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10 October 2011, 16:20

GNU PDF no longer an FSF high priority project

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FSF logo The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced that the GNU PDF project no longer requires the community's immediate attention. The GNU PDF project was started in 2007 with the goal of providing a free alternative to Adobe's proprietary Reader software.

PDF compatibility has been implemented in the libpoppler project; a fork of the alternative PDF viewer Xpdf. Libpoppler has been in development since 2005, and can use different frontends and backends for application frameworks and rendering styles. The FSF says that libpoppler is "the most common PDF library on GNU/Linux."

The FSF had hoped to see a full implementation of the ISO 32000-1 PDF standard when it put GNU PDF on the list and, although significant progress has been made over the past three years, libpoppler has yet to reach that goal. Despite that, with the release of libpoppler 0.18.0 the FSF considers the project to have "matured its support" for the ISO standard, adding support for elements such as annotations and forms.

Libpoppler is licensed under the GPLv2, and can be downloaded from the official web site. The FSF Europe hosts a web site which lists the available free open source PDF readers, some of which – ePDFView, Evince, Okular and Zathura – use libpoppler.

Substantial progress has recently been made on other high-priority FSF projects: in 2011, the database system for non-profit organisations, CiviCRM, was completed, as was support for the RARv3 archiving format (via The Unarchiver). The FSF continues to maintain a list of projects it believes require more attention, which includes drivers for unsupported hardware such as network routers and PowerVR chipsets, and free alternatives to Skype, Google Earth and Matlab.


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