PDF 1.7 on its way to ISO standard status, not there yet

Adobe's quest to establish its full PDF format as an international standard cleared a major milestone yesterday, passing a preliminary ISO ballot overwhelmingly. Now its backers have just 205 technical issues to address.

On the 100-point scale of a standard's lifecycle established by the International Organization for Standardization, the publication phase is status 60.60, and the post-review confirmation phase is status 90.93. Yesterday, according to the ISO's official itinerary, Portable Document Format version 1.7 was advanced to status 40.60 (Close of Voting).

While the ISO has yet to publish the final vote, Adobe records it this afternoon as 13 votes generally in favor of advancing PDF 1.7 toward becoming ISO 32000, with one vote against and one abstention. France cast the lone negative vote with comments, while Russia abstained and non-voting member Italy submitted comments separately.

From here, Adobe must address its multitude of technical comments, even those from countries which voted in the affirmative -- including the United States (with 125), the United Kingdom (13) and Germany (11).

According to Adobe's newly-nominated technical editor for the PDF 1.7 specification, Tim King, the company has received some 205 total comments. Those comments must be addressed before the ISO 32000 specification moves from draft international standard (DIS) status to Final DIS (FDIS) status. At that point, countries must decide whether the FDIS has adequately addressed those 205 comments -- including the 37 negative ones from France -- during an entirely new round of voting whose window will be open for a full two months.

"It may seem strange that the sponsoring country (US) is the one with the most comments," King wrote this morning, "but I think that is a reflection of two things: The US committee contains a lot of knowledgeable people including several from Adobe, and we honestly found some mistakes that we felt must be corrected. To me this reflects the honesty with which this group has approached this whole effort."

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