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PDF Is Now ISO 32000 410

Posted by kdawson
from the long-and-winding-road dept.
It is official. As PDF Architect Jim King blogged today, Adobe has received word that the ballot for approval of PDF 1.7 to become the ISO 32000 Standard (DIS) has passed by a vote of 13 positive to 1 negative. A two-thirds majority is required to pass so it was a large margin of victory (93%). The vote breaks down as follows: Countries voting positive with no comments (9): Australia, Bulgaria, China, Japan, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine. Countries voting positive with comments (4): UK (13 comments), USA (125), Germany (11), Switzerland (19). Countries voting negative with comments (1): France (37 comments). Countries abstaining (1): Russia.
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PDF Is Now ISO 32000

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  • Go Figure on France (Score:3, Informative)

    by Khyber (864651) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:27PM (#21581095) Homepage Journal
    But then again, I know many French people, and they're opposed to proprietary software becoming an ISO standard, especially with patent and copyright as it stands now here in the US.
  • by calebt3 (1098475) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:29PM (#21581119)
    I like Foxit [] on Windows machines. Incredibly small and lightweight and works in your browser.
  • Re:France... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ajehals (947354) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:33PM (#21581153) Homepage Journal
    Presumably the standard submitted was sufficient that any person wishing to do so could use it to create a standards compliant PDF viewer/writer without hitting any major technical or partially documented issues or ambiguous 'IP' concerns. The OOXML standard didn't fail because its a Microsoft format, or because it's proprietary, it failed because (reportedly) the standard document contained ambiguous elements and was insufficient in itself for a third party to fully implement the standard in their own applications.

    Of course the various other shenanigans (such as alleged bribery attempts and quasi ballet stuffing) that plagued the OOXML submission probably haven't helped either.
  • Re:Great (Score:3, Informative)

    by mike260 (224212) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:43PM (#21581235)

    [...] until the full version of Adobe is available for free, or even less expensive, to the masses, it seems to be not quite right.
    The whole point of an open standard is that you're not locked into buying Acrobat (which I assume is what you meant by 'Adobe'). There are a bajillion and one PDF creators out there, many of them free. OS X can print to PDFs out-of-the-box.

    Puppy on lap = typos...not illiteracy.
    The puppy typed 'Adobe' at the moment you were trying to type 'Acrobat'?

  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:43PM (#21581237)
    Apple relies on Quartz and other built CoreImages to do their PDF rendering. So it works very well under OSX. They'd have to port everything to Windows first. Then you'd end up with a 90 MB "Preview.exe".

    See also iTunes and Quicktime in Windows.
  • Re:Adobe (Score:2, Informative)

    by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:51PM (#21581305)
    Already done. Evince [] and KPDF [] are both great pdf readers. Okular [] seems pretty nice too.
  • Re:Adobe (Score:5, Informative)

    by PenGun (794213) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:52PM (#21581307) Homepage
    Xpdf opens a 114M file in under 2 secs and a 25M one is pretty well instantaneous. Some kind of windose problem no doubt.
  • Re:ISO? (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:06AM (#21581389) Homepage Journal
    While I realize this is supposed to be an amusing turn of phrase, there are actually quite a few tools out there. A few that I like are:

    PDFBox [] - OSS Library for modifying PDFs on the fly.
    FOP [] - Use XSL-FO to design printable page layouts in XML, then use FOP to transform them to PDF documents.
    Foxit Tools [] - Alternative to the overpriced Adobe products.
    OpenOffice [] - The built-in support for PDFs is absolutely wonderful. I rarely give out DOC files anymore.
    FPDF [] - PHP PDF generation tools.
    iText [] - A great library for your own custom PDF generation.

    Those are just a few. The PDF format itself is actually not too bad. (When Adobe isn't breaking it with needless revisions, that is.) It's biggest strength is that the psuedo-text nature of the format allows one to diagnose the internals of a file pretty easily. Its greatest weakness is that things like text fields are needlessly convoluted. At the end of the day, though, it's a pretty good format.
  • Re:France... (Score:3, Informative)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:25AM (#21581521)
    OK so why is this good but the Microsoft format is bad?

    Because this format is technically pretty good, while Microsoft's format is technically bad.

    Fact is that some proprietary formats become defacto standards

    Microsoft's format wasn't rejected because it was from Microsoft, it was rejected because it was bad and needed work. If (and only if) Microsoft is willing to put in the work and make changes to the format, then OOXML can become an ISO standard as well.
  • by Arcturax (454188) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:33AM (#21581559)
    Then get Foxit instead.
  • Re:Great (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tweekster (949766) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:36AM (#21581579)
    I have full ebooks with 200+ pages and lots of photographs and diagrams. 400-600K
    That seems pretty decent.
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:36AM (#21581581) Homepage Journal
    Mac OS Preview isn't a PDF reader... Mac OS X is! Preview is, like, about 20 lines of code, considering that the entire PDF format is built into Core Image... or should I say: Core Image is built completely around PDF.

    +5 for Adobe
    +1 for Apple
    -5 for Microsoft
    -10 for Amazon (sorry Kindle, you're fucked)
  • Re:Adobe (Score:5, Informative)

    by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:42AM (#21581613) Homepage

    Great, now just make a reader that doesn't slow my system down to a crawl while opening a 100K document.

    The whole point of standardization is that it doesn't matter what Adobe does. Anybody can impliment the standard without too much trouble. Though, in practice, it was a DeFacto standard anyway, and there is already a ton of software that supports PDF. I haven't used Adobe's PDF reader in years.

    xpdf, kpdf,, Foxit Reader, etc. all work and between them probably support damn near any platform you would want to use. I use Foxit on my Windows machines, and I find it to be very convenient software which is fast, light, and mostly stays out of my way.
  • Re:France... (Score:3, Informative)

    by hpavc (129350) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:56AM (#21581707)
    Their 'open format' is just a wedge to allow them to not be sued for various issues or locked out of markets.

    They can say hey we can do that too, but not promote the product other than an alternative, an alternative they have no expectation that the client base would be able to actually commit to.
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:57AM (#21581711) Homepage Journal
    Actually, he's making a joke about high-speed film (ISO in photography refers to the light-sensitivity of film, as standardized by the ISO council). Film with a high ISO rating is very "fast" which means that it can shoot in very dimly lit situations. 32000 ISO, however, is fucking insane. You could pick up big-bang background noise with that shit!
  • Re:ISO? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ortholattice (175065) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:12AM (#21581807)
    And last but hopefully not least, pdflatex and pdftex []. You simply use "pdflatex" in place of the "latex" command to generate pdf output instead of dvi output, with much better quality than latex -> dvips -> ps2pdf (which unfortunately people who don't know better still use).
  • Re:Great (Score:4, Informative)

    by networkzombie (921324) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:14AM (#21581819)
    How about Public Key Security, locking documents with DRM, cataloging and index collections, online and offline comments, database connectivity, digital signatures, PDF conformation verification, JavaScript capabilities, forms, highlight searches, Web capture, image extraction, legal warnings about digitally signing dynamic content, tagged PDF converter for screen readers, edit pictures within PDF files, save as XML and HTML or RTF, spell checking, save table as CSV, HTML, Text, Unicode Text, RTF, XML, or XML.

    The big one is of course forms. Do any other PDF creators create PDFs with forms? Do they do it well?

    I use cutePDFcreator, Foxit, and a few others but they are missing the ability to create forms. Some do it; none do it well, IMO. Without forms it's just a static document. PDF is overkill for just a portable static document. The full version of Adobe Acrobat is fantastic at creating forms. That is what makes it so special.

  • Re:ISO? (Score:4, Informative)

    by eggnoglatte (1047660) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @02:09AM (#21582099)
    I like pdflatex for when I am still writing on a document. For the final version, though, I find that ps2pdf gives me better control over image resizing, compression, and, most importantly, font embedding.
  • PDFCreator (Score:4, Informative)

    by Leto-II (1509) <slashdot@4@tobye.spamgourmet@com> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @02:33AM (#21582237)

    FoxIt is wonderful, but is there anything free out there that will put a print-to-pdf driver on Windows machines? []
  • by RedBear (207369) <redbear.redbearnet@com> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @03:15AM (#21582411) Homepage
    Film with a high ISO rating is very "fast" which means that it can shoot in very dimly lit situations. 32000 ISO, however, is fucking insane. You could pick up big-bang background noise with that shit!

    It's not insane, it's just one "f-stop" more sensitive to light than ISO 16000, which is one f-stop more sensitive than ISO 8000. We've already had ISO 6400 film for decades, and right now on the market there are a couple of cameras (like the latest flagship digital SLR from Nikon) with ISO 26500. Yes, that's twenty-six thousand, five hundred. Don't ask me how or why they did it, but they did. Nothing particularly crazy about it, in fact it's a great thing for those who need to use high shutter speeds in low light and/or can't afford ultra-expensive large aperture lenses.

    Within ten years we no doubt will be seeing some digital cameras with ISO 32000 or higher sensitivities. Now if they'd just do something about the extremely limited dynamic range...

  • Re:Adobe (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rob Simpson (533360) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @03:15AM (#21582413)
    Just a random idea here ... but have you considered that the time to open a document might depend a lot on the speed of the machine?

    Sure, and with a 5Ghz Core2Octo processor and a RAID array of 10000RPM drives, you might be able to open that 114M file in 2 seconds with Adobe Reader. Personally, I'd rather use Xpdf (Foxit or SumatraPDF if using Windows) than spend $10000 upgrading my machine.
  • Re:ISO? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Yahma (1004476) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @03:34AM (#21582471) Journal
    Don't forget:
    PDFLib [] - The standard (and powerful) PDF Library for PHP5
    PDFLib Lite [] - The OpenSource version of the above
    FPDI [] - Imports existing PDF documents into FPDF

    PDFLib Lite is a great tool for dynamically creating PDF documents on the FLY with PHP. Or, FPDF & FPDI if you don't mind a slight performance hit.

  • Re:Great (Score:3, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @03:57AM (#21582555)
    15 mmegabytes? Where the hell are you getting your numbers.

    I just made a randomly generated pdf [] using a Lorum Ipsum generator and copy and paste.

    278 page, 1.1 MB. Looks the same on my Mac as it does on a Linux machine as it does on Windows machine as it does on a reader that supports PDF as it does on the printer.

    That's why.
  • Re:PDF works (Score:5, Informative)

    by tonyr60 (32153) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @05:38AM (#21582945)
    PDF was never intended to be edited, once published. The objective of the format it that it can be rendered as the author intended, not edited.
  • Re:France... (Score:3, Informative)

    by rucs_hack (784150) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @06:34AM (#21583155)
    I beleive they have no problem in people implementing readers and writers usually. Microsoft were wanting to make it part of their saleable product without paying royalties. Microsot aren't your usual player.

    The big issue was, I think, that if they had PDF in MSOffice, they could artificially deprectate it by having a 'This format may not save all the features of this document, use ours instead'. That was the groklaw suspicion I recall. Everyone else says 'use this, use ours, whatever you want', which does not harm Adobe.
  • by Bert64 (520050) <> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @07:24AM (#21583395) Homepage
    Yes, OSX has decent tools by default both for reading and creating PDFs, it's a genuinely useful format by default.
  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@davi d g e r a r d . c o .uk> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @07:24AM (#21583397) Homepage
    You want PDFedit []. Ubuntu 7.10 Universe repository.
  • by esme (17526) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @07:45AM (#21583503) Homepage
    My own personal opinion is that many of us Americans got so whipped up about France obstructing the march to war in 2002/3 (you can still find Freedom Fries on menus in some places here). And then, to add insult to the injury of the badly botched occupation, it turns out that France was right, and its obstruction was actually very wise.

    So now Americans need to save face. And bashing France at every turn is a way for us to do that. And making it seem like the French hate us is even better, because it justifies our behavior.

    The reality on the ground is very different of course. I remember going to Normandie around D-Day 2004, and seeing all the American flags flying. I imagine they were mostly new additions because of the anniversary and Bush's visit, but still it would be hard to imagine an American city being decked out with French flags to celebrate an occasion here. A major street in Caen is still named "Avenue du Six Juin". It was instructive to see the American bluster about France forgetting what we'd done for her, compared to the quiet steadfastness on display there.


  • by blind biker (1066130) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:40AM (#21583787) Journal
    It's interesting, astonishing and emblematic to me, that one application (Foxit Reader) would offer the same features as another (Adobe Acrobat Reader 8.x) but the package size is 10x smaller, it is a much faste application and it DOESN'T CRASH!

    Acrobat Reader 8.x is a piece of crap.
  • Re:ISO? (Score:3, Informative)

    by s20451 (410424) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:54AM (#21583861) Journal
    That is a bug/feature of LaTeX. However, you can use epstopdf to convert your eps files to pdf, prior to using pdflatex.
  • by lahvak (69490) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @09:48AM (#21584163) Homepage Journal
    They do not offer the same features, its just that most people don't particularly care about the features that are in Adobe Reader and not in Foxit Reader.
  • by HeroreV (869368) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @11:31AM (#21585205) Homepage

    Apparently ISO has resolved the international standards approval bottleneck that ensued after a number of countries had applied for participating member status just before the vote on Microsoft's proposed OOXML document standard. That problem came up when all those new "participating" member countries suddenly lost interest in, er... participating anymore after the vote on OOXML.
    The problem arising from OOXML occurred in subcommittee 34 (SC34) of the joint committee between ISO and IEC (JTC1). It never affected all of ISO. It still prevents SC34 from getting anything done.

    The PDF specification is being approved by subcommittee 2 of technical committee 171. It has nothing to do with JTC1 and surely has nothing to do with SC34 of JTC1.

    It's one thing for the average person to have no idea how ISO or IEC works, and to think the OOXML issue affects all of ISO, and to have no idea that IEC is just as affected by the OOXML issue as ISO is, but any respectable journalist should do some research and try to understand what they're reporting on.

    The Inquirer should be ashamed to be associated with such bad reporting.
  • by SillySilly (843107) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @11:34AM (#21585243)

    this doesn't really mean TOO much in the document world
    Oh, but it does. The use of internationally-recognized standard document formats is slowly being mandated by governments world-wide. This also drove Microsoft to send OOXML to ISO. Adobe has been losing some sales to (for example) vendors of ISO-15444-6 (JPEG2000 compound image file format []).
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:34PM (#21587069) Journal
    There's no "correct" way to display fonts on the screen. You have to decide what to do with the low DPI you have to live with, and, depending on the algorithm, you either get higher contrast but more shape distortion (if you try to snap lines to pixel boundaries), or blurry shapes but less shape distortion (if you blur lines which fall between pixels accordingly between those pixels). The first is what Microsoft does, the second is what Apple does. The first gives more readable text for small fonts on lower DPIs (such as Windows' Tahoma 8 on your typical 19"). The second looks better for larger fonts or on higher DPIs, where there are no elements that are single-pixel thick (and this is why OS X default GUI font is larger than in Windows).

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton