I was thinking on how to respond to another toot tonight, and it caused me to think about Linux as a competitive desktop option.

And I think that it will never make it to desktop stardom because of business. FOSS developers spend so much time reinventing the wheel because wheel XYZ doesn't it do it for them, but no time on the tools that regular users need. For example: There are so many window managers that there's a top 20 list (ubuntupit.com/best-linux-windo). Yet there is no decent PDF editor.

@TrechNex @redeagle Out of that list: 5 programs are "just" for shuffling, extracting or joining pdfs, 2 are non-FOSS, 1 is a Desktop-publishing Program (!), 1 is a viewer with basic annotation support but neither real handwriting annotations or digital signatures, and one is a "drawing" application that is able to import/export PDFs. Not exactly replacements for Adobe Reader & co, to be honest.

@TrechNex @redeagle Okular looks quite decent actually, I have weirdly enough never really closely looked at it.

@spaetz @redeagle that's fair. My experience has been that we have the functionality, but you have to do a bit of a scavenger hunt to figure out which tools perform the actions you need.

I think there would be value in someone putting together a "one stop shop" that pulls things together. I am given to wonder if the reason why you can only buy proprietary solutions is because there is some kind of licensing or software patent issue.


@TrechNex @spaetz I was mostly just using PDF as an example of business software. The format itself is an ISO standard and anyone that cares to read the spec can develop software for it.

I don't doubt that the specs are very complicated.

@redeagle @TrechNex I understand that is was "just" an example. It just triggered an ugly itch that I need scratched as a user, confirming your theory. :-)

@redeagle @spaetz I hope that's the case.

I've had bad experiences in the past of companies claiming they are using standards-compliant formats, only to discover that they've embellished them with extras to keep you locked in to buying their software.

eg. Microsoft publishes an OpenXML document standard, but uses a "transitional" version of it in Microsoft Office.

It wouldn't surprise me if Adobe did something similar with PDFs. I vaguely remember that you could use tools to verify compliance

@TrechNex @redeagle @spaetz Those three variants (particularly PDF/A) are actually a good thing.

By default Acrobat is not (necessarily) standards compliant. By using PDF/A (PDF “Archivable”) you force it to be 100% standards compliant and bar it from using non-standard extensions. It also forces it to embed all fonts and images and make sure the document is totally standalone without external dependencies.

Using PDF/X is meant to make it suitable for printing, it converts to CMYK and makes the document standalone like PDF/A does.

PDF/E is a subset of PDF meant for engineering documents. It's specifically meant to be really easy to read/write for a variety of software so engineering businesses could break from locked-in proprietary engineering document formats.

All three of those formats are in ISO standard as well.

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