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[bug-gv] The PDF effort

From: Jose E. Marchesi
Subject: [bug-gv] The PDF effort
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 18:31:33 +0100

Hi all.

As you may know, the GNU Project is involved in the so called "PDF
effort". The GNU Project has identified many problems with the actual
PDF situation. The most critical one is that many governments are
forcing citizens to use PDF features not supported by a free reader
(and writer, in the case of PDF interactive forms).

Since the PDF spec (both Adobe's and the newly created ISO PDF/A) is
open, we cannot ask the governments to not use the PDF format, but we
should write a free implementation. We concluded that the GNU Project
should ship an integrated product for read and write PDF files that
would be able to work on all plattforms where Acrobat Reader actually
run (GNU/Linux, MS Windows, PocketPC, PalmOS, ebook readers, ...). 

So i got the GNU ghostscript maintainership, and we will use GNU
ghostscript and GNU gv for construct that integrated product. The
advantage of ghostscript in respect with other PDF implementations
(the library used by xpdf, for example) is that ghostscript fully
implements the Adobe Imaging Model via the postscript interpreter.

The idea is to achieve a similar success than the Mozilla project, but
in the PDF market. In that way, citizens will be able to retain their
freedom when interacting with his governments.

There is much work to do on both gs and gv. Roughly, the main tasks

- Apply most of the ESP Ghostscript patches into GNU Ghostscript.
- Implement the full Adobe PDF 1.6 specification on GNU Ghostscript.
- Implement the full ISO 19005 PDF/A specification on GNU Ghostscript.
- Rewrite gv to use a cross-plattform graphical toolkit (gtk+2?).
- Change the way gv communicate with gs (from using pipes to using
  library calls).
- Implement interactive capabilities on gv (form filling, eps
  placement, etc).

Note that the relationship between GNU ghostscript and Aladding
ghostscript is going to change: we cannot wait for Aladdin freeing its
improvements from ASPL Ghostscript. So, instead of pasively get the
ASPL Ghostscript improvements, we are going into active development in
GNU Ghostscript.

In the following days i am going to insert tasks into the ghostscript
and gv savannah projects, and tag some branches on the CVS

Jose E. Marchesi

Software Engineer
Real Time Systems Division


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