[linux-elitists] What's wrong with PDF

Marcia Wilbur aicra@well.com
Mon Nov 10 07:25:05 PST 2003



On Mon, 10 Nov 2003, Michael Still wrote:

> PDF fills a demand. That demand wouldn't exist if the majority of the
> world thought plain text was suffient. I guess a similar arguement applies
> to HTTP vs gopher.

PDF gives the illusion of a non tampered document. This myth that PDFs
are a secure format runs rampant IMHO. Many users believe
that it is difficult to forge a PDF. This is not
true. While it may be a little more work to alter/forge a PDF as opposed
to a plain text file, the possibility and probability still exists.
Perhaps the PDF altering probability is less than a plain text and
therefore the "demand".

In the case of it being good for straight to print, PDFs only give the
print shops release from responsibility and reruns, where any errors in a
PDF file that is received from a customer are the sole responsibilty of
the customer. In the past, if the customer brought in a job that needed
some typesetting, if there was a spelilng errer , etc, then the job
would be rerun at the expense of the print shop, most likely.

However, in the event of a noted error, the print shop will more than
likely NOT alter the text for correction.

If users realized that PDFs are not as secure as they might think or that
there is an alternative "illusion of non tampered documents", the PDF
"demand" could crumble under the weight of the inconvenience of PDFs.





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