Free Software PDF Readers

Model letter to contact the institutions

FSFE logo

Free Software Foundation Europe e.V.
Linienstr. 141
10115 Berlin
Germany

Name of the institution
Postal address
Country

Dear Mr or Ms,

Subject: Advertising for proprietary software on your website

We have received a report that your institution is advertising a proprietary software program. In the present case, you are advising users of your website to download the proprietary PDF reader PDFREADER from COMPANY, for example on URL . Even though this program is gratis it is advertisement for a certain company, like advertisement for a gratis test drive with a car is advertisement for the manufacturer. So with this advertisement you favour one company and its software over everyone else in the market, distorting the competition in the software market.

One solution to this is to remove the advertisement from your website. On http://fsfe.org/campaigns/pdfreaders/petition.html you can find a list of organisations, companies, and individuals who support this request by signing the "Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software Advertising On Public Websites". By adhering to the Open Standard PDF, you make sure your documents can be opened by all programs that implement the PDF standard, no matter from which vendor. If you want to provide the visitors guidance, we recommend that you list several PDF readers, by saying something like "to open this PDF file, you need a PDF reader. You can download one of the following programs (list is not exhaustive)". Both alternatives are much fairer than recommending just one reader made by one company.

On http://www.pdfreaders.org/ you can find some examples of PDF readers which you could point to on your website. All readers listed there are Free Software, which means that everybody is free to use them for any purpose, study how they work, share them either gratis or for a fee, and improve the program. These readers are vendor-neutral, and every company can sell the program, adapt it for their own solutions, or make the software a part of the services they offer.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about Free Software and Open Standards in general, we remain available to offer you our full support.

Kind regards,
Karsten Gerloff
President, Free Software Foundation Europe