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[Irl-dean] Accessibility of PDF Format Resources?

Barry McMullin mcmullin at eeng.dcu.ie
Mon Nov 27 11:23:46 GMT 2006


On Mon, 27 Nov 2006, Joshue O Connor wrote:

> For me even though it is licensed for royalty free use by both authors
> and end users, its still an Adobe product and I think that will always
> colour the discussion - but I agree with you.
> I never considered it an 'open' technology though.

Well ... of course it does depend what you mean by "open".
This issue was recently debated in the context of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts "Enterprise Technical Reference
Model" [1]; where they judged that PDF (but not, funnily enough,
MS-Office XML) qualified as an "open" technology, according to
their particular criteria.

Like Josh I hesitate a little on really accepting this; but the
acid test for me is whether there is a real, open, community of
competitive suppliers of the technology.  And in PDF's case, I
believe that is just about so (even if Adobe does still have
something remarkably like a "dominant" position...).

> Well the fact that Adobe developed the reader and then
> distributed it for free is a big part of the success of PDF. If
> we all had to pay to view PDFs it would be a different story.

Yes, but: just put "free pdf viewer" into your favourite search
engine and you will find that there are many, equally free,
alternatives; being offered by organisations that are equally
competing for this "exposure" in the marketplace.  And that being
the case, I honestly think it is extraordinary that public
bodies, without any seeming thought of what they are doing,
intervene in the market to give preferential treatment to one
vendor (who is, in fact, *already* in something close to a
dominant position)! And this really is preferential treatment:
just consider that virtually all search engine ranking algorithms
are now heavily influenced by "inbound link count" and you see
how valuable all those little "get acrobat reader free" links
really are! It is literally a type and level of advertising
that money could not buy.

But hey, maybe it's just me <shrug>...

Best regards - Barry.


[1]: http://tinyurl.com/y7ld7n




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