Feeds

FSFE calls on governments to stop pushing Adobe Reader

Free advertising

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Free software and open standards advocates are encouraging web users to put pressure on governments not to 'advertise' proprietary Adobe software as a tool for reading documents created in PDF format.

Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is asking users to conduct a month-long 'hunt' for examples of what it says is the promotion of proprietary PDF readers.

PDF, or Portable Document Format, is an open standard developed by Adobe in 1993. It is widely used for transferring documents in a way that will preserve the designer's formatting choices, unlike HTML. Adobe distributes the most popular PDF reader, Adobe Reader, free of charge. But FSFE points out that there are other, non-proprietary PDF readers that are also free of charge.

FSFE said that web users should put pressure on governments and public bodies to promote the use of free PDF readers as well as or instead of proprietary software.

"The Free Software Foundation Europe calls on all Europeans to seek out advertisements for proprietary PDF readers on their government's websites, and report them," said a FSFE statement. "In addition, FSFE has prepared a petition demanding an end to such advertising practices, and encourages the public to sign it."

"Every time that state websites link to non-free applications and encourage visitors to use them, they needlessly encourage citizens to throw away their freedom", said Karsten Gerloff, president of FSFE.

"As websites such as pdfreaders.org demonstrate, Free Software PDF readers exist for all major operating systems," said the FSFE statement. "Fellows of FSFE launched the project in 2009 in response to public bodies' habit of advertising a particular non-free product on their sites."

The FSFE did not refer to Adobe in its statement but its site contains examples of other sites that link to a non-free product, and in each case the product listed is Adobe's.

"What would you think about a sign on the highway saying 'You need a Volkswagen to drive on this road. Contact your Volkswagen dealer for a gratis test drive'?" said FSFE fellowship coordinator Matthias Kirschner. "When it comes to PDF readers, governments seem to think that this is acceptable."

FSFE's 'hunt' runs from 13 September until 17 October, it said. The campaign also includes a petition, which the group encourages web users to sign.

"Such advertising breaches impartiality and encourages citizens to employ technologies that unnecessarily restrict their freedom," said the petition. "The role of government is not to support certain market participants and not others, particularly when doing so works to maintain the monopolies of global software companies.

"In explanations of how to use digital resources that they provide, government agencies should clarify that multiple methods are available, and favour technologies which do not restrict users' digital rights; by linking to PDFreaders.org, for example," it said.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.