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Adobe releases PDF 1.7 spec for industry standardization

February 01, 2007

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Adobe announced it plans to release the Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.7 spec to AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management Association, for publication by the ISO.

Company spokesperson Kevin Lynch, Senior Vice-President and Chief Software Architect at Adobe, said the announcement is the "next logical step in the evolution of PDF from de facto standard to a formal, de jure standard." For more on "de jure" and "de facto" see the Wikipedia definition of the two.

Translated, perhaps what Lynch is intimating is that PDF 1.7 is already being used as the de facto standard and the company is now finally open to releasing the spec for full review and ISO standardization.

See this editorial by our own Dan Shea, on Adobe and openness titled, "How 'open' is PDF?".

"By releasing the full PDF application for ISO standardization, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness. As governments and organizations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organizations will help continue to drive innovation and expand the rich PDF ecosystem that has evolved over the past 15 years," said Lynch.

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, this announcement will have overall on the PDF arena, as there have been free PDF creation programs on the market for some time.

In the announcement, John Mancini, President of AIIM noted, "Over the last several years we have seen and in many cases helped facilitate a range of ongoing market and customer focused efforts around PDF. These efforts have grown so broadly that it now makes sense for Adobe to let the full specification serve as a unifying umbrella and submit it for approval under the formal ISO standards process."

Unifying umbrella? Perhaps with the ongoing Microsoft concern and with the accessibility to free PDF-creation programs as well as competing programs at a much less price point, Adobe was concerned it would be left out in the rain.

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