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Acrobat-killer Submitted to Standards Body

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the going-legit dept.

326

Flying Wallenda writes "Did Adobe make a tactical blunder when it complained to the European Union about Microsoft including support for its XML Paper Specification (XPS) in Windows Vista and Office 2007? Now that Microsoft has decided to submit its 'PDF killer' to a standards-setting organization, Adobe may be regretting its decision. 'Microsoft is looking again at its license in order to make it compatible with open source licenses, which means that the "covenant not to sue" will likely be extended to cover any intellectual property dispute stemming from the simple use or incorporation of XPS. The end result is that using XPS may be considerably more attractive for developers now that the EU has apparently expressed concerns over the license.'"

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If only pdf would really die. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460551)

Adobe pdf is so horrible.

Re:If only pdf would really die. (4, Interesting)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460657)

I wouldn't say that. The original Adobe reader is horrible in my opinion. But the PDF standard is quite solid and implements a lot of useful features, I think.

Especially the possibilities for inline fonts and ocr'd text using the original font are great.

Re:If only pdf would really die. (4, Insightful)

mini me (132455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461005)

What's so horrible about PDF exactly? It's good enough to be used in the OS X graphics system of all places.

Acrobat is horrible, but that has no more to do with PDF than Internet Explorer has to do with HTML.

Re:If only pdf would really die. (-1, Redundant)

brownaroo (682715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461225)

I find acrobat about as fun to use as Real Player. See ms more than fair enough - having a de facto standard that is proprietary - hope it gets ditched

Re:If only pdf would really die. (5, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461377)

PDF is not a de facto standard. As I mentioned in another post, there are ISO standards for PDF. The spec is fully open, you could go download it now, no agreeing to anything required (though it is something like 1100 pages, better get some coffee).

Word Dilution (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460563)

Pretty soon the word 'killer' will have lost its original meaning. In fact, it will be a compliment to be called a 'killer' because it means you were a solution for a problem that already had a widely popular solution.

Yet you overcame that and somehow became the new solution until you yourself were killed. And your functionality was conveyed specifically by saying '<competing solution> killer.' They couldn't even take the time to mention what it was you did.

Slashdot uses this way too much [google.com] .


Killer [slashdot.org] .

Re:Word Dilution (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460575)

Fresh from Hans Reiser's hard drive, yo!

Re:Word Dilution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460647)

Dude, you killed them with that one.

I think you are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460793)

As a matter of fact, I think English is such a killer language precisely because we are so quick to get all idiomatic.

Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460971)

Me flarppy disks. Arrrr!

Re:Word Dilution (1)

fascist fox (991911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461135)

And your point is? Langauge is not a static thing and words commonly evolve to mean something totally different than what they originally meant. Plus the word 'killer' has meant to be positive in some situations for a while now, "That was a killer trick".

Take the word "hacker" for an example of how words evolve to mean total opposites in a matter of decades.

Re:Word Dilution (2, Interesting)

pyite (140350) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461323)

Take the word "hacker" for an example of how words evolve to mean total opposites in a matter of decades.

This is so true. What's funny is that I read an article in the WSJ during my train ride into NYC one morning and kinda chuckled over the fact that the article said how "hacker" has now gained a good connotation and "it has shed its nefarious undertones." The point of the article was that "hacker" used to mean bad bad computer villain and now it's a term for a clever computer person. What made me laugh is that the author was completely blind to the fact that the original meaning of hacker didnt have a negative connotation associated with it and that really people are just now using it more along the lines of its original meaning (albeit somewhat deviated). I made a mental note to email the author to alert him to this fact. I forgot to do that, but many people didn't. Seems like the MIT folk were the quickest to chime in with comments such as:

When I was at the Artificial Intelligence lab at MIT in the mid-1960s working for Marvin Minsky, the word "hack" referred to a clever bit of programming: for instance, one might work for several days in order to save a word or two of memory. (In the days before mass online storage, saving a word or two of memory might make the difference between a program running and not running.)

or

This is an addition to your history of the words "hack" and "hacker." At MIT, a "hack" has meant (for at least 40 years, maybe more) a very clever, and usually very public, prank. The rules have always been that the hack must be ethical and not do permanent damage. Typically, they require great planning and teamwork (in addition to secrecy) by the students who perpetrate the hack.

For people with WSJ subscriptions:
Original Article [wsj.com]
Readers' Comments [wsj.com]

Re:Word Dilution (5, Funny)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461381)

I'm not a murderer, your honor. I simply removed the occupant of that home so a newer, more functional citizen can occupy that dwelling.

Re:Word Dilution (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461393)

You are completely true. Extremely correct analysis. We lose a meaning of proper word definitions is like steping on one-thousand landmines at once.

Times are a changin' (0, Flamebait)

corroncho (1003609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460585)

Did I hear someway say open source friendly and Microsoft in the same sentence? Could it be true?
___________________________
Free iPods? Its legit [wired.com] and simple [feedroom.com] . 5 of my friends got theirs. Get yours here! [freepay.com]

Re:Times are a changin' (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460621)

Assuming this standard is truly open... and compatible with the GPL (like... you don't have to sign agreements with Microsoft to implement it... which is their usual trick)... and has no submarine issues... then why would I care that it's from Microsoft.

Re:Times are a changin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460719)

and has no submarine issues

Because we all know Microsoft is an upfront and trustworthy company which would not attempt to sneak submarine issues into a global standard they control completely.

Re:Times are a changin' (4, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460801)

PDF already is compatible in the ways you state, is stable, and exists in many ISO approved forms. ISO 15930-2 ISO 15930-6:2003(E) i.e. PDF/X driven by prepress industry, PDF/A ISO standard requested by the US government.

We already have a standard, open, format for this sort of presentation. We don't need another. We REALLY don't need another from a company that is known to "embrace and extinguish" competing implementations of standards.

Re:Times are a changin' (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460925)

Assuming this standard is truly open... and compatible with the GPL (like... you don't have to sign agreements with Microsoft to implement it... which is their usual trick)... and has no submarine issues... then why would I care that it's from Microsoft.

So if Adolf Hitler offered you a nice lamp shade at pennies on the dollar, you'd buy it? After all, who cares if it was made out of the skin of Jews...

Re:Times are a changin' (0, Offtopic)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461075)

Well, yeah! How often do you have a dead guy try to sell you something?

Re:Times are a changin' (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461643)

Godwin

Re:Times are a changin' (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460913)

The OSS community, and the proprietary community have had better interoperability with Ms products than Adobe products. While I'm certainly no fan of MS things, I'm sort of glad, in a way.

Re:Times are a changin' (0, Offtopic)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461327)

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather get a PDF than an MS Office document. The MS Office document has nearly zero chance of rendering completely correctly in Abiword or openoffice, where the PDF will nearly always work flawlessly.

That's the benefit of a completely open standard that anyone can implement, like PDF has.

The Killers (3, Insightful)

HarvardFrankenstein (635329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460599)

I find it telling that so much of what big companies like Microsoft try to create is intended to be some kind of Killer. Rather than come up with something brand new that the market has never seen before, they wait for someone else to do just that, and then they try to Kill it and claim its glory for themselves.

Embrace, extend and extinguish (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460735)

That's the basic Microsoft business tactic.

"Embrace, extend and extinguish"

as the Deptartment of Justice accused Microsoft of actually stating in internal memos. Like you say, it's alot cheaper for a company like Microsoft to steal someone else's market than to gamble in creating a new one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace%2C_extend_and _extinguish [wikipedia.org]

Re:Embrace, extend and extinguish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460835)

For some reason 'Deptartment' gave me a chuckle- though I presume that was a typo.

Re:Embrace, extend and extinguish (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461219)

"For some reason 'Deptartment' gave me a chuckle- though I presume that was a typo."

No, I meant it as a cunning and witty pun to portray to other intellectually competent individuals, my sense of dissatisfaction at the incompetence and political bias existent within the DOJ which resulted in allowing Microsoft to get off pretty much Scot-free... ...pfft, your right, it was a typo :)

Re:The Killers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460799)

If you look closer, you'll see that most companies (including Microsoft) try to stay away from the term $WHATEVER-killer, because of the embarrassment that will be caused if the product is anything but an astounding success. Instead, the press is usually the ones who come up with these terms; presumably, the inflammatory wording will bring in more hits/sell more copies/whatever.

Re:The Killers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460853)

My impression is that the term was popularized by shoddy open-source clones -- e.g. Evolution was "the Outlook killer" and that thing whose name I can't remember was going to be "the iTunes killer". It's only recently that I've seen it applied to major companies' work, and even then I only see the term used here.

Take a look through the archives here and you'll see what I mean. Probably one of the Ximian guys deserves credit for it.

Re:The Killers (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460955)

It's that primitive hunter's instinct inside of us all!

Just remember, you keep what you kill.

Adobe is screwed (3, Interesting)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460649)

XPS support is being built into new models from all major printer manufacturers. It is lot more modern than PDF/PS and does a better job supporting fancier documents with features like transparencies and gradients. And now apparently its going to be open and standardized as well. It looks like MS nailed this one.

Some examples? (1)

xant (99438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460687)

What does XPS do better than PDF? Can you link to a list of features or, better yet, a feature comparison?

Re:Adobe is screwed (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460739)


does a better job supporting fancier documents with features like transparencies and gradients

What are you using, postscript level 1? Gimme a break! Those things haven't been a problem since PS level 2 was widely supported.

Re:Adobe is screwed (1)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460819)

I don't mean 1-bit transparencies, I mean partial transparencies using an alpha channel, which Postscript level 3 does not support.

Re:Adobe is screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460945)

And how, exactly, can you print an alpha channel? I don't think you can.

Re:Adobe is screwed (1)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461021)

Spread some grease over the paper? It's alpha-blended between the graphical elements in the document, silly.

Re:Adobe is screwed (2, Informative)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460999)

Oh ok [wikipedia.org]

Re:Adobe is screwed (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461121)

The Wiki article suggests that Level 3 supports only 1-bit alpha channel, or a transparent color which is really the same thing encoded in a different way.

Re:Adobe is screwed (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461271)

Reader doesn't support overprint preview, but the full Acrobat and some ghostscript output devices (tiffsep) do. If you render overprinting objects, partial transparency isn't a problem.

Re: Adobe is screwed? Ha. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460849)

All the "PDF killers" so far have been aimed at the public's perception of PDF: A screen reader that can preserve layouts and print them. But that perception is very outdated. PDF survives because it isn't just a screen reader, it is a defacto standard for CMYK exchange so that print shops can make color-separated output no matter what app generated it. It also can be interactive, with buttons and multimedia. It supports form fields. Everybody thinks Adobe is Photoshop but really, in terms of revenue, Adobe is Acrobat because Acrobat is used more widely in more ways than can be done with these "PDF killers."

Does XPS do all that? Does XPS do CMYK? Can XPS generate the equivalent of PDF/X-1a, an ISO standard for advertising specs required by Time Inc. and other big media sites?

Re: Adobe is screwed? Ha. (2, Informative)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460981)

Yeah I'm reading over the specification right now and the color features are pretty extensive. There's support for storing color information in many different color spaces including CMYK.

There's nothing in there for interactivity though, it's strictly a fixed document format.

Re: Adobe is screwed? Ha. (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461243)

There's nothing in there for interactivity though, it's strictly a fixed document format.

That's on purpose. The PDF/X subsets of PDF are limited to features that will reliably allow blind communication between content producers, prepress, and printers.

You could always use the other colorspaces with the more interactive PDF features like javascript, but you couldn't call the result a PDF/X compliant file.

I do wonder why you want non-RGB colorspaces with interactive content, however. :P

Standards (4, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461153)

> XPS support is being built into new models from all major printer manufacturers.

If so it would be a major reason to support XPS. If it is just some crap in the Windows drivers forget it. Just checked HP's site and didn't see it mentioned.

The reason it would be great to get it in printers is that it would force it to be a STANDARD, unlike PDF. MP3 is a standard in that any conforming stream will play on any conforming player. New encoders can be developed but the resulting streams must be playable on ANY player adhering to the original MP3 spec. Adobe never figured that out with PDF, requiring a continual upgrade treadmill to newer readers and adding new features in non backwards compatible ways. Even though some printers DO support a version of PDF, it isn't usable for long after purchase.

If it doesn't get embedded into printers I'd trust Microsoft even less to publish a spec and then stick with it.;

Re:Standards (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461207)

PDF has settled down a lot lately. Besides, it wasn't too much of a problem when printers went from Postscript 1 to 2 to 3. PDF hasn't broken compatibility in a way much different than the transitions from the different PS levels did, except for the fact that we didn't have lot of manufacturers jumping the gun like we did with PS level 2.

Re:Standards (1)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461267)

I was referring to what this video says about XPS: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=9805 7 [msdn.com]

MS shows off their prototype XPS printers and mentions that major printer manufacturers are signed on.

Citation Please (5, Interesting)

maggard (5579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461479)

XPS support is being built into new models from all major printer manufacturers.

Really?

Name them.

Seriously, I've been looking. I can't find a reference from any printer maker regarding a model with XPS driver support built in.

You'd think someone other then Microsoft would be at least mentioning this, unless it were just MS blowing hot air, which we know Waggener Edstrom [waggeneredstrom.com] (MS's PR agency) would never do...

I love adobe (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460653)

Forcing a reboot to update a file viewer is pure quality and genius.

I hope they die real soon.

Re:I love adobe (2, Insightful)

DigitlDud (443365) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460703)

Not to mention installing a stupid pre-loader in your system startup and freezing the entire viewer when downloading data.

Re:I love adobe (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460833)

You don't need Acrobat Reader to open PDFs, you know. There's a lot of less annoying choices out there that work fine with pretty much any reasonable PDF you throw at them.

Re:I love adobe (2, Interesting)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460989)

The sheer arrogance, stupidity and breathtaking immaturity of the design of the Acrobat Reader and its supporting products is beyond amazing.

Some of its features are on the face of it quite good. But forcing reboots, nagging the user to pay for inexplicable "enhancements"... shifting vocabulary across releases, random "features" that offer no value to anyone... it's just painful, painful software.

If Microsoft destroy them and in the process make sure that Vista's impending failure results in us all using nice, slick, GhostScript implementations in the future it will not be a MOMENT too soon.

Re:I love adobe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16461173)

Even better - a reboot per point version when going from 7.0.x to 7.0.x+(more than 1)! ...and even better than that it has to be the "Adobe scheduled reboot" - a normal manual one won't do.

Re:I love adobe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16461227)

Maybe that reboot is rewriting some crap to tag you machine ID to any PDF docs you read, or worse, any PDF docs you create or edit.... just an idea...

David Syes

There MS goes again... (0, Flamebait)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460663)

Trying to coin another standard.

I had to think for a few about this title (5, Funny)

vitalyb (752663) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460679)

A dead human acrobat submitted his body?
Someone killed a human acrobat and submitted his body?
The murderer was submitted to some kind of law-enforcement?

That is late at night here, however.

Why does Microsoft keep trying to hire The Killers (1, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460705)

I'm amazed that Brandon Flowers doesn't have Bill Gates on some sort of block-list by now.

About 6 years ago... (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460707)

This is what mainstream open-source was clamoring for Microsoft to do... Now Microsoft is standardizing a wide variety of code and documents. So good. Ten years from now when a terabyte database seems kind of small but the information in it is marked up in the as standard a form as ASCII is today then processing huge amounts of information will be as easy as it gets. Once information is standardized then it opens the doors to a wide variety of companies to manipulate the information - in effect providing a "service" to the owner of the database. Open-source, closed, doesn't matter when you have standardized tubes connecting modules and information. A network-centric service economy is probably where we'll go but as Niels Bohr said "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."

Re:About 6 years ago... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460803)

would it be too much to ask that you use hyphens on "as-standard-a-form-as-ASCII-is-today?" You've gotta be thinking about other people reading your english and getting confused. I personally had no idea what you were writing and had to go back and re-read it. Otherwise, solid post!

Re:About 6 years ago... (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461231)

would it be too much to ask that you use hyphens on "as-standard-a-form-as-ASCII-is-today?" You've gotta be thinking about other people reading your english and getting confused. I personally had no idea what you were writing and had to go back and re-read it.

Yes. Yes-it-would-be too-much-to-ask.

Hmmm... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460717)

This writeup is (once you get through the -killer nonsense) suspiciously pro-Microsoft. Shouldn't it be something like "Micro$oft Tries To Patent Paper!"?

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Faylone (880739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461149)

The enemy of my enemy may still be my enemy.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461599)

This writeup is (once you get through the -killer nonsense) suspiciously pro-Microsoft. Shouldn't it be something like "Micro$oft (sic) Tries To Patent Paper!"?

I seem to recall that on /., anything Pro-Microsoft is suspiciously Pro-Microsoft.

Wow, for such intelligent people, we sure are objective and skeptical.

Details? (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460727)

I always wonder what it really means when Microsoft makes "open standards" and such, ever since the MSO XML debacle. I'll wait to hear some details that confirm that there aren't any dirty tricks involved.

Even so, I'm not sure why I would want to jump on this new standard at the moment. PDF is widely supported, and does a good job for the things it's meant for. Will Microsoft make a program to do the things that Acrobat does? Will it provide different ways to optimize quality/size? Will it work with the companies in the print business to make sure it provides everything they need, and works on their equipment on the same level as PDF? Because as much as PDF is nice for trading print documents online, it's real strength is the support from professional printing industries.

So that's what Microsoft needs to do to be on equal footing with Adobe, which still doesn't tell us why anyone should switch.

Re:Details? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461179)

Remember that PDF is a container format, sort of like MOV, MPEG, AVI, etc. If MS is making a replacement for this, it says nothing about the elements contained inside their container format -- most likely, it will only support elements that just so happen to be created by MS software. MS has noting to fear from making the spec freely available; it is solely a platform on which they can promote their proprietary file formats. Expect DRM to play an important role in XPS.

bingo! (1)

RelliK (4466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461299)

This "standard" is going to be the same "standard" as MS Office XML, CIFS, .net, Kerberos, and all the other "standards" Microsoft has ever promoted. They even managed to bastardize ASCII, and yet some gullible people still jump up and down every time Microsoft announces a new "standard".

Re:Details? (1)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461395)

Pardon my ignorance, but what is it that you dont like about MS Office XML? (we are talking about the new format supported by office 2007 right?)

I'm not trolling or trying to call you out or anything, I am just unfamiliar with complaints against their new office XML formats.

Re:Details? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461627)

Oh, there was something a while back about the XML formats in Office 2003, that Microsoft had somehow patented certain things about the XML, and licensed the XML in such a way that prevented OSS from reading/writing those formats. Maybe it's been cleared up by now.

In all fairness... (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460747)

XPS looks to me like a marginally superior format to PDF. It's XML-based, which means easier parsing as well as readability with a regular text editor, and it strips out PDF's stupid nonsense like forms and multimedia which is best left to web pages.

That being said, I'm not sure it's worth splitting the market with a similar competing format just for these advantages.

Re:In all fairness... (2, Interesting)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460825)

The real interesting thing about XML-based file formats is that you can easliy generate files dynamically, especially with technologies like XSLT.

Re:In all fairness... (2, Insightful)

pilkul (667659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460967)

I know, XSLT is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's even a functional language!

Re:In all fairness... (1)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461069)

For certain applications XSLT really IS the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I would recommend against using it as programming langauge.

Re:In all fairness... (2, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461297)

Those that don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Adobe moved from PS (a language) to PDF (a page description language), because making your page description language a programming language has some serious drawbacks.

Procedural generation of content isn't worth the extra hassle of getting programming language style bugs (stack over/underflows, infinite loops, etc) in your documents.

Re:In all fairness... (2, Informative)

pilkul (667659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461401)

Look up what XML [wikipedia.org] , XSLT [wikipedia.org] and functional languages [wikipedia.org] are; you're a bit confused as to what's going on here. XPS is a pure page description language with no programming language features. XSLT is a programming language of sorts, which happens to both be composed of XML and process XML, but it is not the page description language.

Re:In all fairness... (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461025)

The real interesting thing about XML-based file formats is that you can easliy generate files dynamically, especially with technologies like XSLT.

That's not really an advantage over PDF, since you can easily generate PDFs with XML, XSL formatting objects and free tools. Plus there are lots and lots of other tools that already generate PDFs in various ways and from various formats.

Re:In all fairness... (1)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461093)

It is a certain advantage, because you have complete control over the native file format. No need for an artificial XML abstraction layer.

Re:In all fairness... (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461257)

In most cases, I think you'll already have an XML abstraction layer, which you'll convert to XPS with XSLT. But you can also just use XSLT to convert to XSLfo. The only advantage of XPS that I can see is if XPS is more expressive than XSLfo.

Re:In all fairness... (1)

Cartack (628620) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460827)

Not everyone has access to the internet. It should be up to the user to decide with features are "stupid"

Re:In all fairness... (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460931)

I've had nothing but pain with PDF forms so yeah, they're stupid. It's a crap kludge that has nothing to do with the goals of PDF.

Also, I don't know how you think one would obtain or return the PDF form in the first place if you don't have internet access. Copy it on a USB drive, fill it out at home, and bring it back? Why not just fill out the form with a pen, jeebus.

Re:In all fairness... (2, Insightful)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461175)

PDF forms are somehow kludgy, but it's a great way to fill in forms you have to print out anyway.

Re:In all fairness... (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461273)

If you want to allow your users to do this, instead of adding form fields to your PDF document, it's better to use Word/OpenOffice. Then the user can e.g. cut and paste properly, use rich text markup, and save what he's written in the form on the hard drive (Acrobat may be able to do some of those things now -- I haven't used its form feature in a long time -- but there's a whole pile of problems like this, you get the idea). Not having the form feature would force people to switch to a superior format for these applications.

Re:In all fairness... (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461609)

``it strips out PDF's stupid nonsense like forms and multimedia which is best left to web pages.''

You just wait. I don't think that's going to last long. In fact, this might well mark the start of a feature race of XPS vs. PDF, leaving us with even more bloated formats, and open source renderers lagging miles behind the proprietary competition.

anything is better (4, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460817)

Will this one start faster and not bug me every other time I run it to install some random new adobe crap I dont want or need? I the answer to either is yes concider me ready to convert.

Re:anything is better (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460891)

Your complaints are about the Adobe's PDF reader, not the PDF format itself. MS is only proposing a standard, not presenting a reader.

FWIW, there are plenty of fast non-crappy PDF readers. For example, xpdf [foolabs.com] and foxit [foxitsoftware.com] .

Ranting about acroread, etc. (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461007)

> FWIW, there are plenty of fast non-crappy PDF readers. For example, xpdf and foxit.

How about ONE reader that will open and print all PDF files? Just today I had to use xpdf to print a PDF that Adobe's latest version would display and TRY to print, but the printer would just sit and spin. Btw, the printer was an HP with a licensed Adobe Postscript personality. Of course sometimes Acroread will deal with documents xpdf can't. Not as often does it work that way but often enough we have to have both, and only acroread works as a browser plugin and that makes the natives less restless. :(

Since I really doubt anythng sponsored by MSFT will achieve better results in the the next decade, count my vote as against even if it has magic XML pixie dust.

Re:anything is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16461533)

I would imagine that Microsoft made the file format as quick to read as possible - however, generally speaking, the speed of the reader (especially how fast it starts) has nothing or little to do with the file format. So just like with PDF, you'll probably be able to use a 3rd party client, especially since XPS will be the standard file format of Office.

Check out Adobe and Microsoft's wrongdoing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460865)

It's right here: http://malfy.org/ [malfy.org]

Can We Please.... (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460949)

stop with the -killer suffix?

I haven't seen a Ford-Mustang-killer, or a Conair-hairdryer-killer, or an Pepsi-Cola-killer, or an Boeing-Airbus-500-killer before. Why is the information industry the only industry with goddamn KILLER APPLICATIONS or <FOOBAR>-KILLERS? No fucking wonder citizens and customers think software and hardware manufacturer are even less funny than Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. </rant>

Re:Can We Please.... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461011)

Because they really like Brandon Flowers' band.

Re:Can We Please.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16461503)

I believe Iraq has many shoulder mounted boeing-airbus-500 killers :-)

ECMA is warming up their rubber stamp (3, Funny)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16460973)

Hey, it worked great for .NET.

PDF is too complicated (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16460995)

It's unreasonably hard to generate quality PDF programmatically.
Either you have resort to using the virtual printer driver supplied with Acrobat, or you have to typeset your document to PostScript format using TeX or whatever.
And if you use the virtual printer driver, forget about interactive features and full-text searching.
Editing PDFs is a nightmare - PostScript allows way too much flexibility for a 'portable' format.

I don't know much about XPS, but organizing the document as a set of zipped XML files seems to be a step in the right direction.

Re:PDF is too complicated (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461467)

how about htmldoc takes a bunch of html files creates a pdf with hyperlinks in it. along with html help workshop from ms its quite easy to go from chm to html to pdf
htmldoc is gpl as well as commercial and included in ubuntu repositorys.

try it pdf isnt just acrobat.

Re:PDF is too complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16461617)

Using htmldoc, html2ps, etc. is nice, but it doesn't give you much control over the output.
After all, why would you want to generate PDF in the first place when HTML would be at least as good?
(yes, there are times you want to distribute your document in as many formats as possible, including PDF and even raw PostScript, but that's another story).

Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16461129)

I hope Microsoft will submit more open standards and adhere to them. This is good news =)

Dick Grayson (4, Funny)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461265)

Someone better tell Dick Grayson (Batman's former Robin) about this acrobat killer. It may be the one that killed his parents.

Yes if Microsoft does this right (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461269)

Microsoft could finally prove they are not assholes. Release it with complete specs and sample output, don't require Windows libraries, allo anybody to read and write it with any software using any license, and PDF will be dead in a few months.

It does sound better: it is output-only (which is really all we care about in PDF), it uses XML, and it supports alpha compositing like SVG does. Unfortunatly doing anything correctly means Microsoft has to admit that Open Source is not an evil cancer. Don't know if they can bear to do this, or if they are even capable of doing it.

title made me laugh (2, Funny)

not a cylon (1003138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461283)

All I could picture was... "The Hardly Boys, two young whippersnappers with a knack for solving crimes." "Tonight's episode...'The Case of the Acrobat-Killer' "

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16461335)

Once the Microsoft standard becomes widespread they'll change the license, add some patented clusterfuck or update the spec to lock competitors out. We've seen it all before and they always try and screw everyone. PDF is fine for what it is and it's widely supported, so long as Adobe keep javascript, flash and 3D seperate from the core spec I have no complaints.

Microsoft must still be reeling from the success of OpenDoc, they should hurry to get a registered MIME type and file extension they're going to use for this PDF killer. I'll look forward to filtering it.

How long until its usable (2, Interesting)

HighPerformanceCoder (931732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461527)

I first heard about PDF in 1995, but it wasn't until around 2000 that software existed to actually do stuff with it.

I still don't do anything in PDF that can't be done in postscript - in fact I still just produce the postscript and only convert to PDF because not many people have heard of postscript.

FoxIt reader is a good interim solution (2, Informative)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461621)

FoxIt Reader is a great interim solution until this gets standardized. It reads PDF files and opens much faster than Acrobat. I'm not sure why Acrobat reader is so slow, but even the fastest available hardware seems to choke on it.

SVG? (3, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16461633)

I see a lot of posts in this discussion that say XPS is better than PDF, because it's XML and human readable and you can manipulate it with XSLT, it's going to be submitted as a standard, etc. That just makes me think: what about SVG? It's already a standard, it's XML, human readable, XSLT, etc.
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