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HP backs Adobe file format

Hewlett-Packard licenses Adobe Systems' Portable Document Format for use in its printers, scanners and digital cameras.

Hewlett-Packard has licensed Adobe Systems' Portable Document Format (PDF) for use in its printers, scanners and digital cameras, the companies said Wednesday.

HP will start including PDF products in the spring of 2002, the Palo Alto, Calif., computing company said.

PDF, a cousin of Adobe's PostScript language common in high-end printers, records graphics and high-quality text that can be read on any computer with Adobe's Acrobat reader software. Adobe gives reader software away for free but charges for the software used to generate PDF files.

PDF readers are available for computers running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and even the Palm operating system.

In a years-long struggle, PDF won out over a host of similar file formats from Adobe competitors such as Tumbleweed Software's Envoy format.

The move bolsters Adobe's position in graphics. Though high-end HP printers currently support PostScript, the default format is HP's own Printer Control Language (PCL).

In addition, HP will join the CIP4 organization, which is trying to create a standard way to send graphics jobs between different devices such as printers, printing presses and computers.