[pdftex] Adobe Battles Backward-Compatibility Woes

James Quirk jjq at galcit.caltech.edu
Wed Mar 15 15:17:52 CET 2006

On Wed, 15 Mar 2006, Martin Schröder wrote:

> On 2006-03-15 12:05:50 +0100, holop ferenc wrote:
>> seems like pdf will be the next html :)
>> sooner or later, welcome the pdf quirk mode :)
Some of us have been using PDF in ``quirk mode'' for quite some time!

> I pity everyone who has to maintain a pdf rendering application.
> If you follow the specs, your application will not work well in
> the real world (i.e. with "legacy documents" -- fonts are a
> constant source of trouble). Making it work in the real world is
> a constant challenge.
One way of handling "legacy documents" would be for Adobe to introduce
a system-hook whereby a PDF could be automatically filtered, before it is 
passed to a viewer. The idea being that the filter translates what
it finds into "compliant PDF," whatever that happens to be at
the time of viewing.

Such an approach would require Adobe to construct and release a new 
filter, each time it changes the base assumptions that affect how AR 
works. Admittedly, it would be hard to construct a filter that works 
perfectly, all of the time. But it would not be too hard to construct one 
that takes care of the most common problems.

Of course there is nothing to stop PDF users constructing their own 
filters, and indeed it is something I do for my own work. But if PDF it to 
be truly portable, and long lived, then it would require Adobe to shoulder 
the responsibility in a systematic fashion.


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