Adobe’s decision to add the ISO feather to PDF’s cap is quite interesting. The PDF file format was already “open” and parts of the specification were already standardized under ISO. So why is Adobe going the extra mile by seeking ISO blessings for the entire specification?

In the ongoing file format war between PDF and DWF, the ISO feather may weigh quite heavily for Adobe. We live in a time where every other company claims that their software, file format or for that matter, almost anything they make, is the standard. This has resulted in the word standard being degraded to an adjective like best, exceptional, etc, when in fact, the word standard has profound meaning and significance. However, some companies have been careful enough to use the phrase de facto standard in their marketing efforts, which essentially means that something is so widely adopted that it almost is like the standard.

While Adobe was right in claiming PDF to be a de facto standard, it could not technically claim it to be a standard. But now, with ISO’s blessings, it will be able to.

A search at www.iso.org for PDF resulted in 11 documents of ISO standards. What’s more? The documents that the standards were published in were in PDF. I guess that’s enough proof for de facto standard.

On the other hand, A search for DWF gave me nothing.

In recent times, Adobe and Autodesk have taken every opportunity to tell the world how widely accepted their PDF and DWF file formats are. To some, this decision may seem like just another opportunity. However, I do not think Adobe did this just to make news.

It will be interesting to see Autodesk’s reaction to this.