Friday, May 25, 2007

Open Source co-exists with commercial software

Looking at Adobe promotion of Apollo, FLEX and everything around Flash it seems that they have accepted open source as a large part of the scene. There are open source alternatives around XML so there is a benefit for Adobe in getting interest from developers. Meanwhile there seems to be less interest in MARS, a new XML based version of PDF. adobe have proposed that the ISO take over the full PDF spec as a standard. So this is about as open an approach as can be expected. I don't understand the technology involved but as MARS is completely XML it can make possible all the aims previously discussed about linking to data. At the two Seybold events in Amsterdam there was much interest in XML. I think MARS could be of interest to open source developers for what is possible fairly easily by way of print or documents.

The XML summer school in Oxford this July has a session on XSLT, XSL-FO and XQuery. The names are just a bit geeky, in my opinion. Is there a simpler way to describe how to "convert one company's XML into another company's XML or into professional-looking PDF or print documents"? The XQuery is about "how to create queries that extract XML from a growing number of commercial and free large-scale XML repostories." So could there be a simpler term for "XSLT" and "XSL-FO"?

My impression is that thwe open source developers are quite likely to have a look at the JDF spec and work out what to do with it. So far progress has been slow in offering a way for print customers to specify requirements in JDF format. People in print companies are usually not that interested in code. Maybe the people who work on creating PDF from XML sources would be see the benefits of adding some JDF for the production details.

So the discussion around XML could benefit print as it has other sectors through combing open source and commercial software. The JDF spec is supported by CIP4 through collaboration and standards but there are commercial products around this.


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