PDF now an ISO standard
The Portable Document Format (PDF) is now an ISO International Standard: ISO 32000-1. The change in status follows a decision by Adobe Systems, original developer and copyright owner of the format, to relinquish control to ISO.
The move means that the ISO is now in charge of publishing the specifications for the current version (1.7) and for updating and developing future versions.
Despite impressions that PDF has beena proprietary format owned by Adobe, PDF has long been an open standard. The move to have PDF declared an ISO standard reinforces the open status of PDF.
“By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardisation, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness”, said Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer at Adobe. “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.”
PDF, a digital form used to represent electronic documents, allows users to exchange and view the documents easily and reliably, independent of the environments in which they are created, viewed and printed, while preserving their content and visual appearance.
ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden said: “As an ISO standard, we can ensure that this useful and widely popular format is easily available to all interested stakeholders. The standard will benefit both software developers and users by encouraging the propagation and dissemination of a common technology that cuts across systems and is designed for long term survival.”
The new standard, ISO 32000-1, Document management – Portable document format – Part 1: PDF 1.7, is based on the PDF version 1.7 developed by Adobe. This International Standard supplies the essential information needed by developers of software to create and read PDF documents.
Future versions of the format will be published as subsequent parts of the standard by the ISO subcommittee in charge of its maintenance and development.