Interesting news this morning:
“In 1993 Adobe published the full specifications for its Portable Document Format, or PDF, granting royalty free license to those who chose to build PDF tools into their applications, and helping PDF to become a de-facto standard for document creation.
Tomorrow they will announce that they are relinquishing control over the PDF format to AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management Association, for the purpose of publication by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
One of the primary reasons for this appears to be hesitation by many governments to embrace proprietary formats, including PDF. With this change, Adobe hopes to sell many more copies of Acrobat, the primary software used to create and edit PDFs.”
One of the resolutions passed at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention this past summer required the Church to move to using open, fully specified formats for its data and sharing. The point, on a simplistic level was to try to avoid our getting locked into a single vendor for our documents.
But a more important point of our resolution was to help the Church mimic the ability of the Internet to share information. The Internet works as well as it does because, at its core, it’s pretty dumb. The data it passes back and forth is simple and structured in a way that can be easily manipulated. The fancy stuff (turning it into a displayed web-page or an email or a video file) is done on the users machine and not by the network. This makes it very easy for people to share ideas, and more importantly to be clever and think up ways to extend the capabilities that we exploit to communicate effectively. Hopefully as we in the Church learn to do this as well, we’ll be able to collaborate our work between all sorts of people around the world.
At any rate – this morning’s announcement is evidence that lots of folks are thinking the same way.