Thursday, April 05, 2007

 

They're all the same, yadda yadda

Someone wrote: "It is true that PDF is a "corporate standard". Then again, so are Windows, Unix, HTML, Intel, Motorola, Macintosh, the phone lines, the electricity used to run the machines, etc, yada yada, ad nauseum."

No they're not.

Windows is a word in the dictionary. It's in the public domain.
That people refer to a proprietary operating system distribution
as "windows" is a travesty. MS-Windows is a "corporate standard".

"UNIX" is a trademark. I believe it belongs to a 501c3 these days. unix (generic) is in the public domain. It got that way when the last patent (set user-ID) expired in 1989, which made it legal to publish UNIX "clones" world wide without royalties. (And that's why there were no free unixes in the '80s and they were all over the place starting in about '92.) That's what makes it different from Windoze, fer peat's sake. Windoze belongs to them. Unix belongs to us. If you want to be ridiculously pedantic about it, POSIX and GNU are ours and UNIX is irrelevant, but in common usage all three are just "unix."

HTML is a public standard.

Intel, Motorola, and Macintosh are trademarks.

Plain old telephone service and 120VAC at 60Hz are public standards.

There's a real difference that matters in people's lives between corporate standards and public standards. It goes to at least four of the Ten Key Values of the Green Party.

PDF and RTF are "corporate standards," as far as I know. But they're published. The most important APIs and protocols in MS-Windows are trade secrets. That difference matters, too. You're not making ADBE more valuable when you create a PDF in the same way you make MSFT more valuable when you create an MS-Word document.

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