[pdftex] Adobe Battles Backward-Compatibility Woes

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Fri Apr 7 00:06:09 CEST 2006

>>>>> "Allin" == Allin Cottrell <cottrell at wfu.edu> writes:

  > Yes, interesting.  Here's a particularly intriguing nugget:

Very interesting, indeed.

  > "One side of the debate says that since public institutions such
  > as governments are legislating the use of PDF as their exclusive
  > format for electronic documents, shouldn't these technologies be
  > public property? ..."

Oh yes, let's introduce communism in the United States.  
And let's make Microsoft people's property.

  > "A commercial company like Adobe, with its army of software
  > engineers, will make a far better product than any consortium of
  > volunteers devoting their spare time to concocting Acrobat and PDF
  > products."

I don't think an "army of software engineers" will make a good
product.  An army is a group of soldiers who are supposed to act on
orders without using their brains.  Acroread obviously had been
programmed by a group of soldiers.

I assume that the PostScript and PDF specs had been developed by very
few people, and certainly not by soldiers.  I don't know very much
about PDF but the last few days I spent a vast amount of time
programming in PostScript and I'm quite impressed to see that
PostScript is a very clean and straightforward programming language
which is amazingly well documented.

In my opinion all the Adobe standards are very well documented.
(Though I'm wondering why Adobe is still unable to insert hyperlinks
into their PDF files).

And what we absolutely don't need is an industry-wide standards

Let me explain why I think that Acroread developers did not use their

When I bought a new computer a few months ago and installed Linux I
had been quite happy that Acroread starts within a reasonable amount
of time.  A few days later, however, it took 13 seconds each time.

So I used strace(1) to find out what it does:

  First, it scans the X11 font directory for any fonts it can use.
  I installed a lot of X11 fonts meanwhile which caused Acroread to
  start significantly slower.

  It creates a file ~/.adobe/Acrobat/7.0/Cache/UnixFnt07.lst which
  contains a list of all fonts it found in the X11 font directory and
  then it reads this file.  Why the hell has a program to read a file
  which it has written itself?

  Scanning the font directory the first time takes some time, but if
  you start Acroread again, all the directories are cached under Linux
  and it doesn't take much time to read them again.

  What really takes a considerable amount of time is to write the
  \textbf{absolutely useless} file UnixFnt07.lst and read it again.  
  I reduced the startup time from 13 seconds to 1.3 seconds applying the
  following command:

     chmod a-rw ~/.adobe/Acrobat/7.0/Cache/UnixFnt07.lst

  Do I miss something?  I don't think so because AR scans the X11 font
  directory anyway each time it starts.

Anyway, each time I hear the name "Adobe" I don't know whether I
should weep or smile, but finally I remember that they made a few
things I really enjoy. 


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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