Adobe PDF Gears Up for ISO Standardization

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Adobe Systems today announced its intent to submit PDF, or Portable Document Format, to AIIM for publication by the International Organization for Standardization, internationally known as ISO.

Adobe plans on releasing the full PDF 1.7 specifications for submission to ISO. In releasing the PDF format as an international standard, Adobe will forfeit company control over the specification. Adobe claims this move will ensure its long term intentions for the format. In addition, the move is expected to help keep Microsoft’s competing format, XPS (XML Paper Specification), at bay.

Adobe adds that “PDF has become a de facto global standard for more secure and dependable information exchange since Adobe published the complete PDF specification in 1993.” The announcement comes a day before Microsoft officially releases Vista and Office 2007 to consumers, both of which support Microsoft’s XPS format.

Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe, said that “By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardization, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness. As governments and organizations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organization will help continue to drive innovation and expand the rich PDF ecosystem that has evolved over the past 15 years.”

The PDF format is nothing new to the International Organization for Standardization. Two specialized PDF subsets, PDF for Archive (PDF/A) and PDF for Exchange (PDF/X), are already ISO standards; two more specialized subsets, PDF for Engineering (PDF/E) and PDF for Universal Access (PDF/UA), are currently proposed standards. The process of submitting the full PDF format to the ISO is expected to take up to three years.

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