[texhax] dvi vs. pdf

Michael Barr barr at barrs.org
Thu Oct 16 22:57:49 CEST 2003

There is a real difference between dvi which is fully publicly documented 
and in the public domain (Knuth put it there, retaining only rights to the 
name) while I have been told that pdf is still proprietary and the full 
specs are not public.  If I am wrong about that, I stand corrected.  

Michael Barr

On Thu, 16 Oct 2003, Karl Berry wrote:

>     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 ...
> k

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