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First, read this article. Second, are there plans to build support for this format into Ubuntu? For example, print to file support, support from Evince, etc.

It acts exactly like a PDF, but you can't print it out. "Decide for yourself which of your documents don't need printing -- and save them as WWF," the wildlife organisation suggests. – Wired

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How can there possibly be a file format that prevents printing? – ændrük Dec 4 '10 at 4:02
Web pages can prevent printing easily (head on over to and try print one of their pages without a subscription). The technology exists, though I don't understand it myself. – Chris Wilson Dec 4 '10 at 4:26
Chome was happy to print ArsTechnica articles for me. I guess they didn't get the memo or sumptin. – msw Dec 4 '10 at 5:10
@Stefano Apparently it "Saves the trees" For every WWF file created I cut down a tree to make 10 toothpicks. Pointless file formats are, pointless. – Marco Ceppi Dec 4 '10 at 5:11
+1 @Marco - Saving trees saves trees, not file formats. :-) – Stefano Palazzo Dec 4 '10 at 5:14
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Whilst I am unable to find any example documents to test my theory with, the website says:

WWF documents can be opened with most programs that can open PDFs

I suspect that ultimately Evince (the default PDF reader in Ubuntu) can already read these files. If you can get your hands on a .wff, try renaming it to .pdf, or right click and try Open With "Document Viewer".

Support for the format would probably be fairly easy to implement in Evince, but I can't see anyone having much desire to do to. Two reasons for this:

  1. Preventing people from printing is the sort of arbitrary restriction that is generally opposed in the Ubuntu and free software community. The PDF file format was intended not to be editable, but we now have tools to edit them...
  2. The entire file format / campaign appears for the most part gimicky, and most of us are incredibly unlikely to actually encounter such a file.

What is not that unlikely to emerge is "support" for opening these files, but no restrictions on printing.... which kinda defeats the point.

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If someone made plans to write code which precludes your ability to do what you choose with data under Linux, someone else would write code that liberates said data. So the question is somewhat moot.

This seems more like a publicity ploy by the creators than anything that could possibly catch on as in:

I'm going to send you a document which prevents you from printing it, unless you don't have a Mac running special WWF software in which case you might not be able to read it at all. Okay?

This scenario rests on the assumption that the document sender is intending to communicate something other than "I should like to control your actions because it will make you a better person" which is both rude and self defeating. I'm all for forests and other living things, but have no patience for people that would compel me to act according to their moral imperatives. (It may be worth noting that I print very, very little as I have yet to find a way to grep through a pile of paper).

One man's theology is another man's belly laugh.
Lazarus Long

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pdftk myfile.pdf output myfile.wwf owner_pw secret allow CopyContents

Does the trick.

pdftops Presseinfo_SAVE_AS_WWF_-_SAVE_A_TREE.wwf
ps2pdf crack.pdf

Kills the protection again.

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