The Portable Document Format, or PDF for short, was invented by Adobe as an early attempt to move toward the paperless office - a phenomenon that has still yet to be realised. As a pet project of John Warnock, one of the Adobe founders, PDF received a great deal of backing as a tool that Adobe could use to internally pass documents around. It was not until 1991 that "Interchange Postscript", the first public mention of PDF, was shown to the world, then finally released as PDF 1.0 at Comdex Fall in 1992.

That was almost ten years ago, and PDF has come a long way since then - the PDFs of today have fairly good security features, device independent colour, external links, CMYK colours, JavaScript support, and more. Originally designed to work on all platforms, this ideal has certainly been accomplished - official Acrobat PDF Reader binaries exist for Linux, Windows, Macintosh, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris and OS/2 Warp, and there are a large number of unofficial projects to read PDFs.


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