Adobe pushes PDF specification for ISO adoption

Adobe Systems wants to have its entire PDF specification, already a de facto worldwide standard for document interchange, published as a formal, de jure standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Various specialized subsets of PDF, such as PDF for Archive and PDF for Exchange, are already ISO standards, and others are being proposed. But this will take the full PDF specification into the open standards process for the first time.

Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect for Adobe’s Platform Business Unit, said the move is the next logical development in PDF’s evolution.

“By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardization, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness,” he said. “As governments and organizations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organization will help continue to drive innovation and expand the rich PDF ecosystem that has evolved over the past 15 years.”

Although Adobe has openly published the PDF specification for several years, its development has been under Adobe’s control. As the Web evolves into a repository of merged voice, video and text applications — the so-called Web 2.0 environment — many people feel there will be a growing push for true open standards and protocols.

As an ISO standard, future PDF specifications will be open to input from many government and industry organizations worldwide that will be able to press more actively for their requirements to be included.

Adobe said it will release the current PDF 1.7 specification to AIIM, the international authority on enterprise content management, for review and the development of the draft standards document that will then be submitted to ISO for approval as an international standard.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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