[texhax] dvi vs. pdf

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Thu Oct 16 22:03:38 CEST 2003

    pdf is a proprietary format 

I don't believe that is true.  Neither PDF nor PS are proprietary as it
stands now.  They can be used freely (although you couldn't change them
and call the result "PostScript", I'm sure).  The Free Software
Foundation and Debian fully support and use both formats, for example.

    What would happen if, sometime in the future, Adobe decided that
    anyone who posts pdf or ps material owes them royalties?

You could say the same thing about HTML and the W3C.  Just have to deal
with it when and if it happens.  Personally, I don't think it will.
Adobe would have a public relations nightmare if they did that, and the
result would be invention of another language.

Or DVI, for that matter -- of course we trust Knuth and Fuchs (more than
we trust Adobe, I imagine -- at least for some of us this is true :),
but what if some distant descendant decides, hey, there's money to be
made here ...  Or, since at least some rights have been assigned to the
AMS (I'm not sure of the exact legal status of DVI), I can easily
imagine the AMS at some future date acting like so many universities do
now, and deciding to try to make money off it.  (Nothing against the AMS
in particular, I could say the same about any organization, it's just
the way the world works these days.)

Anyway ...


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