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Re: Journals dying?, apparently rather slowly (was ,

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  • Subject: [mg106949] Re: Journals dying?, apparently rather slowly (was ,
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2010 07:46:51 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <27994965.1264251543203.JavaMail.root@n11> <006e01ca9c5f$6e81d8b0$4b858a10$@net> <hjh86s$r4d$> <hjjqf2$91h$> <hjmjg4$dm$> <hjongb$4mp$> <hjrf76$mvf$>

In article <hjrf76$mvf$1 at>, Peltio <peltio at> 

> The reason the pdf format is so widespread is that everyone can create 
> a pdf file without having to buy Adobe Acrobat. Every word processor 
> let you save your work to pdf. You can even install 'pdf printer 
> drivers' that let you save in pdf whatever you want. same story for 
> another ubiquitous format: .doc.

Note the core point here.  Anyone -- repeat, anyone -- can create a 
document using their particular application of choice -- an application 
that is likely to be specifically oriented to their task -- that is 
likely to have a simple, optimized, easy to learn, easy to remember, 
substantially WYSIWYG interface with maybe a few dozen or at most a few 
hundred well-documented commands (not literally thousands of complex, 
poorly documented, and often interfering commands and options) -- an 
application that may well be freeware or shareware.

And, these document creators can then either display their documents or 
communicate them to anyone else, in a stable, published, standardized, 
very well designed, and essentially open-source format, such that anyone 
else can read or display the same document, using a very wide variety of 
freely available tools, with high quality and very few glitches.

There's no doubt that "actively interactive" documents are very nice, 
and that Manipulate[] is a superbly done and immensely powerful 
implementation of this capability.  WRI can well be praised for it.

But, "canned animations" (e.g., QT or Flash movies or slide shows or 
multi-page PDF shows) can provide a pretty good substitute  a very 
good substitute  for this in many cases; and PDF contains all kinds of 
simple interactive capabilities (clickable buttons and arrows, arrow 
keys, abilities to open and display external animation programs and 
files) that can go a long way toward meeting the need for very useful 
"quasi interactivity" if you want to call it that.

> This is the reason many people also want a pdf reader on their machine. 
> PDF reader that has not to be necessarily that supplied by Adobe. There 
> are plenty of third party reader out there, many of them light and 
> protable (i.e. do not require installation and do not clutter your hard 
> disk).

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