Today I’ve reviewed again the advantages and disadvantages of DjVu and PDF for scanning and archiving old books. I’ve decided to abandon DjVu. While googling, I’ve found a post which confirmed that the situation with DjVu is bad (the post is from Feb 2007 but I have no reason to believe that the situation is better today).
When I started using it several years ago (my oldest DjVu files date from late 2004) support was sparse but I understood that it was still relatively new. I started using it with the hope that it would catch on. It seems however, that the situation has not improved much since then. Yes, there is more software available for it but most of it is not free (in any sense of the word free) and there does not seem to be any kind of end-to-end support for all features that the format allows. For instance, I have no tool in Ubuntu which allows me to add comments to a DjVu file like I do with PDF files. So I’ve given up on DjVu. It used to be that the size advantages more than made up for all the other disadvantages but PDF has evolved and gotten better at compressing images (by using more advanced compression algorithms), disk space is not the issue it used to be years ago and PDF is just better supported.
That’s very unfortunate because I think if the creators of DjVu had opened it fully, it would most likely have displaced PDF.