Many things

From: Jim Leonard <>
Date: Sun Jan 30 19:06:25 2005

Jules Richardson wrote:
> Back to the PDF problem, I still don't follow the *why*. Sure, modern
> PCs generally have Acrobat reader installed. But even more machines than
> that can read postscript, and even more than that still can handle a
> bunch of TIFF images (I'm talking about scanned image data here of
> course, not plain text).

You must be talking from the position of a *nix user. In the Windows world --
where, like it or not, much of our newbie target audience is -- it is nearly
impossible to view a .ps but is almost universally possible to view a .pdf.

> And if someone receives a bunch of images and is desperate for PDF, then
> they obviously have a machine capable of handling PDF, and therefore
> running the various free tools that'll create PDF files from images.

That is one of the MISuses of PDF. PDF should not be used as a container for
bitmap images. PDF *should* be used for text-only documents, or documents
lightly mixed with graphics (preferably resolution-independant vector/line-art).

In case it wasn't obvious, PDF *is* Postscript! It's *portable* postscript.

> I'm not anti-PDF at all; in some situations it's very useful (much
> better than a Word doc, say) - but for scanned pages relating to classic
> hardware it seems the wrong choice.

If the scanned pages cannot be OCR'd then I completely agree. And it is at
this point that I believe I am arguing for PDF for a poster that is not
yourself :-) I should know better than to jump into threads where I can't see
the top post ;-)

The best format for mixed text and graphics that do NOT need to be indexed (ie
converted to text) is DjVu ("DejaVu"). DjVu is a mixed-type format that keeps
a B&W image of the text and a color or grayscale image of everything else in
the same file, and each layer is compressed with a method appropriate to their
content type. Unfortunately, the best DjVu tools cost significant money, so it
hasn't taken off. I haven't used it beyond a few experiments myself.
Jim Leonard (          
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Received on Sun Jan 30 2005 - 19:06:25 GMT

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