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Acrobat-killer Submitted to Standards Body 326

Flying Wallenda writes "Did Adobe make a tactical blunder when it complained to the European Union about Microsoft including support for its XML Paper Specification (XPS) in Windows Vista and Office 2007? Now that Microsoft has decided to submit its 'PDF killer' to a standards-setting organization, Adobe may be regretting its decision. 'Microsoft is looking again at its license in order to make it compatible with open source licenses, which means that the "covenant not to sue" will likely be extended to cover any intellectual property dispute stemming from the simple use or incorporation of XPS. The end result is that using XPS may be considerably more attractive for developers now that the EU has apparently expressed concerns over the license.'"
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Acrobat-killer Submitted to Standards Body

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  • Word Dilution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 16, 2006 @06:50PM (#16460563)
    Pretty soon the word 'killer' will have lost its original meaning. In fact, it will be a compliment to be called a 'killer' because it means you were a solution for a problem that already had a widely popular solution.

    Yet you overcame that and somehow became the new solution until you yourself were killed. And your functionality was conveyed specifically by saying '<competing solution> killer.' They couldn't even take the time to mention what it was you did.

    Slashdot uses this way too much [].

    Killer [].
  • The Killers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HarvardFrankenstein ( 635329 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @06:53PM (#16460599) Homepage
    I find it telling that so much of what big companies like Microsoft try to create is intended to be some kind of Killer. Rather than come up with something brand new that the market has never seen before, they wait for someone else to do just that, and then they try to Kill it and claim its glory for themselves.
  • I love adobe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 16, 2006 @06:57PM (#16460653)
    Forcing a reboot to update a file viewer is pure quality and genius.

    I hope they die real soon.
  • Re:I love adobe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DigitlDud ( 443365 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:00PM (#16460703)
    Not to mention installing a stupid pre-loader in your system startup and freezing the entire viewer when downloading data.
  • Details? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:02PM (#16460727) Homepage

    I always wonder what it really means when Microsoft makes "open standards" and such, ever since the MSO XML debacle. I'll wait to hear some details that confirm that there aren't any dirty tricks involved.

    Even so, I'm not sure why I would want to jump on this new standard at the moment. PDF is widely supported, and does a good job for the things it's meant for. Will Microsoft make a program to do the things that Acrobat does? Will it provide different ways to optimize quality/size? Will it work with the companies in the print business to make sure it provides everything they need, and works on their equipment on the same level as PDF? Because as much as PDF is nice for trading print documents online, it's real strength is the support from professional printing industries.

    So that's what Microsoft needs to do to be on equal footing with Adobe, which still doesn't tell us why anyone should switch.

  • anything is better (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7 @ k c . r r . c om> on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:08PM (#16460817) Homepage
    Will this one start faster and not bug me every other time I run it to install some random new adobe crap I dont want or need? I the answer to either is yes concider me ready to convert.
  • by pilkul ( 667659 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:19PM (#16460967)
    I know, XSLT is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's even a functional language!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:21PM (#16460995)
    It's unreasonably hard to generate quality PDF programmatically.
    Either you have resort to using the virtual printer driver supplied with Acrobat, or you have to typeset your document to PostScript format using TeX or whatever.
    And if you use the virtual printer driver, forget about interactive features and full-text searching.
    Editing PDFs is a nightmare - PostScript allows way too much flexibility for a 'portable' format.

    I don't know much about XPS, but organizing the document as a set of zipped XML files seems to be a step in the right direction.
  • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:22PM (#16461005)
    What's so horrible about PDF exactly? It's good enough to be used in the OS X graphics system of all places.

    Acrobat is horrible, but that has no more to do with PDF than Internet Explorer has to do with HTML.
  • by kill-1 ( 36256 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:34PM (#16461175)
    PDF forms are somehow kludgy, but it's a great way to fill in forms you have to print out anyway.
  • by Shawn is an Asshole ( 845769 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @09:16PM (#16462191)
    I got this quote from an AC and I think it applies here:

    XML is like violence. If it doesn't solve your problem, use more.
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @09:57PM (#16462533)
    PDF is not truly a license free product, open yes, license free - sort of...

    This is how Adobe strongarmed MS in removing it from the shipping version of Office, as Adobe was going to demand licensing fees. (However it can be distributed separately without incurring the fees.)

    Adobe truly screwed themselves here, they would have been the all time standard with MS giving them full support in Office, but instead they wanted to keep MS at bay and make money off the Office name. Adobe messed up.

    From my inside MS sources, the XPS was never meant to become a PDF replacement, even though it has the technology to do so, and even offers more features than the PDF specification. However the move by Adobe to try to screw with MS with the Office Plug-in and taking it even further by raising contention with the whole Vista Composer that is an XAML/XPS technology came as a complete slap to MS.

    Prior to Adobe trying to squeeze MS for money and try to stop Vista because of the inherent XPS/XAML composer, MS decided they didn't have to play nice in this market, and I honestly don't blame them.

    MS worked with Adobe up until just a few month ago when all of this started coming down. MS even was helping Adobe with using the Vista composer technologies for Adobe products, including their PDF reader. As in MS mind they had no intention of pushing XPS outside of the Vista world which could hurt Adobe, now however with Adobe's actions, they don't feel any obligation to stay out of Adobe's playground and can pursuing opening and dropping XPS technology to all OS platforms.
  • Re:I love adobe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @10:02PM (#16462573)
    Not to mention that it write-locks the file you're viewing, even though it has read the whole thing into memory. It gets tirng having to close/pdflatex/open all time instead of just refresh. Imagine, for example, if your browser did that while you were working on a web page.
  • by Einstein_101 ( 966708 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @10:12PM (#16462671)
    I don't get you people. For a group that proclaims their hate for Microsoft as often as they do, slashdotters swear that Microsoft can kill any application and any company. I'm sorry, but even Microsoft has their limitations.

    Microsoft is no match for Adobe Acrobat. I guess you can consider Adobe the iPod equivalent of computer software companies. The measuring stick that all image editors are judged buy isn't Microsoft Paint - it's Adobe Photoshop. As far as document formants are concerned, Acrobat is no different. Adobe Acrobat is the one format that anyone even remotely computer literate is familiar with. My sister who has an office job knows what it is. My 15 year old cousin in high school knows what it is. My 51 year old mother even knows what it is. My barely computer literate brother is even familiar with Adobe Acrobat. Like the iPod, Acrobat is bigger than just a file format - it's the name that we all know and love, and it's one of a few cross platform applications that actually make quality, up-to-date Linux versions. Ask any long time Mac user, and they'll quickly tell you that Adobe was vital to keeping their platform afloat (Photoshop, Go Live).

    As a matter of fact, we've seen this all before. Apple released a transportation method that was clearly better than it's competitor (USB), and submitted it to a standards committee. But despite all the advantages of Firewire, people had too many legacy applications and were too familiar with USB to abandon one of the few computer elements they were comfortable with. If you add legacy support to my previous reasons, The Microsoft threat isn't as strong as you would like to tell yourself it is.
  • Re:Word Dilution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Simon Garlick ( 104721 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @10:48PM (#16462963)
    Liberal, for instance

    Only in America. Out here in the civilised Rest Of The World, it still means "free from prejudice or bigotry; open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc."

    It took me a while, and many raised eyebrows, before I realised that some Americans use the word as an INSULT.
  • Re:Details? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @11:05PM (#16463083) Journal
    Actually, a lot of people use PDF files as bitmap containers. Specifically, that is ALL they are using PDF for.

    Look at any 'Old Technical Document Repository' webite, i.e. The Boat-Anchor Manual Archive []. Tons and tons of old equipment manual pages scanned as bitmaps, with many 'contained' in big fat ugly PDF files. It isn't the best 'container' people could use, but it's become a defacto standard for a lot of people.
  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @11:21PM (#16463219) Homepage Journal
    If you want to allow your users to do this, instead of adding form fields to your PDF document, it's better to use Word/OpenOffice. Then the user can e.g. cut and paste properly, use rich text markup, and save what he's written in the form on the hard drive (Acrobat may be able to do some of those things now -- I haven't used its form feature in a long time -- but there's a whole pile of problems like this, you get the idea). Not having the form feature would force people to switch to a superior format for these applications.

    The problem here is that this allows the user to easily modify the rest of the document, which is not usually what is wanted. When it comes to Word and OpenOffice, then one you have to pay for and the other is not always the nicest thing to use. PDF have a free viewer and anyone can implement one if they wish (spec available). The truth is I just want something that works and allows me to easily share documents with other people, without them having to fork out money in order to view my documents. Format wars only help the people fighting them and eveyone else just ends up being losers.

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan