Monday, 12 May 2008

If you're going to replace an industry standard, do it PROPERLY

Those who know me will probably appreciate that I have no time for That's What Everyone Else Uses thinking. I chose my first mobile phone on the basis of not getting a Nokia because everyone else had one. I use Linux, and at my last job I actually preferred using the free PrimoPDF PDF creator to Adobe Acrobat which I also had installed.

But I am also a big fan of using technology that works the way it's supposed to (which is, indeed, a major factor in my using Linux over Windows). I am aiming at a Nokia for my next mobile because they're looking very much like the only people who can competently make a mobile phone. I use Adobe Acrobat Reader even on my Linux machine because it is (now, finally) smoother, faster and more powerful than xpdf, evince, kpdf, etc.

And speaking of PDFs...

I can not, for the life of me, understand why anybody would choose to buy PDF software from anybody except Adobe, when you can create PDFs from any Windows program using small, efficient utilities like PrimoPDF which plug themselves into the Windows printer queue, and Acrobat Reader is a free (if annoying) download. And yet my new employer has chosen to do exactly that, going with PDF Complete, a suite that falls short of providing even Reader functionality, let along full Acrobat creation functionality. And it just plain doesn't work well enough.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that there is no text selection functionality, a pretty useful tool when doing research, I have just tried to access a document from the Disability Services Queensland website and found that, due to layers being used to display graphics for page backgrounds, PDF Complete was unable to correctly display the text in front of the graphics. Or print it. Which made it, quite simply, useless.

If DSQ hadn't also made a Word version of the file available (which answers the baffling question of why the hell they bother doing that anyway), I would have been unable to do my job properly.

As much as I dislike large, market-dominating corporations in general and Adobe in particular (among many others), sometimes you just have to go with "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." And if the fix broke, unfix it!

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