An OutputLinks Conversation With Harry Lewis
President and Secretary, AFP Consortium
Program Manager IP & Open Standards
Ricoh Production Print Solutions
Ian Shircore: Harry Lewis, as the first-ever President and Secretary of the AFP Consortium, quite apart from your leading IP and open standards role at Ricoh Print Production Solutions, you must have quite a job on your hands. You have 32 members, with different – often conflicting – commercial interests, from global giants like Xerox and Kodak to small specialist companies in the US, Denmark, France and Austria. How can you ever hope to keep everybody in step? Isn’t this like herding cats?
Harry Lewis: No, actually, it has been a very positive, energized and forward-looking group of people, right from the start. Honestly. And that stems from the history of the consortium, going back to the time in 2004 when IBM decided that open collaboration was the way to add color management to its AFP format, which had been their proprietary property since the 1980s. They formed the AFP Color Consortium and set up bilateral agreements with each of the members to govern the way the work should be done. But that was a great start for everyone. Because everybody could see the result was even more powerful than if we had just kept the doors closed and architected it within IBM.
Ian Shircore: The open standards approach worked immediately?
Harry Lewis: Yes, because we had members like those from Kodak, with a depth of knowledge in color science and its practicalities. That was a great advantage. Other members brought in their own expertise and perspectives, too, and it was all in the name of keeping AFP viable and moving forward.
Ian Shircore: But this was all specifically concerned with color management, was it?
Harry Lewis: It went on like this for two or three years, while they got the color architecture nailed down. And then, of course, people stopped and looked around and asked: “Well, now what do we do?” They could see that this way of working was effective. They didn’t wa... Read More