Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The PDF is dead, long live the PDF

Adobe Acrobat Markierungswerkzeug

Image via Wikipedia

From: BBC News - The PDF is dead, long live the PDF

99% of the complaints that you will ever hear about PDF can be traced to the software used to view them, not to the PDF files themselves. Reading PDF in Linux has been trivial for over a decade, even 10 years ago it was impossible to find a default Linux install (with a GUI) that couldn’t read PDFs natively. Every version of Apple OSX that I have ever used had native PDF reading, and it simply worked.

Windows? That was a different deal. If the Windows machine had Adobe Acrobat Reader, PDFs either worked or they didn’t. Once I discovered Foxit PDF Reader, PDFs in Windows became a non-issue. I still heard weekly complaints about PDF, almost every time from people that only use Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Worse, the complaints also came from OSX users. The constant here is that Adobe Acrobat reader sucks, not that PDF sucks.

Microsoft even came up with an open standard to compete against PDF, the problem is nobody uses it.

Another thing that has annoyed me for a decade is that Linux has always had a print to PDF feature. You can go to any program that can print and send the printout into a PDF. And OSX has had this too since forever. But Windows? Not without a plugin.

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