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249 comments

Already there (5, Informative)

andytrevino (943397) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680467)

I've been using Foxit Reader for some time on my aging laptop because of performance issues with Adobe Reader 9, and it works great. http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/reader/ [foxitsoftware.com]

Re:Already there (2, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680537)

same here. I switched to foxit ages ago, simply because of adobe being so bloated. It made reading PDFs enjoyable again.

Re:Already there (2, Informative)

omeomi (675045) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680551)

Agreed. Small download. Quick start-up. Never had a problem. Foxit rocks.

Re:Already there (5, Insightful)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680583)

Foxit has a couple of problems with some forms-based PDFs my work gave me, but on the other hand, it lets me save form field values in pdfs where acrobat won't.

It's great; I got sick of the bloat ware and "run all the time! in the background! always show up with checks for prompts for updates every time I open my browser!" that adobe has turned into.

now if foxit only made a flash player

Re:Already there (5, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680747)

Actually, the article specifically suggests that Adobe needs to improve its automatic update system, not remove it.

Foxit is getting pretty widely used, and it will be especially vulnerable if it lacks a mechanism to update itself automatically.

Convenience != good architecture.

I'm not sure who are more dangerous, those that don't update because they don't know what updates are, or those that don't update because they're too paranoid about corporations whose software they already use to allow that software to be patched against demonstrated security issues.

That said, Adobe is bloated. It just has nothing to do with running all the time in the background and prompting for updates, but just with generally shitty programming. Anything used for a significant portion of web traffic needs to have a mechanism to automatically retrieve updates, especially if the user is to lazy make sure that their system is up to date and secure.

Re:Already there (4, Funny)

omeomi (675045) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680795)

I'm not sure who are more dangerous, those that don't update because they don't know what updates are, or those that don't update because they're too paranoid about corporations whose software they already use to allow that software to be patched against demonstrated security issues.

What about those of us who don't update because we're too lazy?

Re:Already there (4, Insightful)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680895)

What about those of us who don't update because we're too lazy?

Then there's those of us who don't update because we've been burnt by updates breaking things way too many times in the past.

Re:Already there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27681513)

This is how angst is born.

Re:Already there (2, Interesting)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680941)

Funny I know, but it's not far off â" Acrobat only bugs me about updating when I'm about to try doing something else. 'I know you said you wanted to see this PDF, but wouldn't you be happier waiting 10 minutes for a software update instead?'

Acrobat needs some method of downloading updates in the background and then just asking you if you want to apply them (yes/no) when you start it, but applying them later, when you're done.

Then again, most apps need to do things like that.

Re:Already there (5, Funny)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681051)

What about those of us who don't update because we're too lazy?

You might be lazy, but your computer isn't; it's been sending out spam 24/7 for a while now.

Re:Already there (2, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681587)

I'm not sure who are more dangerous, those that don't update because they don't know what updates are, or those that don't update because they're too paranoid about corporations whose software they already use to allow that software to be patched against demonstrated security issues.
What about:
Those who don't update because it would take unreasonable ammounts of time on thier slow connection

Those who don't upgrade because they are afraid vendor incompetance will cause something to break (or have upgraded and then had to downgrade because something broke and are now stuck with the version they downgraded too)

Those who don't update because they simply can't be bothered dealing with all the updators.

IMO all the major windows development houses (including MS themselves) need to get together and use a common automatic updates system with a common setting for deciding update policy (off/check and ask/download and ask/full auto) and maybe an advanced settings box to set different update policies for different products. I think the windows automatic updates system may already support this but if it does then i've never seen anyone other than MS use it.

Re:Already there (5, Informative)

DanWS6 (1248650) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680917)

I was a firm believer in foxit, until I had to fill out my 1040 and related forms. Some of the fields were just screwed up. I had to cave and install acrobat. I died a little inside that day.

Broken ones are JetForm/LiveCycle based (3, Informative)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681369)

Foxit does not yet support JetForm/LiveCycle based PDFs. Neither does OSX's Preview.

I wish people would stop using LiveCycle to produce PDFs, from what I can tell the format is not documented in the PDF ISO specification. Additionally, the newer format does not seem to provide any features that were not previously available in PDF. One can only speculate that it was done out of laziness or to thwart competition after they opened the format.

Re:Already there (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681439)

And what I find quite important: it renders text quite well. At least I don't see a big difference between how Foxit renders text vs. Acrobat. But, as I was saying in another post, Sumatra does a very bad job - so much so, that I feel slightly nauseated when reading documents with Sumatra.

Re:Already there (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680553)

I'll second that, been using Foxit for a couple of years now with no complaints.

Re:Already there (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680645)

I think it's fucking lame that there are so many foxit shills on slashdot.

Re:Already there (1)

CoolCalmChris (991775) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680655)

Another happy Foxit user heard from.

Re:Already there (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680679)

Ah, but is Foxit Free Software, or merely free software?

Re:Already there (3, Informative)

andytrevino (943397) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680845)

Free as in beer, not as in speech. The article lists a number of alternatives with varying degrees of maturity and practical utility...

For example, I'm not going to install KDE on Windows just to read PDFs, and if I'm going to recommend an alternative PDF reader to one of my Average Joe friends, customers or relatives I'm not going to have them download one without an installer [gnustep.it] or from a website whose name has nothing to do with the product [ccxvii.net] (MuPDF) that looks like it was designed circa 1997. Appearance is everything, you know, which is something that I think has greatly contributed to Firefox's success: both the product and the website look smooth, classy and refined.

Re:Already there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680873)

It's free software, because capitalizing those words is grammatically incorrect.

Re:Already there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680779)

Funny, the latest version of FoxIt demands escalation under Vista. Why exactly?

Re:Already there (4, Informative)

zonky (1153039) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680807)

Yes, it's so feature compatible with adobe, they've added similar exploits! http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2008-1104 [mitre.org]

Re:Already there (4, Interesting)

toleraen (831634) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680955)

Exactly what I don't get of this. When tracking the adobe exploits I saw several for Foxit pop up. The guy is basically advising security through obscurity. Foxit definitely released patches quicker than Adobe, but the vulnerabilities were still there...

Re:Already there (1)

MrPhilby (1493541) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680885)

Yep for about 2 years here.

Re:Already there (2, Informative)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681141)

I used to use Foxit, but got a little tired of its adware nature (banner ad, browser toolbar, tons of buttons that only exist to remind you what the free version doesn't have, etc.). So I switched to Sumatra [kowalczyk.info] (GPL and much more minimalistic than Foxit). Later, I started taking notes in class using PDF comments. I tried using Foxit again, but commenting is restricted to the Pro version. Plus it crashed every second time I tried to comment the DRM'd lecture notes (that was difficult to figure out since Foxit doesn't indicate if DRM is present). So I switched to PDF-XChange Viewer [docu-track.com] since it can handle DRM and allows comments. It's similar to Foxit in that it's adware and feature-rich, but it does it with a bit more class IMHO. E.g. there's an option to hide the "Professional" features. Plus, there's a portable version.

Re:Already there (3, Informative)

FRiC (416091) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681233)

Until Foxit Reader (at least the Windows version, no experience with other versions) can support Unicode, it will never replace Adobe Reader.

Re:Already there (5, Insightful)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681679)

Foxit Reader is proprietary, no more inspectable or modifiable than Adobe's PDF reader and therefore no more trustworthy than any other proprietary software. No proprietary software is not a good solution to the problems faced with Adobe's proprietary PDF Reader. You are merely jumping from one proprietor to another.

A reasonable recommendation is a FLOSS PDF reader such as Sumatra, Skim, or one of the other fine PDF readers recommended by PDFReaders.org [pdfreaders.org] .

Not Much Cross-Platform (4, Informative)

Kelson (129150) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680481)

It's interesting that of the 8 alternatives mentioned, only Okular is listed as being available across the board on Windows, Mac OS X, and (as they put it), "Free Operating Systems." (Linux, BSD, etc.) Even so, it involves installing KDE on top of Windows or Mac OS X, but at least it can be done.

The only two-platform reader, Yap, appears to be based on GNUStep, and I don't actually see a Windows download on the web page.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680525)

Doesn't Apple have their own non-adobe pdf reader built into OS X?

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (4, Informative)

Kelson (129150) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680557)

Doesn't Apple have their own non-adobe pdf reader built into OS X?

Yes, Preview can read PDFs (among many other formats) well enough that I didn't even install Adobe Reader when I bought a new MacBook a few months ago. Admittedly I'm not sure how well it handles forms, but it has no problems with static PDF files.

Of course, I doubt it's open source/free software, so it wouldn't be on this list anyway.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680749)

Of course, I doubt it's open source/free software, so it wouldn't be on this list anyway.

Well, its effectively 'free' in the sense that any one who has the operating system that runs it already owns a copy.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (4, Informative)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681163)

Forms support is decent, but not perfect. I reported a couple of bugs I ran into filling out my tax forms this year. Specifically, I couldn't save a PDF in Adobe Reader that had form data already saved in it with Preview. And the digits didn't align correctly in the bank routing and account number fields.

I use it frequently. My only other gripe is that the search is brain-dead. (It "ors" all the search terms. which is never what I want. Putting an "AND" between them doesn't help :-/)

It might sound like I don't like it, but these are actually my only complaints. Very solid app.

It's also worth noting that PDF export is built right into the print subsystem. No goofy third party print drivers. No need for individual apps to understand PDF.

-Peter

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (4, Interesting)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680805)

Yes. There's also Skim [sourceforge.net] for OS X, which is far and away my favorite PDF reader for any platform. It's actually designed by and for people who really want to read, quickly search, and annotate PDFs.

Here are two of Skim's great features that I'd love to to see in other PDF readers:

  1. Fast search with great presentation. Skim's PDF text search is blazing fast, provides a concise one-hit per line view, as well as thumbnails of the page around the search target on mouse hover. The thumbs are great for quickly winnowing down to the correct hit; you often don't need to even read the text, just the "look" is enough to know you've got the right thing.
  2. The ability to easily spin off small windows frozen to a part of a page -- great for popping open a diagram or other material referenced across multiple pages of a text.

I do believe that Skim relies heavily on various OS X frameworks (e.g. for PDF rendering, Spotlight support for search, etc.). That definitely goes to show the value of providing functionality via general, well-conceived and well-implemented frameworks instead of being wrapped up inside of monolithic applications.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (2, Interesting)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681547)

Whole-heartedly agree. Skim has made getting through my Master's degree much easier. The ability to highlight (markup in many ways) and add text notes directly on the page make this awesome.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (5, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680567)

I've been using Evince on Linux for years now. No dramas. Runs about 10 times faster than the Adobe Reader as well.

Does whether a particular reader is cross-platform really matter? Most people only seem to use the zoom in/out, scroll up/down and preview pane functions anyway. Not a lot to figure out on a different system...

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680597)

Does whether a particular reader is cross-platform really matter? Most people only seem to use the zoom in/out, scroll up/down and preview pane functions anyway. Not a lot to figure out on a different system...

Good point. Now that I think about it, I've been using Evince on Linux, Preview on Mac OS, and Adobe on Windows for quite a while.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680971)

I'd like to bind/bookmark certan pages to keys like CTRL+1,2,3.. but besides that evince works fine, and I can embed it in Firefox using mozplugger.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680587)

OS X comes with Preview which handles a variety of formats including multiple page PDF documents. In fact, the imaging system is based on PDF.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (4, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680869)

The websites are the horror from a windows end-user point of view.

Okular: no download, build descriptions?
MuPDF: A parser description?
Yap: That screenshot ...
Sumatra PDF: Looks good.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (1, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681001)

> The websites are the horror from a windows end-user point of view.

Perhaps you should consider getting your operating system from an organization that does not require you to download such fundamental applications as a PDF viewer from a third party.

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (1, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681271)

You honestly wouldnt have a problem with microsoft bundling their own PDF reader with their OS? More to the point, dont you think that people would start yelling about bloat and whatnot if they did?

Re:Not Much Cross-Platform (2, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681365)

I tried Sumatra (newest version) and while it's installed size is small, compared to the features it offers, it's bloated (ok, it's not bloated if you compare to Adobe, but it is compared to Foxit). But that's not the real problem with Sumatra: the gravest issue is the rendering: I thought I'll get a headache reading text rendered by Sumatra. It was very unpleasant at any zoom level.

They all suck (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680513)

acroread is the only decent pdf viewer for linux.

Re:They all suck (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680635)

Troll or not, this is absolutely correct. Acroread is bloated and slow, but it's the only reader that can display complex documents correctly. The other viewers are simply not feature-complete.

Re:They all suck (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680951)

I am sorry, but I have been using... ... err, I am not even sure what its name is, whatever PDF reader comes by default in ubuntu, and it works just great? All I need when reading a PDF is... zoom, page view, and table of contents... Rendering correctly? Maybe all the docens of ebooks I tried never used any complex PDF feature... I actually think that's a good thing though...

Helpfully (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680529)

F-Secure posted a PDF with exploits to uninstall Adobe Reader and install a new free reader.

Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (5, Insightful)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680579)

Acrobat utterly takes the biscuit when it comes to being the most execrably awful, arrogant, bloated, buggy, piece of software ever made, ever. And that's in a world where Microsoft exists as well.

But as if that isn't bad enough, it ALSO ranks as the most tragic irony in *all* *computing* *history* that such a screamingly, revoltingly, tear-out-your-hair-and-become-a-monk awful software is essentially based on an open standard. I'll say that again: PDF is an *open* ISO standard. HOW did Adobe rape and strangle it to death like they did? If anyone wants an example of how unspeakably evil marketing and sharp practices can be, they need look no further than Adobe Acrobat.

If I never used Acrobat ever again it would be too soon.

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680653)

But I thought the value proposition in closed-source, pay software was that it was more robust, with better responsiveness to the needs of the customer base, etc...

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680737)

the most execrably awful, arrogant, bloated, buggy, piece of software ever made, ever.

It's called Realplayer.

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (3, Funny)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680827)

You really think so? Let me introduce you to my Buddy, Bonzi....

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680859)

That's a malware imho.

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (3, Informative)

5of0 (935391) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680993)

But it's malware that sings! That right there makes the difference.

Adobe: The Worlds Worst Software Company (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680853)

That was my response to the dreamweaver CS3 install that dumped over 800 meg of bolt-on garbarge and two new services BEFORE starting the actual dreamweaver install.

And the new-and-improved dreamweaver was almost exactly the same as the macromedia version. They added a new CSS selector and a new tab for their adobe ajax framework. And they broke the best interakt extension. So the product went backwards, despite trending towards epic MS levels of application footprint.

They acquired the interackt folks and I think CS4 suckers are still waiting for the supported port.

Everything adobe touches turns to shit if you ask me.

Re:Adobe: The Worlds Worst Software Company (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681583)

I agree.

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680871)

It's about profit. These days, you can't charge people $40 (or $140) per copy to go from Acrobat 5 to Acrobat 5.01, with security fixes. You need another version with added features, better usability, etc, otherwise people won't see the value in shelling out for the new version, and you won't make any money. It's easier to add then it is to recreate, so you get bloated software.

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681021)

Acrobat Reader is pretty universally despised. I was very surprised when I saw, on bittorrent, a WinXP iso slipstreamed with Adobe Acrobat. Oh well - some people are just, you know, crazy.

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (4, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681027)

Acrobat utterly takes the biscuit when it comes to being the most execrably awful, arrogant, bloated, buggy, piece of software ever made, ever.

Clearly you have not used anything Lotus has shipped in the past decade.

Re:Acrobat: The Worlds Worst Software (3, Insightful)

spinkham (56603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681297)

Acrobat utterly takes the biscuit when it comes to being the most execrably awful, arrogant, bloated, buggy, piece of software ever made, ever. And that's in a world where Microsoft exists as well.

I see you never used Visual SourceSafe.

But yes, Acrobat sucks.

1 word (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680595)

Monoculture.

It's always bad & that's why standards are good.

For those on the go (5, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680649)

Sumatra PDF is also available in a portable format [portableapps.com] .

Re:For those on the go (3, Informative)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681015)

I was introduced to Sumatra from portable apps and now use it instead of FoxIt. It does have a few issues here and there, but it seems to work better.

They are NOT free! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27680693)

Those alternatives to Adobe reader are not free.

Almost all come with that retarded GNU license (which means you can't use it commercially), require ghostscript(a bloated pig with GNU license again), or they pop ads into your face.

Why can't somebody create a PDF Reader with MIT style licence? Come on guys!

Re:They are NOT free! (2, Insightful)

Hucko (998827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681487)

it is an open standard, you are welcome to do so.

nice that there was an MS rep there to pay him too (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680699)

using this guys logic, he should be saying to dump Microsoft and use another OS due to the large number of breakins on Windows boxes. Notice I didn't say attacks because attacks do not mean security failure. I'll bet he picked his words, or MS did, for legal reasons.

anyways, Microsoft and RSA have been buddy buddies for a few years now so it's no wonder MS has the RSA picking on Adobe. Adobe has almost as large a distribution channel as Microsoft and that makes Adobe a big target. Add to it Adobe's Flash and the target is as large as the one on Tux.

LoB

Re:nice that there was an MS rep there to pay him (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681073)

They would, if Linux was able to run 99% of the world's Windows applications. Yes, I know there are some PDFs out there that Evince et al can't open, but so far I haven't found any and I have *hundreds* of PDFs on my computer so chances are they're a stastistically insignificant percentage and, as such, unlikely to bother the average user.

Re:nice that there was an MS rep there to pay him (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681631)

I'm not entirely certain of that compatibility problem. Many Mac users don't run Windows apps at all and comparability is not necessarily an issue. Part of what drives many Mac users is that it is NOT Windows and so they feel better because of it. For some people, it only takes knowing that there is a viable alternative for them to make the switch. "All the advantages of Mac without the price!"

Re:nice that there was an MS rep there to pay him (3, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681095)

using this guys logic, he should be saying to dump Microsoft and use another OS due to the large number of breakins on Windows boxes.

Unless he thought that the cost of switching OSes was significantly higher than the cost of switching to another free piece of software on top of that OS. With Windows, people need it to do things that no other operating system can do, namely, running Windows-only applications as well as they can be run. Switching to another OS requires either dealing with emulation, a VM, or not being able to run those programs at all. In addition, there are costs in either a steep learning curve going to linux or hardware to get a Mac. Cost to change: many, many hours of learning or a few thousand dollars.

On the other hand, as long as these PDF readers can read any pdf that adobe can, and as long as they're free like adobe is, there's no other cost. Hell, you can even have adobe installed just in case you'll need it, but make another reader the default for everything, thereby giving you the security of having another reader without any loss in functionality. Cost to change: maybe half an hour.

In other words, your bias is showing.

I agree with the logic... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680709)

"...because of the huge amount of targeted attacks against it."

So let's also put forward the same suggestion directed at Windows?

Re:I agree with the logic... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27681243)

yeah but windows runs my apps and linux is for dirty little faggots who suck cock.

How about a security review? (2, Insightful)

Burdell (228580) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680767)

Being the most targeted is not a good reason to switch (being the most exploited may be). However, rather than say "acroread sucks, try something else", shouldn't a security company actually check the security of the alternatives? Alternative does not automatically imply better; how do I know that the alternatives are not worse?

How many of the alternatives implement all the features require (and implement them securely)? Viewing an owner's guide PDF or some such isn't a big deal (I'd hope they can all do that); I need to know if all the form handling works correctly (because I need to use that).

Re:How about a security review? (1)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681083)

The very existence of a huge number of features means that there will be more security bugs. Also, black hats tend to focus their attacks on the dominant player, unless there's a #2 that's super-easy to beat. Obscurity isn't sufficient to provide security but it does help.

It's true that many of the alternatives lack certain features, but most PDF files don't use those features either. You can use a simpler reader except in cases where you need all the features.

I dropped Adobe PDF reader for a different reason (3, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680849)

"Yesterday at RSA security conference, F-Secure's chief research officer recommended dropping Adobe Reader for viewing PDF files because of the huge amount of targeted attacks against it.

I used to use Adobe's PDF reader but while running Windows XP, I got a message prompting me to upgrade my Adobe reader to the latest.

I attempted to and the downloaded file was quite small. On completing the installation, I found out that I was stuck with a directory heavy at 200MB! Uninstalling the extras did not help matters.

Later on, I discovered Foxit Reader [foxitsoftware.com] . I haven't looked back and I am not worried about Adobe misbehaving for I know the would not like Microsoft to gain any traction with their XPS [microsoft.com] format.

Which PDF reader for Linux handles forms the best? (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680899)

Earlier this month while doing my US Federal taxes, I ended up installing the Windows version of Acrobat Reader 8 under Wine just to fill in the IRS PDF-based tax forms. None of the other readers I tried were both A) capable of handling the IRS forms correctly; and B) stable enough on Ubuntu 8.10 to actually use. Other readers I tried included Evince, another Open Source one (I forget which), and several versions of Acrobat Reader for Linux (both from the Ubuntu restricted repo and direct from Adobe).

The Windows version under Wine was an iffy proposition at best, but I was able to get it working eventually. The installers for 7.x and 9.x bombed outright; 8.x installed, but wouldn't let you click past the EULA! Once past the EULA issue (regedit to the rescue!), 8.x on Wine worked OK. Workable, but far from an ideal solution...

Re:Which PDF reader for Linux handles forms the be (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27681221)

Linux: ready for the desktop!

Re:Which PDF reader for Linux handles forms the be (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681339)

Evince seems to do a splendid job of rendering (and printing) PDFs that don't have forms in them. Does anyone know if the forms extension is part of the ISO standard, or is it a proprietary Adobe thing? Because if it is a proprietary extension, it hardly seems fair to blame Linux for not handling it properly, nor for Adobe's inability to make a product that doesn't suck.

What about DRM PDFs? (5, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680913)

I have a ton of DRM protected eBooks from my college. They only work in Adobe Acrobat Reader. How do I remove the DRM, or would removing the DRM so that I can use them in a third party PDF viewer be a violation of my license with the college and publishers?

I really don't want to lose my eBook library, but I don't want to get infected either.

Re:What about DRM PDFs? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27681013)

Open the file as a text file and look for the comment that says something like it is a violation of the DMCA to remove the following lines. Remove the following lines. Repeat. This is of course assuming that you don't think it's a violation of the DMCA to remove the lines in question.

Re:What about DRM PDFs? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681029)

> ...would removing the DRM so that I can use them in a third party PDF viewer be a
> violation of my license with the college and publishers?

Why don't you read the license and find out? It certainly would not be infringement of the copyrights.

Re:What about DRM PDFs? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27681121)

Search for ineptpdf.pyw.

Re:What about DRM PDFs? (1)

anjilslaire (968692) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681165)

Here in the US, removing the DRM would be circumventing the protection and therefore in violation of the DMCA, in addition to whatever th license does or does not allow.

Re:What about DRM PDFs? (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681321)

I remember I tried several freewares to recover a DRMed PDF once.
Try for example GuaPDF.

This is slashdot! (3, Insightful)

Kludge (13653) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681651)

Step 1: Don't buy anything with DRM protection.
Step 2: Repeat.

Foxit Reader (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680929)

It's amazing that Foxit Reader has nearly all the functionality of the newest Acrobat Reader, but the installer is 10X smaller! And not to speak about how much more stable it is. Now I put Foxit on every computer I use. Foxit is so much better than Acrobat Reader, that every time I see it on a computer I think to myself "Are you effing kidding me????!!!"

I really don't understand how did the Adobe SW engineers manage to make such a bloated and unstable POS.

Re:Foxit Reader (2, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681325)

Probably the same way HP printer drivers are 350mb.
I'm actually starting to suspect that the same people who write the adobe reader/updater code, also work in the HP drivers division. Both use FEAD/Nosso compression, both have obnoxious updaters, both are massively bloated....
/tinfoil hat

Re:Foxit Reader (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681417)

You know what? I have no friggin' idea how HP gets away with those monstruous drivers. It's nuts.

Solution: Replace PDF with ODF (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#27680967)

The Open Document Format - ODF [wikipedia.org] was supposed to replace PDF anyway. Why not hasten the process and make a PDF to ODF converter? [ubuntuforums.org]

The ODF Alliance [odfalliance.org] should be on that case to do a converter program to convert all document formats to ODF format.

Re:Solution: Replace PDF with ODF (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681413)

The Open Document Format - ODF was supposed to replace PDF anyway.

For one thing, can ODF embed fonts?

Re:Solution: Replace PDF with ODF (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681609)

ODF was to restrain the problem of data being held hostage in a proprietary format. The most recognised targets were .doc & .xls but not limited to them.

Pdf is a different problem though. An earlier version has been a public standard (OSI? That one that Microsoft gamed with those single use countries... ;)

Any good at printing in Windows? (1)

bazald (886779) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681065)

I have been forced to switch back to the official Adobe Acrobat Reader to print many documents, at least in Windows. Foxit and Sumatra are simply no good at printing. Foxit was okay with some documents but not others. Sumatra always tried to generate multiple gigabytes to send to my HP LaserJet 2200D. Acrobat Reader on the other hand was able to manage every document I tried with a megabyte or two, at most.

Is Okular for Windows any better?

Re:Any good at printing in Windows? (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681661)

Yeah, it seems that quite a few open source programs seem to render the pages as images and then send that off to the printer driver, rather than doing it in postscript and letting the driver do the image rendering (which is what I presume Adobe reader does). It's fine if you've got the space and processor time to spare, not so fine on a 600MHz netbook with a few hundred megs of free disk space.

So it's an Acrobat Reader 5.1 for me - renders pretty much all the PDF's I need to read, doesn't have too much bloat. Every version after that seems to have ballooned in size and annoying 'features' that I don't need.

better -- use pdfs appropriately! (4, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681119)

Actually, what would also be a huge help (regardless of reader) would be to only use PDF where it was appropriate to do so -- namely, when the end user actually needs to print said document.

I realize there's pretty much no point in saying this, as it seems that many designers -- especially in large organizations -- seem to give little thought to the end user, and the usability of their site. (inappropriate or unnecessary use of pdf, flash, javascript, popups (still!) etc )

I'm tired of going to a site to find that in order to find out -- for example, where an event is going to take place -- that I have to download a 3 page pdf document, one that would have been so much easier and quicker and accessible as html on a webpage.

I'm willing to bet that, at the very least, half of all pdfs created do not need to be pdfs in the first place.

Re:better -- use pdfs appropriately! (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681675)

Isn't one of the 'features' of pdf that it is for document exchange? One of the talking points was that it "couldn't be changed" by the end viewer. Bollocks of course, but there aren't very many good native-pdf word processors.

I believe they were designed to replace printouts unless a print version was actually needed, not be the printout vector themselves. The idea that end to end would look the same no matter what was used to view it. acroread, other pdf reader, or paper.

Html attacks a similar problem, but not the same problem.

Okular has no chance there ... (5, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681129)

Okular has no chance there. Not amongst regular Windows users at least.

Step 1 - Go to PDFreaders.org [pdfreaders.org] - no issue
Step 2 - Click on "Download" on the intersection between Okular and Windows - no issue
Step 3 - Click "Download latest installer for immediate installation. - no issue
Step 4 - Run the KDE installer - not so much an issue, as what it does is
Step 5 - Click Next - "install from Internet" is the default setting, sounds reasonable
Step 6 - Select a download server - "What the hell did I just download then?"
Step 7 - Select an available release - Ehh? Whut?
Step 8 - Select the package you want to install - Well, that's just fucked up. 140+ packages to choose from. They're sorted by package name ONLY, cannot sort by package notes.
Step 9 - Look for something called Okular as package name. None found
Step 10 - "Oh, well, maybe these are packages I want in addition to Okular. I mean, I downloaded the Okular installer, right?"
Step 11 - Click Next
Step 12 - Installation/Update finished
Step 13 - Realise that NOTHING has been installed.
Step 14 - Get annoyed
Step 15 - Call tech support (realise this is a free program and there's noone to yell at)
Step 16 - Download and run the installer again (because they forgot where they downloaded it to)
Step 17 - Get to the package list and start reading very carefully
Step 18 - Wonder why the hell the package list goes Czech, Kashubian, Welsh, Danish, German, Greek, English, Esperanto, Spanish, Estonian [spelling package]
Step 19 - Realise there's still no Okular package anywhere
Step 20 - Read the list for the 3rd time and note that "Graphics applications" has a note "(including Okular)"
Step 21 - Wonder why the hell the download Okular link from before doesn't give you the fucking package to begin with
Step 22 - Notice that you're now downloading 40 (forty!) packages from the servers
Step 23 - Notice that one of these files are 60+ MB
Step 24 - Wonder why they call Acrobat Reader bloated and slow when that installer is less than 25 MB and takes about 30 seconds to install, just by clicking Next until you're done.
Step 25 - Notice that you now have a folder called "Programs" in your Start menu's program folder, which is aparently a sym-link to the program folder (doesn't point to itself though)
Step 26 - Find the "KDE 4.22 Release" folder in Programs and notice these programs:

  • Help
  • Graphics\More Applications\KColorChooser (Color Chooser)
  • Graphics\More Applications\KRuler (Screen Ruler)
  • Graphics\Gwenview (Image Viewer)
  • Graphics\KolourPaint (Paint Program)
  • Graphics\Okular (Document Viewer)
  • Network\KNetAttach (Network Folder Wizard)

Step 27 - Wonder once more why the hell people call Acrobat Reader bloated when this program installs with 5 extra programs.
Step 28 - Start the bloody program!
Step 29 - KConf_update.exe would like to run. So, Acrobat Reader running its updater - Bad! This - GOOD!
Step 30 - TRY to put frustrations aside and use the program

That installer REALLY needs some work.

And if you are going to have a Windows program, be as kind as to have an actual uninstaller. NONE of the KDE programs installed are listed in (Add/Remove)Programs(and Features). No uninstallers in the start menu either. I realise a lot of vocal FOSS supporters don't like Windows, but please - if you're going to advocate FOSS, at least make it live up to the LOW standards of Windows software (the non-malicious part of that group).

Re:Okular has no chance there ... (3, Informative)

LiquidFire_HK (952632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681625)

Well, to be fair, the KDE on Windows [kde.org] page does say, in bold,

KDE on Windows is not in the final state, so applications can be unsuitable for day to day use yet.

The installer is far from suitable for end-users as well. I'm not sure why the website would link to the KDE installer without any instructions (there is no installer specific to Okular, or any specific KDE program, yet).

Re:Okular has no chance there ... (1)

LiquidFire_HK (952632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681647)

I should also add that kconf_update doesn't do updating (in the sense of downloading software from the Internet), it just cleans up/modifies configuration files.

Foxit is unsuitable (4, Informative)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681151)

This isn't FUD, this is based on my own experiences:

I've found that the latest Foxit Reader is unable to show certain PDFs, in particular those created using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat. I created some PDFs in Acrobat 9 and when loaded into Foxit Reader 3.0, showed up entirely blank. The only way to view them was to put Adobe Reader on instead. So I did.

I'm not sure why Foxit showed these PDFs entirely blank. Maybe Acrobat 9 has a new version of the PDF standard that's incompatable, I don't know. What I do know is it means that if I want to gurantee the viewing of PDF files, I pretty much require Adobe products, which isn't that bad if you're using Reader 9 (much faster than version 8).

Possibly a vendor lock-in mechanism, but I'm tired of fighting. It's easier just to go with Adobe and get on with work.

Re:Foxit is unsuitable (4, Informative)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681183)

One more thing I forgot to mention - I switched from Acrobat to PDFCreator a while back. It's very good, and anything I render using PDFCreator works just fine with Foxit Reader. Also has the side benefit of being open source and an example of an actually GOOD open source product. Unfortunately this doesn't discount the fact that other people might use Acrobat to render THEIR PDFs, and I don't want to cut myself off from being able to view them.

Good reason.. (1)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 4 years ago | (#27681167)

For a while now I was ignoring my inner voice yelling "Uninstall Adobe Reader", This sounds like a good reason for me to do that now. Sumatra here I come.

Rendering quality? (1)

wahaa (1329567) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681309)

Does anybody have something to share about rendering quality?
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