The other way to get a document format approved (PDF)

PDF is getting a warm international reception. OOXML? Not without a fight.

Dave McAllister over at Adobe is suggesting that the ballot for PDF for Draft International Standard ballots are in, and with 93% apparently in favor, things are looking good for ISO 32000 PDF. Reading through Dave's post, it's clear that this is a much better way to create a true "standard" than what happened with OOXML .

OOXML was a case study in bare-knuckled lobbying. PDF? Not at all.

Now this was a lot of effort to pull together. We did follow a "lobby-free" policy with this effort. We did answer concerns when we were asked to clarify. We did log a few air miles when invited to discuss this in public forums. And we also took the PDF specification 1.7, removed any product dependencies, and created a world class draft standard. ...

The next phase of standards is more difficult. Creating a formal standard from a good de facto standard used by thousands of independent products is, well, not easy, but straightforward. Creating a new standard, or moving a standard requires dedicated, knowledgeable people who can spend the time and energy to create a specification that enables movement from the old and still keeps pace with use and technology. Finding those people is hard, getting their time is harder.

Dave notes that the work is hardly over at this point, but for me the point is already made: good standards don't require bad lobbying.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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