Adobe Systems' popular portable document format, or PDF as it's more well-known, has become the latest International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard as of Wednesday morning.
Adobe has been the key developer and patent holder of the technology, and on Wednesday passed over the entire specification of version 1.7 to the Geneva-based ISO. This comes just a year and a half after Adobe made plans to open up by giving the specification to the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) which was to lay the groundwork for ISO certification.
The ISO has issued a press release about the new standard (named "ISO 32000-1:2008"), along with a quote from Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch about the move expanding the PDF universe. "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," Lynch said. It's nearly verbatim with what he said back in the AIIM hand-off, but holds true to what typically happens when any file format is ISO certified. They'll typically become more attractive to governments and large corporate customers.
As for consumers, the PDF format has been a hit or miss affair on the Web. PDFs are well-known for taking a long time to open in browsers with Adobe's own Reader software. Others like Apple have come in and integrated PDF reading into its Safari browser, while users of Firefox have sought third-party solutions like Foxit to speed up the process. Likewise, PDF search results on Google have had an "open as HTML" option for some time now, letting users forgo formatting for speed.
Other recent file formats that received ISO certification include Microsoft's Office Open XML format, which passed a vote for approval back in April.