Reason for PDF Format

Jeffrey Thompson jeffrey at
Fri Jan 29 11:23:16 CET 1999

The whole idea of going to a PDF file is to take advantage of the additional
features that are available through Adobe Acrobat, namely:
   - Improved illustrations
   - Improved type-setting:  stuff that comes out of TeX isn't the best quality

     in my opinon.  It isn't easy to read on-line.  Maybe printed out it's OK,
     I want an easy to read online, top quality, book.  
   - You get a lot of other additional, instructional features in Adobe Acrobat

     you simply won't get by producing a PDF via sgml translators 
    (color illustrations, audio, video, hypertext within the document and 
     hypertext links to the Internet).

By producing a PDF by translating from sgml, you simply miss the whole point of
producing a PDF in the first place.

Since the Adobe Acrobat Reader is free, it won't cost the user anything to get
top-quality documentation.  

Jeffrey Thompson

> To: Roger Williams <roger at> cc: gpg-list <g10 at>
> Subject: Re: Manual Contact 
> > I think that this is only true if you assume that PDF == Windows. If 
> > you instead start with good Postscript code, you'll end up with a good 
> > PDF. PDF's flate compression will normally result in PDFs that are 
> > *smaller* than the text original. 
> > 
> > For example, we write our technical documents in LaTeX (with LyX), but 
> > usually have to convert them to PDF for distribution to our customers. 
> > A typical 100-page specification might be a 400K TeX file, which 
> > results in a 550K PS file, which gets converted (by pstill or ps2pdf) 
> > to a 155K PDF (compared to 95K for the gzipped TeX file).
> > I think that the ability to distribute files in multiple formats is a 
> > *good* thing -- and smgltools is a good way to do this -- but don't 
> > knock PDFs on the basis of size or the need for Windoze or Adobe 
> > Distiller, as neither of these assumptions is accurate.
> I stand corrected. :) I think that if we can produce an sgml version and 
> then a postscript version that we can then pop out a pdf version. 
> Everyone is then happy. 
> From, 
> Matthew M. Copeland

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