[texhax] dvi vs. pdf

Roberto Sanchez rcsanchez97 at yahoo.es
Thu Oct 16 11:45:30 CEST 2003

Michael Barr wrote:
> The issue over latex vs pdflatex is really one over dvi vs pdf.  First
> off, I have found dvipdfm produces perfectly good output.  The electronic
> journal that I am tex editor for still insists on papers that produce dvi 
> files (with rare exceptions in cases that ps inclusions are absolutely 
> necessary).  The main reason is that pdf is a proprietary format and dvi 
> is a pd format.  To be sure, we are now posting the papers in dvi, ps, and 
> pdf format, but the first one is the official one.  If you adopt pdflatex 
> as the only thing you support, you will be cut off from our journal.  This 
> might change in the future, but I much prefer a pd format.  What would 
> happen if, sometime in the future, Adobe decided that anyone who posts pdf 
> or ps material owes them royalties?
> Michael Barr

I am not a patent lawyer, nor am I an expert on IP.  However, it is my
understanding that for such a situation to occur, if would be bear many
similitaries to the Unisys/GIF debacle.  Essentially, Adobe would have
to have a patent on the PDF format, and then enforce that patent.  While
I don't believe they have a patent on the PDF format, they face other
diffuclties.  First, PDF is just an extension of PS, which has been
around forever.  I am also pretty sure that PDF is published standard of
some sort, although still proprietary.  Even then, they could only
patent a specific algorithm associated with creating PDF files like
the compression algorithm, similar to what Unisys did with LZW
compression.  Unisys didn't patent the file format, only the compression
aglorithm, which was enough in their case since every tool that utilized
GIF files expected that compression algorithm.

Someone please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

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