– Mark E. Smith

Our question of the day: Will noted technology commentator–cum–futurist Cory Doctorow ever learn how computers work?

First he was going around saying plain text (he means dumb-as-a- mule US-ASCII text) is the most adaptable format. It’s actually the least, since it contains no structure. Any structured format – your choice, even OpenOffice – beats plain text hands down. Strike one.

Now Doctorow wants to be able to edit InDesign-produced PDFs on the Linux laptop he bought to be ideologically pure. It isn’t true one absolutely cannot edit a PDF, but as they are binary files, the difficulty is orders of magnitude higher. The legitimate PDF experts I’ve spent time with create applications that write their own PDFs. But you can’t just go in and delete a comma. Strike two.

And the punchline? There’s always a punchline, and here it is: The noted commentator/futurist deleted my comment that merely said “You can’t. That’s not what PDF is for.”

Cory Doctorow, committed as ever to open cultural discourse. Someday he might even “learn computers.”

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.07.28 13:56. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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