PDF format (was: Re: BitKeeper licence critic)

Laurent Guerby guerby at acm.org
Sun Mar 17 09:55:43 UTC 2002

Florian Weimer wrote:
> The following is an excerpt from the PDF specification, version 1.3,
> dated 1999-03-11.

Hmmm. I don't see what's bad about that. They do claim the copyright
on the specification of PDF, which is a book so it is reasonable,
they do give authorization to implement it and even directly
copying some of the stuff from the book as long as you
put a copyright notice, which is also reasonable.
Of course their copyright claims can't go behind
what is copyrightable, and some spec, algorithm or data structure
are not copyrightable, but then it is reasonable for
Adobe not to say what and what piece of the spec
is copyrightable or not, GNU sources don't do that either,
they say the whole thing is copyrighted, but obviously
some pieces do not fall under copyright.

The texinfo manuals says that PDF is a free format, see
and I'm not able to find anything that would say otherwise
on the FSF web site.

So I have retract what I said about Adobe and PDF, and I apologize for 
my previous email
if anyone from Adobe was offensed, at least until the matter is made 
clearer to the non-lawyer I am :).

Does someone at FSFE knows RMS stance on this? If not
I can drop him an email.

Laurent Guerby <guerby at acm.org>

More information about the Discussion mailing list