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CPC '90: Gathering on the Trail To Digital Communication
THIS FALL'S Seybold Computer Publishing Conference was te fifth since both it and this journal were launched in 1986. The changes we have witnessed in both the publishing and computer industries brought about by the desktop computing revolution have been truly amazing. In a very real sense the "industry" that met this year in San Jose represents a new industry entirely, one exhibiting tremendous vitality even in the midst of the unsettling changes taking place in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and America's economy.
Although the progress even over the past year has been impressive indeed, the computer publishing resolution is far from over. Just as the fledgling democracies of Eastern Europe are learning to cope with the ramifications of "open" societies, the computer publishing industry is coming to grips with the implications of an open, heterogeneous computing environment. Both world face grim hardships in making it all work. But the people (and end users) are convinced the end result will be world the trials in the interim.
Organization of our coverage. In this month's Report, we prodive an overview touching on all the main themes of the Conference, followed by in-depth coverage of both the sessions and exhibits pertaining to color. In next month's issue, we will pick up with coverage of other major conference themes: output devices and fonts, including PostScript and TrueImage; hardware and software applications for publishing, including workgroup products and strategies; and electronic delivery of information. Both Report issues will contain coverage of new products relating to their respective topics.
In addition, our most recent issue of the Seybold Report on Publishing Systems (Vol. 20, No. 4) provides coverage of high-end publishing products that were shown at the Exposition. We encourage you to read all three issues to gain a complete perspective on this year's event.
Desktop--still driving the industry
At the Seybold Seminars in March, 1989, Cal Bauer told a skeptical audience of publishing professionals that whether they liked it or not, they had to face the fact that "the publishing market is driven from the desktop." Reaction was clearly mixed. Many in the audience agreed with Bauer's position. Others were threatened by the concept that the technical foundations for publishing applications are now in the hands of the "computer types."
A year and a half later, we doubt that Bauer's assertion would cause much of a stir. On one side, it is clear to publishers that publishing has become a computer application. On the other side, it is equally clear to the key computer vendors that publishing is a key leading-edge computer application. In many cases, it is publishers who are "pushing the envelope" in desktop computing, discovering the shortcomings, oversights and limitations of hardware and software before less-demanding users encounter them.
World in collission. The collision of the publishing industry and the computing information industry has changed both. The traditional equipment suppliers now base their systems on off-the-shelf hardware and, to some extent, mainstream software. Closed, turnkey systems have been virtually replaced by open, modular ones. Not only at our event, but at the American Newspaper Publishers Association show and elsewhere, we see large and small publishers using the same sets of tools to accomplish a wide range of tasks--including many that the high-end proprietary systems never really addressed.
This is heady stuff. But no less so that the changes that the computing industry has been through. The graphic arts industryhs influence on the computing industry has been clear enough, as witnessed by the attention paid by major computing companies to typography, page description languages, fonts and, in some cases, publishing-related software.
The computing industry has also been grappling with its transition to a more open world, one where it becomes harder to define the advantages of your product. The change has been no less wrenching for computer companies than it has been for graphic arts vendors. The "fourth wave" of typesetting technology is happening in the shadow of the desktop computing revolution, which is being played on a grander scale, and for far greater stakes, than the graphc arts market.
It is hard for any vendor, large or small, to forswear the attractions of proprietary advantages. Even Microsoft, which you might think has the most to gain from open, multiple-vendor systems, cannot break the habit of thinking of MS-DOS and Widows as the center of the universe ("an MS-DOS PC on every desk and in every home!"). This was evident in Microsoft's renewed focus on "dumb" output printers driven by the same imaging model used for the PC screen display. And, especially, in the affirmation that Microsoft will add Windows-specific extensions to its version of PostScript and the announcement that it does not see a need to ensure …