Down yonder, a reader writes:
PDF is a "native" file format on Mac and opens up quickly and easily
in a program that comes with OS X called Preview. No behemoth Adobe
Acrobat Reader required.
I’m not sure it’s fair to label PDF as an Evil File Format when it
is the Windows OS and its substandard applications that are clearly
being evil here.
I don’t know that the Win OS can be characterized as evil here in
that it seems to me that Mac has simply decided to collaborate with the
spread of an evil file format by making it a native file for the OS.
Other OSes don’t have that, to my knowledge, so it seems that Mac is
the unusual one in this regard, not that Win is being defective and
Mac OS snobbery aside, there are a bunch of reasons why PDF is an evil file format. Here’s a list. Evils 1-5 may not be relevant to the Mac OS, but the rest are, so far as I know:
- It requires a separate app to read them.
- This app seizes up your computer while it loads.
- This app throws up a large and annoying splashscreen to keep you from reading the page in front of you while it loads.
- This app is constantly checking the Internet and trying to get you to download updates.
- This app has rotating advertising in its free version.
- PDF files are often insanely large; they are the document equivalent of bloatware.
- PDF files are highly proprietary and cannot be converted to other formats without special tools.
- These tools can be EXPENSIVE.
- These tools sometimes cannot be used to convert PDFs AT ALL (e.g., when a PDF basically contains an image of a document).
- These tools tend to have MASSIVE FORMAT LOSS when they do work.
- Without these tools there is a(n UNDOCUMENTED) way that (SOMETIMES) lets you extract basic text from PDFs, but this results in a horrible mess format-wise that has to be untangled by the user and that is more trouble than it is worth when columns are involved.
- Finally, PDFs cannot be created without a multi-hundred dollar program that the offending software company (Adobe) is always fiddling with (unless you want to use one of the third-party PDF creators that are of known reliability, usually have their own costs, and may come bundled with spyware).
I can just imagine the evil software people at Adobe, who are usually cackling with delight at how much frustration their programs create, gnashing their teeth in rage at the thought of someone making the programs less frustrating to use.