FSFE campaign: pdfreaders.org

pdfreaders.org is a website with info, graphics, and links about free software PDF readers. Websites shouldn’t recommend Adobe’s non-free reader, so we’ve made an alternative site they can link to.

The next Document Freedom Day is March 25th 2009, so it would be great to make a success of pdfreaders.org before then. You can help by asking website maintainers that link to Adobe’s website to link to pdfreaders.org instead.

The PDF format is both a de-facto standard and an officially recognised ISO standard, so there is no reason to endorse only one reader. Worse, in terms of protecting the rights of users, Adobe’s is probably the worst PDF reader to recommend. Adobe’s reader uses legal and technical measures to ensure that users cannot see what the software does, and cannot change the software’s behaviour.

The website is ready to use, but input from the community is greatly sought. In particular, we are probably missing information about free software PDF readers for non-free operating systems such as of Windows and MacOS. If you have past experience with this topic, feedback is welcome by email via feedback [at] pdfreaders.org.

Government bodies, educational institutions, and other non-profits should quickly understand the reasons to recommend the choice of readers at pdfreaders.org instead of Adobe’s PDF reader. This category of organisation should be the initial targets. In the mid- to long-term, possibly after the site is expanded and fine-tuned, this idea really should be appeal to all website maintainers.

With this, we hope to raise awareness of open standards and free software at the same time.

Translation help is also appreciated. To get started, there’s info and a mailing list on our translators webpage.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention GnuPDF. This is a software development project, completely unrelated to pdfreaders.org, but people interested in PDF and free software might find it interesting.

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Ciarán O’Riordan,
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