Adobe hands over copyright to PDF format

Adobe has expressed interest in making the movement of digital document files more open, and having their format (PDF), being the popular standard. PDF's will soon become the international standard for electronic documents after Adobe handed over the copyright to ISO.

"By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardization, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness", says Kevin Lynch, CTO at Adobe.

Most businesses use PDFs as the main way of transitioning from paper to electronic documentation, and now a slew of new readers, writers and development tools for the format will likely be unveiled in the near future thanks to the move.

The new PDF standard is called ISO 32000-1.

View: TechRadar
View: ISO Press Release

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47 Comments

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(HalcyonX12 said @ #18)
Now MS just has to hand OOXML over to the ISO... Well, if they're still persuing that I mean (since they adopted ODF).

Why? OOXML is an ISO standard for some time already.
And Adobe threatened to sue MS if they allw export to PDF.

(RealFduch said @ #18.1)

Why? OOXML is an ISO standard for some time already.
And Adobe threatened to sue MS if they allw export to PDF.

Apparently there are attempts to over turn it. Mind you, comparing OOXML to PDF, is comparing Apples with Orange. The more correct comparison would be PDF vs. XPS. IMHO Microsoft should submit XPS to a standards body.

As for OOXML, IIRC it is already an ECMA standard. I think the issue so many have with OOXML is the complexity (which is justifiable), if I was Microsoft I would provide a opensource implementation under *BSD licence (clean room implementation) and allow others to use that in their products. It would stop the whining from the OSS world, and Microsoft could point and say, "hey, it can be done".

Actually there's already xPDF, Evince, Foxit, and more. There's a lot of support for PDF even when Adobe held the copyrights. But now it will get even better
Yes there are plenty of readers but as far as I know, not too many can edit and for free too.

(Kreuger said @ #17)
Yes there are plenty of readers but as far as I know, not too many can edit and for free too.

OpenOffice 3 is supposed to have the ability to edit PDFs (and not just export to them). Looking forward to that! There is a free Linux program called PDFEdit but it is a bit tricky to use.

(James7 said @ #17.1)

OpenOffice 3 is supposed to have the ability to edit PDFs (and not just export to them). Looking forward to that! There is a free Linux program called PDFEdit but it is a bit tricky to use.

IIRC, the latest version of Evince (which uses the popper back end) is apparently meant to have editing abilities too.

Editing PDF from a programmers point of view is pretty difficult considering that it is doing something it was never designed to do - the idea of electronic forms an after thought in many cases.

PDF has options, so the document author can restrict that if they want. If not, they can allow the layout to be moved around.

A lot of the time, you don't want your layout messed around with, though. PDF is great for that.

(mayamaniac said @ #14)
great, now what about flash?

QFT

If anyone has watched, I'm sure they're lining up flash paper as a replacement for PDF.

They've opened up the specifications to Flash, but even so, there is a mountain of work that needs to be done in implementation. IMHO they should just opensource the Flash plugin - there is no value in it. The value is derived from the tools that make the content, all the plugin is, is a way for the end user to access that content. Its like a television in otherwords. The value is what comes to the television, not the television itself.

Beacause I'm on OS X, PDF's have always been apart of the system. However, hopefully now I won't have to send my resume's in as .doc because the moron interviewers don't like PDF's!?

A lot of employers use software to screen resumes. Chances are, many of them don't even get to an actual person before they're discarded. From what I've heard, a lot of these screener programs are not compatible with the PDF format. Perhaps that may now change soon.

(NeoTrunks said @ #13.1)
A lot of employers use software to screen resumes. Chances are, many of them don't even get to an actual person before they're discarded. From what I've heard, a lot of these screener programs are not compatible with the PDF format. Perhaps that may now change soon.
Yeah I knew that. Personally, if a company is going to use a screening program, I don't want to work for them anyway. And if it needs to be in .doc they are using the wrong program to read resumes. PDF's are suppose to be used for this sort of thing you moron companies, not .DOC!!!

(rm20010 said @ #13.3)
I question employers who think it's professional to send resumes in Word documents. :ermm:

I second that. I want my formatting to all remain the same so that when the employer receives it, they see it in the same way I do. All the employer has to have is one slight difference in settings and all my layout gets screwed up because of it.

Then again, if employers are using 'automated tools' for their selection process, they deserve to get the 'bottom of the barrel' candidates.

sumatrapdf aka sumocrappdf sucks so bad.

(that would be the end of my comment, but i will expand to avoid wars)

The reason being: it takes too long to load and "render" images/text, on my 1.6ghz Dual 1GB ram, it takes it like 10-20 seconmds to render a image, while adobe 9 does it instantly or few secs.

pdfcreator is a good open source pdf creation engine. It works just like acrobat in the it creates a pdf printer. See sourceforge.

(tele-fragd said @ #7.1)
Just what I was thinking. PDF is a great format and this'll definitely help to cement its use for many years to come :)

Absolutely

You couldn't have done it a few years ago when everyone was begging you too and you could have had a huge impact by doing it, could you, Adobe? :P

I like SumatraPDF except that it's not 1000% compatible (I've seen at least one PDF which renders wrong-- a fine line is missing), and it doesn't want to associate with the .pdf file type in Vista, with its own "make default reader" command.

(Hak Foo said @ #5)
...and it doesn't want to associate with the .pdf file type in Vista, with its own "make default reader" command.

You need to "right-click > Run as Administrator" for that to work.

(saachi said @ #5.1)

You need to "right-click > Run as Administrator" for that to work.

Thats one of the reasons I can't stand Windows, file type association should be allowed on a per-user basis. Why can't Windows do that?

(kaiwai said @ #5.2)
Thats one of the reasons I can't stand Windows, file type association should be allowed on a per-user basis. Why can't Windows do that?

It can do that (and I think has been able to since at least XP). I just checked: using the built-in windows "Set Associations" control panel does not require a UAC prompt on Vista.

I like SumatraPDF except that it's not 1000% compatible (I've seen at least one PDF which renders wrong-- a fine line is missing), and it doesn't want to associate with the .pdf file type in Vista, with its own "make default reader" command.

I too will have to agree. Someone on Neowin mentioned it, I tried it, liked it. Though, I've heard good things about 9, it's kind of hard to go back to using that again. :\

( Marshalus said @ #2.2)

Have you tried Adobe Reader 9?

Reader 9 is great i have tried it personally it is huge improvement over the bloated pig Reader 8

it run instantly


i have uninstalled the ol' foxit reader

I haven't tried 9 yet, after version 8's updater started causing my CPU to freeze at 100% I removed all things Adobe from my system. I've heard 9 is a big improvement, but as far as the startup time I think that's mainly because it loads itself into memory at Windows startup via Adobe Speed Launcher.

Thanks for the heads up on Reader 9, it is much faster than 8.

As for the idea of a very lightweight reader, I'm all for it. THe issue becomes can a lightweight reader degrade gracefully if it does not have a specific ability that the full blown reader has an the specific document requires. If I was writing some such Reader I would have the LWR open the full blown version of Adobe Reader. That way the end-user doesn't have to do anything.

(TRC said @ #2.4)
I haven't tried 9 yet, after version 8's updater started causing my CPU to freeze at 100% I removed all things Adobe from my system. I've heard 9 is a big improvement, but as far as the startup time I think that's mainly because it loads itself into memory at Windows startup via Adobe Speed Launcher.

You can remove Adobe Speed Launcher and it will still start up as fast. Also, it doesn't seem to hang your browser when it opens a PDF.

(TRC said @ #2)
Great, maybe we'll finally get a good open source alternative to that bloated monstrosity they make.

Actually there's already xPDF, Evince, Foxit, and more. There's a lot of support for PDF even when Adobe held the copyrights. But now it will get even better

(tiagosilva29 said @ #2.6)
What does it has to do with having a PDF standard?

Nothing much else.

To be a ISO standard is not equal to be opensource, this can help to developer a alternative but still adobe can break the standard, left out of the standard key features or simply giving a inconsistent and hard to follow standard.

(jameswjrose said @ #2.5)
Thanks for the heads up on Reader 9, it is much faster than 8.

As for the idea of a very lightweight reader, I'm all for it. THe issue becomes can a lightweight reader degrade gracefully if it does not have a specific ability that the full blown reader has an the specific document requires. If I was writing some such Reader I would have the LWR open the full blown version of Adobe Reader. That way the end-user doesn't have to do anything.

In one sense, there always was a light-weight reader: just disabling all the never-needed plugins gave it a massive speed boost, I remember there were (are?) freeware programs that could do this for you and made using Reader a perfectly bearable experience.

Perhaps the best thing they could do is just have Reader scan the document and only load the plugins it needs?