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Re: [vox] PDFs
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Re: [vox] PDFs

on Mon, Jan 27, 2003 at 08:23:39PM +0530, karthikeyan.balasubramanian (karthikeyan.balasubramanian@aspiresys.com) wrote:
> Are Linux Users comfortable with PDF Format.  I want to place PDF
> files in our site so that they can see it online.  I dont want to
> restrict myself to Windows so want to check up Linux Users tooo.

Contrary to popular belief, PDF is an open format.  It's also supported
by free viewers (gv and xpdf), so that the rights-trashing,
programmer-proscuting, purveryor of ineffective security, and above all
unrepentant Adobe Software corp's own adware viewer doesn't have to be


    Adobe constructs an elaborate formulation which extends sympathy to
    Sklyarov while expressing a determination to ensure that the law
    must be upheld. And as painful as it might be, the law must ensure
    programmers who breach the DMCA will be prosecuted.

That said, PDF has several disadvantages:

   - It reduces useability by 300%, per Jakob Nielsen:

        Forcing users to browse PDF files makes usability approximately
        300% worse compared to HTML pages. Only use PDF for documents
        that users are likely to print. In those cases, following six
        basic guidelines will minimize usability problems.

   - It's not (or poorly) viewable for text-mode browsers.  Which may or
     may not be a large portion of your market, but includeds the
     disabled, many handheld or other small-device viewers, or those
     like me stuck on older HW for which a full GUI browser tends not to
     be particularly useable.

   - Display and presentation are useful for offline (hardcopy) viewing,
     but tend to be poorly suited for online viewing.  In general, PDF
     is far less flexible than HTML.  Operations (page flipping,
     searching, scanning, etc.) are far slower and far more cumbersome
     than HTML or text.  Depending on how the PDF is generated, it may
     not render particularly well (this is especially true of scanned
     documents, which are essentially a large graphical image).

   - Tends to be poorly indexed.  Google can handle PDFs (and offers
     them as HTML if possible).  Other search engines may or may not
     accomodate the format.

I'd strongly encourage you to use HTML instead.  Stick to PDF *only*
for material which requires printing.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   LNX-BBC:  Bootable GNU/Linux -- Don't leave /home without it.
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