Did you know there are ISO standards for the following: PDF, HTML and Dublin Core Metadata?
Document management — Electronic document file format for long-term preservation — Part 1: Use of PDF 1.4, Information technology — Document description and processing languages — HyperText Markup Language (HTML) (which has a User’s Guide), and Information and documentation — The Dublin Core metadata element set.
The PDF and the HTML are profiles of the well-known standards, suitable for organizations wishing for a conservative subset suitable for archiving, interchange and complience. ISO is quite a good forum for this kind of standards making: it leaves the originating organization free to innovate while meeting the needs of users for a fixed base format.
The recent kerfuffle between Microsoft and Adobe over PDF support in Office is a little odd, to say the least. Neither side is mentioning that it is only a restricted form of PDF that is really an open standard, as far as I can work out (more info welcome!): ISO PDF. From what I gather, ISO PDF doesn’t allow some of the modern features like bookmarks, it is quite primitive. What we need is for MS (and Adobe, and Open Office) customers to start demanding “Regardless of what extended formats you provide, we want at least ISO PDF, ISO HTML and ISO Dublin Core”
It isn’t an either/or proposition, really, is it? Does MS really need to say “All PDF or no PDF?” ISO PDF may be boring and limited, but it provides an intermediate position between all and none.