[linux-elitists] What's wrong with PDF

Tilghman Lesher zgp-org@the-tilghman.com
Mon Nov 10 09:38:33 PST 2003

On Monday 10 November 2003 07:42, Ben Finney wrote:
> On 10-Nov-2003, Michael Still wrote:
> > PDF fills a demand.
> A demand for compression?  That's the only advantage you've offered
> so far.  It's been explained how plain text is at least equal, and
> generally superior, to PDF in this respect.

Well, there is one other advantage of PDF over plain text.  When you
change the font face, font size, margins, or any other of the myriad
formatting options in a plain text document, you generally lose the
ability to request that someone look at "page 48, third paragraph, line
3" and expect that you'll find the same sentence as anybody else.
While it has been noted elsewhere in this thread that PDFs are not
unchangeable, it does present a fairly sufficient barrier to doing just

Yes, I know RFCs and similar documents attempt to preformat and insert
page numbers, but at best, it's quite clumsy and does not conform to any
printer that I know of (for the occasion when you might want to print
an RFC).

Also, it's worth noting that the PDF format is far more platform
independent than the format it is generally used to replace, Microsoft
Word.  Given the choice between the two, I'm sure most elitists would
pick TeX.  However, like Microsoft Word, there is a serious lack of free
TeX readers on most platforms.


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