PDF now has a standard home, but whither XMP?
Until a few days ago, Adobe’s Portable Document Format was an open format in name only. The specification was freely available, to be sure, but PDF’s development and direction remained firmly under the control of one entity (namely, Adobe Systems). That changed on July 2, 2008, when the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) officially took over the PDF specification from Adobe. PDF is now an authentic industry standard, maintained by a real standards body. (It is officially ISO 32000-1, and you can get your very own copy of it for a mere 370 Swiss francs.)
Adobe is to be commended for making good on its commitment (announced in January of 2007) to turn the PDF format over to an independent standards body. Everybody benefits from this move. Adobe no longer has to bear the burden of maintaining single-handedly what has grown to become a breathtakingly elaborate format specification (over 1300 pages long), and the PDF developer community no longer has to wonder whether the format will forever remain quasi-proprietary.