It's not just the *quantity* of consumers, it is also their level of happiness, as well as our ability to recruit developers willing to do the coding. (Absent committers willing to spend the time on the code, *no* version of PDF will get supported.) Per your suggestion, though, if we were to drop the FOP's PDF specification-level to pre-2000 versions, these problems occur:
1.) The 98% that would have no problem with the 2001 spec will note that our product doesn't render as well
as the commercial products do. Features they would want to implement aren't possible. So the benefit of
making the 2% AR4.0 user base happy comes at a price of making unhappy the other 98%, and due the ratios
involved, overall satisfaction with the FOP product would fall through the floor.
As I mentioned, Glen, my purpose in questioning the move to PDF 1.4 as a base (if it is a move?) is to indicate we should only make such changes if there is a distinct need for it. I don't know how many users there are out there, and certainly I have no intention to make 98% of our users unhappy. If that were the case (and I'm not convinced that is the case) then I would be holding the "Let's move to PDF 1.4" flag.
2.) It is next to impossible to recruit people to study the PDF specification inside and out in order to implement a PDF renderer--there are no shortage of other much-more-in-use skills that take far less time to learn. That problem is compounded when you as them (1) to not only study the PDF spec, but a commercially obsolete 6-year old version of it, and (2) to spend their time doing so with the full knowledge of when they're finished, everyone is going to be panning their work (see #1 above). Few developers can afford to do what you are proposing.
3.) Generally speaking, virtually no one is stuck at AR4.0, and those who are aren't writing FO documents. You may make that calculation that it is acceptable for 500,000 users to have a substandard product just so the feelings of 10 AR4.0 users don't get hurt, but I don't think you'll get much support for that on the team.
Folks stuck at AR 4.0 (or less!) may not be writing FO documents, but they may be required to view FOP PDF output.
4.) By having a substandard PDF renderer, you lose more V5/V6 people than you gain of V4 people, so overall application usage drops rather than increases. Without exception the V5/V6 people are the ones you would want to please anyway--they're the ones writing the reviews, they're the ones more likely to be using it for production applications. (Someone from IBM or Sun isn't going to write a review of "Using FOP with AR4.0"; instead they will write about "FOP with AR6.0", and in particular how poorly it performs and how out-of-date it is.)
I'm not talking about requiring all FOP output be 'stuck' at PDF 1.3. I'm just saying that if we can output to PDF 1.3, great! If we add something that requires PDF 1.4, or PDF 1.5 that's great too!
Glen (Who thinks AR V4 will work with the 1.4 spec anyway ;)
That may be the case (That'd be great!), and would mean our output is available to those folks who can't install Adobe/Reader 5.x or 6.x or +...
My desire is simply for the reasoning and discussion for any significant change (minimum output: PDF 1.3 vs. 1.4, minimum FOP requirements: JDK 1.3 vs. 1.4 vs. 1.5, etc.) to be available in the archives. If there's a good reason for it, by all means, make the change!
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