The news are a bit old, but it seems the WWF has introduced a “new” format that “cannot be printed”.
Well, lets look into the technical aspects of the format:
-A .wwf file is in reality a .pdf file (with added restrictions)
-The “no printing” restriction is a flag inside the PDF file, which means the document is still “open” and standards-based (as far as I can tell)
-The DRM is implemented on the PDF reader, which chooses either to respect the flag (and forbid printing), or simply ignore it.
This is a bad idea on so many levels:
-It prevents printing at all times, even when printing would be really important
-What if someone has problems in the eyes and need to print lots of files, even trivial ones, just to be able to read them?
-What if you have problems in your computer screen, making documents hard to read? (My old laptop has a this problem)
-How about creating paper “backups” of documents?
-How about the preservation of documents for the future, by having them on paper?
-Computers use a lot of energy, are made with several dangerous chemicals and require lots of resources to produce them, do we really want to encourage the reading on PCs, as a REPLACEMENT of the good old paper? (yes, because with that DRM, you are forced to read those things on the PC)
As an open-source supporter and a pseudo-historian interested in data preservation, I only have to conclude this format should be avoided and I have to oppose it, even if the intentions behind it are noble. In my opinion, the solution for the waste/pollution problem would first be education and secondly, why not also promote fonts/software that reduce ink usage? Or promote the usage of “save as PDF” as a way to have a easy-to-share file, instead of just printing to paper? Or even promote open-source systems (Linux or others) that give new life to old computers?
By the way, here is an easy way to break the DRM