[pdftex] Adobe Battles Backward-Compatibility Woes

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Fri Apr 7 10:33:20 CEST 2006

reinhard kotucha writes:

>   > "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
> committee.

the one (strong) advantage to a standards committee is that it slows
things down.

at the moment, changes to the pdf standard are driven by adobe's
commercial imperatives: "the sales of current acrobat * are flagging:
we need to release a new version".  by imposing a delay (for external
experts to review what adobe are proposing to do) we might stand a
chance that groups such as the pdf team could "keep up".

note: i've served (for long periods) on standards committees -- i know
their weaknesses all too well.  but i perceive the above as a
potential strength that you apparently haven't noticed.


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