PDF to become open ISO standard

By   |  January 29, 2007

Adobe today announced that it would release the full Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.7 specification to AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management Association, with the intention of the the standard being published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

The PDF format has become a de facto global standard for secure and dependable information exchange since Adobe published the complete PDF specification in 1993. Both government and private industry have come to rely on PDF for the volumes of electronic records that need to be more securely and reliably shared, managed, and in some cases preserved for generations.

In a release today, Adobe said that since 1995 the company had participated in various working groups that develop technical specifications for publication by ISO and worked within the ISO process to deliver specialised subsets of PDF as standards for specific industries and functions.

Today, PDF for Archive (PDF/A) and PDF for Exchange (PDF/X) are ISO standards, and PDF for Engineering (PDF/E) and PDF for Universal Access (PDF/UA) are proposed standards. Additionally, PDF for Healthcare (PDF/H) is an AIIM proposed Best Practice Guide. AIIM serves as the administrator for PDF/A, PDF/E, PDF/UA and PDF/H.

“Today’s announcement is the next logical step in the evolution of PDF from de facto standard to a formal, de jure standard,” said Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe. “By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardisation, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness. As governments and organisations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organisation will help continue to drive innovation and expand the rich PDF ecosystem that has evolved over the past 15 years.”

The joint committee formed under AIIM will identify issues to be addressed, as well as proposed solutions, and will develop a draft document that will then be presented to a Joint Working Group of ISO for development and approval as an International Standard.

AIIM president John Mancini, said that “as the administrator for several specialised ISO standard subsets of PDF, AIIM is pleased to receive this proposal from Adobe,” said John Mancini, President, AIIM. “Over the last several years we have seen and in many cases helped facilitate a range of ongoing market and customer focused efforts around PDF. These efforts have grown so broadly that it now makes sense for Adobe to let the full specification serve as a unifying umbrella and submit it for approval under the formal ISO standards process.”

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