San Jose (CA) - Adobe plans on submitting its Portable Document Format (PDF) specification as a world standard. PDFs files have become a de-facto standard around the world because of their WYSIWYG nature both in viewing and printing. Now, Adobe wants to cement that in stone and possibly hamper the adoption of Microsoft's competing format XML Paper Specification (XPS).
The company is submitting version 1.7 of the PDF specification to AIIM which is the Enterprise Content Management Association of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). You can read the full specification at Adobe's website here.
The PDF was created way back in 1993 and its usage has reached millions of people, mainly in the business community where it is known as an easy to print format. PDF files are read with the freely downloadable Adobe Acrobat Reader and are created with Adobe Acrobat. One criticism of PDF is the high cost of Adobe Acrobat, but the open source community has made several free creation utilities. Adobe's announcement comes just one day before the worldwide launch of Microsoft's Vista operating system which uses an alternative document format XPS. As the name suggests, XPS will use XML to describe data inside of a ZIP-compressed file.
Originally created as a sort of PDF-killer, Microsoft hopes the specification will take off. XPS files are easily viewable in Vista because a stand-alone viewer is included in all versions. In contrast, Adobe Acrobat Reader must be manually downloaded and installed.
Microsoft has released XPS as a royalty-free copyright license and promises to never sue anyone who takes advantage of its use.