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The end of PDF as a "universally readable" format ? ("To view the full contents of this document, you need a later version of the PDF viewer.")

Until now I always recommended to use PDF as a format to distribute documents in case the recipients don't need to alter them[1]. This supposedly guaranteed that the document would always look the same on any computer/platform. But today one of our customers (running Linux) contacted our support department requesting help because he was unable to view the contents of such a "portable document". To my surprise, I saw the following contents when opening the file with evince:

To view the full contents of this document, you need a later version of the PDF viewer. You can upgrade
to the latest version of Adobe Reader from www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
For further support, go to www.adobe.com/support/products/acrreader.html

There doesn't seem to be anything "magic" in this document that I haven't seen in documents using the "older" format, so maybe this is just an attempt from Adobe to regain market shares by forcing you to use their product. On the other hand I always thought of PDF as an open standard so it's probably just a matter of time until the "competitors" catch up. At least a bug has already been filled for evince.


[1] or even if they need to alter them, see this older post about Hybrid PDF-OpenDocument files
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Edit PDF files with OpenOffice.org (OOo PDF import) / Hybrid PDF-OpenDocument files

This article discusses importing PDF files in OOo for editing with a new extension, which also brings a new feature called "hybrid PDF". Basically a regular PDF file compatible with any reader which also contains the original OpenDocument (odt, ods etc.) data. This extension requires OpenOffice.org version 3.0 and you can download it from here.

The article also mentions that Office 2007 SP2 will support ODF natively. This has been announced in May this year apparently but I missed it :o) The service pack will be available sometime in the first half of 2009.
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