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Re: [Fsfe-uk] New FSFE Free PDF Readers Campaign

From: Chris Croughton
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] New FSFE Free PDF Readers Campaign
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2010 20:59:26 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.11

On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 10:33:09PM +0100, Jon Grant wrote:
> On 13 September 2010 15:59, Sam Tuke <address@hidden> wrote:
> > Today FSFE has launched a new campaign to remove advertising of proprietary
> > PDF readers from government websites.
> >
> > Campaign: http://www.fsfe.org/campaigns/pdfreaders
> This page looks good, but is incredibly wide. Not usable on modern
> mobile (HTC Desire) and is even off the side of the screen on netbook
> running ubuntu.
> The Petition page isn't much better. Could the site be updated to be a
> max of around 600px wide so it fits in a mobile, netbook or
> non-maximised

Or better don't use fixed-width CSS formatting at all.  I found that
when I turned CSS off I could get down to around 600px wide (possibly a
tad more, I didn't get an accurate measurement) before the tables forced
it to scroll sideways.

> > Petition: http://www.fsfe.org/campaigns/pdfreaders/petition.en.html
> Signed.This is good.
> I'd be even more interested in government websites providing their
> documents in non-PDF format though. Something like HMTL, or even
> OpenOffice format etc.  How about launching a campaign to get
> governments to stop using PDFs instead of web pages? It is such a pain
> to try edit/re-use anything published in only a PDF file.

I have a version of Firefox (on RHEL4 at work) which crashes if I try to
open a PDF file in it -- I have to download it, then open the directory
and then open the file.  A straight web page would be much easier.  For
that matter, unless the page needs (and I mean needs, not just uses)
pictures I can read HTML using lynx or links in a terminal.

I will commend three government-run websites: DVLA, the voting
registration site, and AVDC's council tax site.  All three are plain and
"best read using a web browser" (but I would be willing to use telnet if
I had to!), they present the information clearly and plainly without any
JS or Flash or needing CSS (they may have a little CSS but it isn't
needed to look at the page, just makes it slightly prettier).

Yes, I have thanked them for it.

> Even Free Software places like http://oss-watch.ac.uk/ publish in
> off-line PDF files instead of HTML format. We all browse from netbooks
> and mobiles nowadays, offline hard-coded, fixed-size PDFs aren't
> really that good for that traditional off-line use-case!

I don't use either a mobile or a netbook (except occasionally my EEE but
it's an 11" model so has decent resolution), but I do use older monitors
at work and frequently work over an SSH text-only link (like the one I'm
using at the moment, in fact).

Chris C

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