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I have recently been getting frustrated with just how many things are released as PDFs. I am okay with the format itself.But the content that is released as a PDF ...
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  1. #1
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    What do you think about PDFs?


    I have recently been getting frustrated with just how many things are released as PDFs. I am okay with the format itself.But the content that is released as a PDF online is just so poorly suited for it. I have seen school newspapers release their online edition as a PDF document, news releases, government budgets, single IMAGES!... and each of these places does have a website which can serve this content directly. Instead they use the website as a platform to download the darn PDF.

    Beyond the obvious portability of PDF is there any redeeming quality to it?

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Well, it's always been the format of choice for user manuals. The obvious advantage is that there are plenty of available viewers and it prints well. A pdf with embedded fonts always looks the same and the producer has complete control over that look.

    I do a lot of work for ODF authors (the OpenOffice/ LibreOffice documentation team) and all their user guides are published as PDFs. It's also the native format for Lulu.com, the self-publishing site.

    What you're really complaining about is the use of PDFs where a web page would do the job better. But that applies to anyone who uses an inappropriate medium or format for a job.
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  3. #3
    Linux Engineer rcgreen's Avatar
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    You either love them or you hate them. I used to work in the printing business
    and we used a lot of PDFs, because they print consistently. The document
    looks good on paper without having to do a lot of editing or adjusting.
    The US gov't publishes blank forms as PDFs. You can download a
    1040 form from the IRS and print it and it will be a genuine
    1040 that you can use to file your income tax.

    PDFs don't look god on a computer screen, because they don't flow
    like HTML I hate reading them online. They aren't well suited for that.

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  5. #4
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcgreen View Post
    You either love them or you hate them. I used to work in the printing business
    and we used a lot of PDFs, because they print consistently. The document
    looks good on paper without having to do a lot of editing or adjusting.
    The US gov't publishes blank forms as PDFs. You can download a
    1040 form from the IRS and print it and it will be a genuine
    1040 that you can use to file your income tax.

    PDFs don't look god on a computer screen, because they don't flow
    like HTML I hate reading them online. They aren't well suited for that.

    Agreed, count me among the haters. I hated them a little less after trying several PDF readers and finding one that made it less painful in my opinion. Different readers give different looks but the document itself stays the same.
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  6. #5
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    I agree with Hazel, the problem is using PDF's where a web page or page of text document is better. For a manual, book, etc. they are great, but for a 1-3 page plain text document, I hate them.
    Registered Linux user #526930

  7. #6
    Linux Enthusiast gruven's Avatar
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    Meh, I don't much care for them at all. I would rather see everything in an open format that anything can create.

    But all of the professors at my university use it, so I must also.

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  8. #7
    oz
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    What do you think about PDFs?
    I'm not a big fan but can deal with them when other options are limited.
    oz

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