[Scribus] Color swatches - Legal and technical issues

avox avox
Wed Jan 31 23:50:29 CET 2007

Branko Vukelic wrote:
> ... All of you who are interested in this topic, I was not 
> talking about producing a clone of PANTONE and/or HKS (or whatever other 
> proprietary system). I am talking about an *alternative* system that would 
> have little to do with any of the existing systems except in that it will 
> provide the same type of colors, that are:
> 1. out of gamut of conventional CMYK process colors
> 2. reproducible by using known technological means
> 3. free to implement by software developers
> 4. (fill in the blank for other problems that may need solving)
> jon wrote:
>> Why should a vendor produce colors different from the main system(s),
>> and
>> what might be her benefit?
> The benefit is not in producing colors different from the major (not main) 
> systems. The benefit is in having a standard and *open* system that enable 
> any producer to produce the colors in any way they see fit as long as they 
> are compliant. You could also use PANTONE as a standard, but it would not
> be 
> *open* meaning software developers are not free to implement it.
>> Most printers/printshops (40 down to 6 people) I know are happy to rely
>> on only
>> one or two producers.
> However, they *can* only rely on one or two producers. They would just
> have 
> more to pick from and the competition will be sure to have a huge economic 
> impact by forcing competitors to lower prices (including PANTONE). If 
> OpenMach standard (or whatever its name) succeeds in achieving its goals, 
> PANTONE will only have its name to protect it from the impact. And that
> will, 
> too, gradually diminish in importance, and it will eventually have to
> yield.
>> None of them is able to provide even the full range of Pantone colors
>> from stock.
>> They mix certain colors from the range they have available. Imo it's
>> not likely they
>> want to put more pots of a completely different color systems from
>> different vendors,
>> which stay half empty and that they cannot blend, in their stock.
>> Pantone offers a wide range of colors (and color samples), the
>> standards are
>> guaranteed and customers are used to it.
> Yes, but PANTONE is still there distributing its products, so there is
> demand. 
> You have picked a common small-to-medium shop which doesn't qualify as a 
> sample. Also, note that we are not solving the issue of costs of producing 
> standard-compliant colors but the one of *introducing* the standard and 
> possible benefits it could bring us.
>> How wide (world in mind) might an open matching system spread? How to
>> guarantee
>> all color formulars are interoperable (chemical, physical)?
> That seems to be the major obstacle. However, if the new open standard was
> to 
> be made into a full ISO standard, the problem of compatibility AND
> compliancy 
> would be solved.
> Another solution is to create a consortium of ink producers that would
> govern 
> the standard, provided the standard remains open. Such a thing can be 
> compared to W3C (http://www.w3c.org/).

I very much share jon's doubts about establishing such an open standard.
To implement a new color matching system one would have to provide also
the inks, not only the colors. So the only viable solution would be to
ink producers to create/use such a standard.
>From the perspective of an open source user, the only annoying bit about
is that they don't provide open swatches. I'm quite happy with them selling
their inks and matching books and whatever, but keeping their color name
closed is just plain stupid.

So while encouraging ink producers to adopt an open standard is a good
option, the current obstacle is getting Pantone swatches onto FLOSS

For that I see only two ways:

a) Discuss this issue with Pantone and convince them to publish this data.
b) Create measurement tables from Pantone matching books in a way that
    can't successfully challenge in court (it might be a good idea to
publish those
    tables from a country which doesnt have as suffocating IP laws as the

With b) in the offer we might even be able to convince Pantone of a) :-)

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