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From "M. Fioretti" <mfiore...@nexaima.net>
Subject Re: aoo for android
Date Wed, 17 Oct 2012 06:14:36 GMT
On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 17:00:50 PM -0400, James Knott wrote:
> Larry Gusaas wrote:
> >Why would your want to get rid of PDF's. I DO NOT want to publish
> >documents in ODF formats? I use read only PDF's.

Larry, may I ask you why you specifically used "DO NOT want" in the
sentence above, instead of "do not need" or something like that? I'm
curious, also for the reasons in my comments below.

On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 17:00:50 PM -0400, James Knott wrote:

> Published documents should be PDF or epub.  PDF is useful when you
> want to maintain control over the layout.

Hmm, not exactly. PDF is little more than a photograph of the
_printable_ version of a document (or a video, in some cases). As
such, it is useful when you want, or need, or it's enough, that the
"exterior" parts of a document _can_ always have exactly the same look
on every monitor, or however they are printed.

This is quite different from "read-only". It's funny how many people
still believe that PDF is read-only, given that Acrobat and other
tools do let people edit PDF files all right, or that there is plenty
of tutorials on, for example, "how to create your own interactive PDF
that clients can fill out, edit and submit an email back to you":

http://www.thedesigncubicle.com/2008/12/how-to-create-interactive-pdf-forms-to-impress-your-clients/

searches for "how to edit PDF" or "PDF forms" give plenty of other
examples.

If the goal is to tell people "when you print this file it will look
just the same as it did when I printed it myself" OK, PDF is
adequate. But if what one really wants is to tell viewers of a
document "this is the original file I produced and put online" digital
signatures must be used.

Besides, just because PDF was **designed** to be little more of a
photograph etc... it is not reflowable, that is readable without
scrolling all the time. Text paragraphs and columns won't be adjusted
to the size of the screen as it would happen with an ePUB file, making
reading long texts on a small screen much harder than it could be.

Finally:

> ODT should be used when you want the recipient to be able to change
> the documet.

No. These days, ODF should be used ALSO whenever you want or need that
the recipient be able to _see_ the internal structure of a
document. Cfr the specific example that I already made about open
government and documents like public budget spreadsheets. In those
cases, citizens need immediate access to the _formulas_ that generated
the final numbers. Apart from spreadsheets, these days you can find
lots of fully documented and justified rants by open government/open
data activists that explain how and why PDF royally SUCKS as (the
only) format for published public documents.

Summing up:

PDF is really "read-only" only in a dream

PDF is fully adequate only when the ONLY wanted or allowed use of a
file is to send it right away to the closest printer.

Publishing _also_ PDF is harmless. Publishing _only_ PDF is quickly
becoming less and less acceptable in many contexts, from Public
Administrations to mobile devices, for the reasons above.

Regardless of the file format and of the operating system, a full
"office suite" on devices without decent screens and keyboards is
probably a waste of resources, but hey, if anybody goes and makes it
OK.

An ODF viewer instead, which is the only thing I personally
suggested/approved, is good on all platforms, but there are already
projects to start from. It's probably more efficient to improve them
than to force AOO to become a viewer though.

Marco
http://mfioretti.com


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