[pdftex] Adobe Battles Backward-Compatibility Woes

Paweł Jackowski P.Jackowski at gust.org.pl
Fri Apr 7 11:56:33 CEST 2006

Hi all,

>   > "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.

Sorry, Reinhard, quite far analogy... What you see in common between 
communism and public knowledge or technology? Communism is public 
unawareness and obscurantism :)

>   > "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.

Agree! Do you see any better solution on the horizont? I don't. IMHO 
Acrostuff (windowish) still does not have real competitors regarding the 
spead of rendering / functionality / reliability. I really apprieciate 
Ghostcript and other solutions and I use them quite a lot, but it is not 
just common stupidity, that people trust Adobe products. No, I don't 
think its perfect, and yes, I see the gaps and cry on starting but... if 
acroread was made by brainless soldiers, where are those smart small 
groups of no-soldier-brains to develope a perfect, Adobe-independent PDF 

> 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.

Indeed, unfortunatelly PostScript is almost gone in print and 
puiblishing industry, imho not only because of mentioned intentional 
action of Adobe.

> 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).

? Sorry, I don't get it; Adobe is unable? or Acroread is unable? or PDF 
documents from Adobe does not have links?

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

I doubt if any such commitee has ever solve the problem. There was a 
committee for PDF/X and we have a plenty of PDF/Xs and none is a real 
standard. Similar with ICC-profiles, CIE-color, CIP3, JDF...

> Let me explain why I think that Acroread developers did not use their
> brains[...]

Meybe there is a lot of useless operations. Probably you are right -- 
things might be optimized somehow. Whenever I compare renderers i get 
into conclusion that what you optimize in point A will charge you at B. 
Just and observation (I haven't investigate deeply) but older (win) 
Acrobat Readers seems to load everything possible at startup. Fresh 
versions (7) load the minimum, then loads additional components when 
requested. Who knows when compatible Acroread will appear.

> 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. 

I definitely weep during start (silently -). Then I smile.

Pawe/l Jackowski
P.Jackowski at gust.org.pl

More information about the pdftex mailing list