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Re: current thoughts on PDF back end

From: Sebastien Pierre
Subject: Re: current thoughts on PDF back end
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 20:34:15 +0400 (MSD)

>> In conclusion, dropping the PDF back end will greatly reduce
>> Lout's advantage over other document formatting systems when it
>> comes to size and speed.
>I guess the problem are development resources.  To make the PDF
>backend really useful, you would not only have to fix it, but you'd
>have to add support for diagrams, graphics inclusion, and font
>embedding (Type 1 and TrueType, including subsetting).  I'd be all for
>it, but someone will have to write it, too...

Maybe PDF has more future than PS... I've followed the evolution of 
this format vaguely through computer graphics magazines and I've 
noticed that PDF is trying to prove it is a mature x-platform document 
format, ready for the web and ready for the graphics and printing 
people. When it comes to incorporating color graphics, links, 
annotations, etc... PDF becomes really useful, and it has evolved to 
satisfy some very peculiar problems we cannot really think about. 
Moreover PDF is evoluting quite actively, and I'm not sure who 
maintains PS (originally it was designed by Adobe, which is putting all 
its efforts on PDF).

The issue that I am preoccupated with is wether PS will support Lout's 
future improvements (which I do not know about). Personnaly I think 
PDF,as the successor of PS, is a better platform for documents 
especially because it is evolving towards the needs of people who 
produce documents, and people who print them. I think PDF has metadata 
support (like HTML's <meta ..> tags), because Google is able to 
reference PDF documents, and PS seems not to have those features (at 
least I've never seen google reference a PS doc).

PS was designed to be a unified language for printers, PDF is designed 
to be a unified language for describing complex documents. So maybe 
it's better to target information systems than printers (it's the 
semantic web ;).

So my personal opinion is that the PDF backend should be ameliorated, 
and I also agree with Martin's opinion: at school we have a f****ed up 
GS installation which produce really garbled PS documents, so I have to 
write PDF documents from Lout when I have to print a report, and I'm 
glad to be able to edit/compile/view documents with only Vim,Lout and 
XPdf. Luckily we have some space to put our preferred programs on the 
school's servers, this wasn't the case in university. It's always cool 
to be able to install a complete document chain in less than 10mb. But 
as Michael said, it's a problem of resources: somebody will have to 
write the code...

Sorry for this long mail ;)


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