[pdftex] PDF 1.5 by default in TL 2010

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Mon Jan 11 23:19:08 CET 2010

On Monday 11 January 2010 15:42:31 Robin Fairbairns wrote:
> John Culleton <john at wexfordpress.com> wrote:
> > As I have mentioned before some printers require pdf x/1a:2001,
> > particularly for cover art and cover interiors.  This more limited
> > standard should be available as an "easy" option for pdftex, pdflatex,
> > Context etc.  So a pdftex primitive would be the handiest choice.  There
> > is a somewhat complex pdfLaTeX macro  \pdfx plus support files that will
> > convert the file to pdf x/1a but I have in mind something much simpler, a
> > one-liner like:
> > \setpdfformat{x1a}
> > with no auxiliary files needed.
> >
> > Alternatively a modified dvipdfm  program would suffice and take the load
> > off the main pdftex program.
> as you've been told before, "there ought to be" doesn't really
> constitute much of a development strategy.  (especially in a program
> that's now frozen apart from bug fixes.)
> is there some development effort you have up your sleeve?
> (i see no sign that dvipdfm is being developed, either.  perhaps
> dvipdfmx. but i don't know.)
> robin
Comments were requested on moving to PDF 1.5 as the standard output of Texlive 
2010 programs. My comment was that an option of X/1a as well would be more 
useful to those who use certain printers who have this as a requirement.  If 
the need is not expressed it has no chance of being met. 

As for a development strategy it seems to me that the macro \pdfx would be a 
good place to start. If its functionality were incorporated as a pdftex 
command that would be the ideal solution.  Currently with required auxiliary 
files etc. it is just too complicated for everyday use. And it is not usable in 
pdftex or Context. 

Currently my best workaround is to load the file in Acrobat Reader (free) save 
as a "print" (PostScript) file, and then run the .PS file through the shareware 
program Pstill.    And there is the \pdfx macro for LaTeX already mentioned. A 
pass through the commercial program Acrobat Distiller is of course what he 
printer would prefer, but I would not.

So there are solutions. What I am suggesting is a native TeX solution less 
complicated than the current \pdfx solution, and one applicable to more 
versions of TeX than just pdflatex.

In pursuit of that goal I have also asked Hans Hagen, the Context chief, to 
look into the possibilities of X/1a output. He responded in a general way but 
no product has emerged.  

At my request the development version of Scribus is working towards X/1a 
export but at the moment it is only a menu item and not a real output.  When 
you select it as part of the export pdf dialog the Save button is inoperative. 
Since I recompile the bleeding edge version of Scribus 1.5.0 each night I am 
confident that the feature is not yet fully implemented.  When it is I will 
test importing a TeX-created pdf file into Scribus and exporting it as X/1a. 

Scribus has its own significant limitations however, which is why it has a 
LaTeX plugin. Even with the plugin it will be years if ever before it has the 
full range of features of TeX, including indexing, TOC, bibliography 
generation and so on.
John Culleton
"Create Book Covers with Scribus"
Printable E-book 38 pages $5.95

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