrary media. A page description language is about describing precisely the graphical structure (x,y position of all elements).

Take a arbitrary page layout (say a magazine - a paper one), and ask yourself, can I describe this with HTML? The answer is no. HTML and PDF have different goals. Trying to use one for the other is not a good idea. Use the right tool.

A much better candidate would be the SVG format [] , which is based on XML, open and has all the needed features. It is a true vector graphic file format. The only problem is, it is not widely supported (and maybe the font embedding mechanism is not as good).

Then again, PDF does the job nicely -- and is widely supported. While you can embed proprietary features in PDF, so can you with an HTML file (simply by including a GIF file). In fact if you take the current HTML technology, as far as I know, the font embedding mechanism used for HTML is completly proprietary.
Maybe this issue is more complicated than Adobe = BAD Open Source = GOOD

As to why PDF has better compression that an compressed html page. The difference is that the compression is done inside the file, so each type of data is compressed with a different compression algorithm. Also PDF has a feature that is called object reuse, the basic idea is that if an element is present multiple time in a document, it will only be stored once (perfect compression if you want). If you design your html document carefully, you can get this, but more often, machine generated html is very redundant.

Re:PDF Proprietry - what about 'Portable HTML' (1)

Simon Hibbs (74836) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861306)

>I'm surprised no-one (that I'm aware of) has
>proposed a 'bundled' portable HTML file format
>that would be non-proprietry, vendor neutral,
>and immune to problems like the Skylarov case.

HTML Mail has already be mentioned as a form of this, but I agree that a compressed, packaged HTML bundle format would be usefull.

Somethign like this already exists, and has for almost a decade. It's a hypertext file format with embedded graphics, including click-maps, that is fully searchable and indexable. I've seen it used for electronic magazines distributed by email, and it's automaticaly supported by all Windows PCs. It's the Microsoft Help file format.

(Ok, I'm sorry... please don't lynch me. I surrender allready!).

Simon Hibbs

Re:PDF Proprietry - what about 'Portable HTML' (2)

evilviper (135110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861331)

The AbiWord way is the right way to do this. Just make a program that can transparently view/edit zipped html/image files.

With HTML in seperate files than the images, the HTML can be quickly loaded, taking up few resources. The images may or may not be loaded at the user's option, and the font/layout will match the user preferences.

The best part is that it can easially be edited by hand using modest system resources to view/edit.

Ummmm.... (2)

evilviper (135110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861220)

Ummmmm, I'm not quite sure how to phrase this;

is there a non-pdf version available?

Re:Ummmm.... (1)

stg (43177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2861352)

Yes. Just go to the page. It has the whole text, in plain HTML...
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