Subject: Re: [OT?] US & CA govt use of PDF fill-in forms
From: "Mahesh T. Pai" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 10:51:16 +0530

Ernest Prabhakar said on Mon, Apr 26, 2004 at 02:02:20PM -0700,:

 > Perhaps  what you  are  really saying  -  which might  be at  least
 > slightly relevant to this list  - is that you only want governments
 > to  use  document  formats   that  are  supported  by  open  source
 > implementations.  Is that your point?

Speaking for myself, and not for the original poster.

My issue is about this. See below:-

This is an interview with Bruce Chizen, Exec. VP, Adobe.

(Q) You've  documented a  number of  your key  architectures: PostScript,
PDF,  and--albeit somewhat  reluctantly--the Type  1 font  format. But
these are not open-source initiatives, nor are they official standards
controlled   by   standards   bodies   like   the   World   Wide   Web
Consortium.  Although Adobe  documents these  formats, it  alone still
controls  them. Have  you  found a  profitable  middle ground  between
proprietary architectures and open source?

(A)With   PostScript   and  PDF,   we   found   that  publishing   the
specifications--making  them open,  but  not open  standards, but  not
providing  open  source--is the  right  path  for  us. Once  something
becomes a standard  driven by a standards body, it  moves at a glacial
pace. And innovation slows down  significantly because you have to get
everybody  to agree and  there's lots  of compromise.  If you  make it
totally open source, you don't get a return on investment.

We believe that by opening up the specification, we allow other people
to take advantage  of it. But because we still own  the source, we get
to innovate  around that standard  more quickly than anybody  else. We
have found  that to  be a great  balance. PDF  is the best  example of
that. We work on Acrobat, we  work on PDF, we announce the product, we
ship it, and we open up the specification.

Note the chronology in the  last sentence of the last paragraph above.
Which is very  bad for *sovereign*, not mere  intra-government use.  I
have no problem  with that in *private* use though.   Indeed, I do use
PDF quite often  (with LaTeX, that is). But  the criteria is different
for the governments.

The issue when  governments use the portable document  format is, what
if Adobe refuses  to open up the next  revision of the specifications?
That is a possibility with corporate specs. as always.

  Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M.,                   
  'NANDINI', S. R. M. Road,               
  Ernakulam, Cochin-682018,               
  Kerala, India.                          
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