Hello World.PDF

kevin@scic.intel.com (Kevin Altis)
Message-id: <9307220023.AA19801@rs042.scic.intel.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1993 17:21:50 -0800
To: www-talk@nxoc01.cern.ch
From: kevin@scic.intel.com (Kevin Altis)
X-Sender: kevin@rs042.scic.intel.com
Subject: Hello World.PDF
Cc: Paul Holbrook <holbrook@cic.net>, uri@bunyip.com
Status: RO
Below is a PDF file I created on a Macintosh. I did this because many
people probably haven't seen the heart of the PDF beast yet ;> It doesn't
get much simpler. All the file contained was "Hello World" without the
quotes to be printed on an 8.5" x 11" page. I made the typeface Courier, so
that the PDF file wouldn't contain lots of font metric information, if I
would have used a TrueType font the file would have been much larger (about
2500 bytes for a scaleable font like TrueType Geneva). The point here is
that PDF is not simple, it is like a PostScript superset, oriented towards
presentation, not content. The files are fairly large; in this example the
11 characters of Hello World turned into a 942 character PDF file, almost
100 times larger than the original, of course I didn't use the LZW encoding
for the text :). Like PostScript, this is not very human readable.

There has been a lot of excitement lately about Adobe's PDF. While I
welcome PDF as a replacement for the distribution of many PostScript
documents, PDF has a lot of shortcomings, it is not a panacea. It certainly
doesn't address most of the issues in WWW. A PostScript file (.ps) requires
a PostScript printer in order to view the file; GhostScript doesn't work
for many complex documents, doesn't address PostScript Level 2, etc. PDF
ups the requirements, it requires that you have a PDF viewer, which is not
free and the viewer can't be attached to the document itself. Simply having
a PostScript printer does you no good since PDF is not valid PostScript and
requires a PDF reader to view or print the file. Adobe has stated that they
won't distribute a "Print Only" PDF reader for free and no vendor has
announced intentions of bundling Acrobat that I know of. Version 1.0 does
not address the issue of modifying documents, you simply create read only
PDF documents, which may contain separate annotations. Links are confined
within documents, so a HyperText system isn't currently possible.

Acrobat is available on the Mac OS (6.0.5 and later) and Windows 3.1, some
Unix versions are on the way, everyone else is out of luck, so much for the
"portable" part of PDF. In addition, use of the Distiller which is
necessary for PostScript files and output from many Desktop Publishing
programs (or other applications that use embedded PostScript) is extremely
slow and a memory hog (12MB of application RAM is recommended).

Acrobat and PDF do not address the issues of workgroup collaboration, Web
style HyperText, or accessing document types other than PDF. Acrobat is one
solution to read only publication of material for CD-ROM or one of the
phone/cable services coming soon to a wall jack near you. Adobe hopes you
will standardize on PDF and electronic exchange of information instead of
using FAX or Fed Ex or making paper copies of documents for your
co-workers; the Acrobat reader is cheaper over time than the reams of paper
you would normally print, fax, and copy, assuming you view on screen rather
than printing. I'm sure many big organizations will use Acrobat (I know I
will for some distribution), but if PDF and Acrobat addressed even half of
the issues I'm concerned with for information sharing and collaboration I
probably wouldn't be on this mailing list today.

Sorry for such a long message, but there was a lot to share.


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/F1 12 Tf
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/CreationDate (Wed, Jul 21, 1993 3:17 PM)
/Author (Kevin Altis)
/Producer (Acrobat PDF Writer 1.0 for Macintosh )
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