[tex-live] ICC profiles for PDF/A compliance

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Thu Sep 6 00:39:47 CEST 2018

On 2018-09-05 at 20:36:00 +0100, David Carlisle wrote:

 > > It doesn't help though that this file is well hidden behind the
 > > "latex" prefix.
 > >
 > > Mojca
 > If there was a directory set up somewhere under tex/generic  that had
 > this and possibly other icc profile files I would  be surprised if the
 > pdfx package maintainers would object to stopping including a copy
 > with the package to avoid having duplicate files in the input tree.
 > David
 > (not that I have any right to speak for the pdfx maintainers:-)

The current maintainer of pdfx is Ross Moore.  He already asked before
he added the profile to his package.  Since there was no place for ICC
profiles in the TDS specification and Ross was the only one who needed
them, maintaining the profiles wihtin his package was the most obvious
and easiest solution.

The file isn't hidden behind the "latex" prefix at all.  See the
TEXINPUTS entries in texmf.cnf.  For plain TeX we have, for example:

  TEXINPUTS.tex = .;$TEXMF/tex/{plain,generic,}//

You see that the third element between the braces is empty.  This
means that when nothing is found in $TEXMF/tex/plain and
$TEXMF/tex/generic, kpathsea scans $TEXMF/tex, which undoubtedly
contains $TEXMF/tex/latex.

On 2018-09-05 at 22:33:31 +0200, Mojca Miklavec wrote:

 > There was also an idea to create a separate directory
 > <texmf>/colors/<packagename>, in line with "fonts" as a special
 > type of files.

This only makes sense if TeX Live can provide many PDF/X color
profiles as well.

A PDF/X color profile specifies how a particular document is printed,
which type of paper has to be used, etc.  It's sole purpose is to
allow the printer to blame the customer if something goes wrong.

There are not many PDF/X profiles available with appropriate licenses
for TeX Live.

Adobe offers a bunch of PDF/X color profiles which can be used freely
but I doubt that their licenses are appropriate for TeX Live.  I also
doubt that printers don't accept anything else but the files provided
by Adobe because they are familiar with them.  Please note that ICC
profiles are binary files and you can't easily find out what they
actually do.

TeX users who need PDF/X color profiles should download the
appropriate files from Adobe and maintain them in their current
working directory, TEXMFHOME, or TEXMFLOCAL.  

At the moment I don't see a good reason to create a new directory
which only contains two files.  Don't know what happens in the future.
Adobe recently released a lot of formerly proprietary files and even a
new font family with acceptable license conditions.

If Adobe decides to put their PDF/X color profiles under a reasonable
license, we can evaluate whether a distinct directory for such files
is sensible.  But I don't see any reason to change anything now.


Reinhard Kotucha                            Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                    mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de

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