View Full Version : Reading PDF files on Windows or Linux


Bob Russell
02-08-2009, 01:55 PM
I don't remember any recent discussion of free PDF software alternatives for a Windows or Linux computer, so maybe it's time to stir up the pot.

For Windows, there is Adobe Reader (http://get.adobe.com/reader/), Digital Editions (http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/) that also reads ePub documents, and the program that I've been using... Foxit (http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php).

Are there any other really solid (and preferably lightweight) PDF readers out there that we should be considering? What's your favorite?

And for you Linux folks... what do you recommend? (Please be sure to indicate which OS you are discussing!)

Jellby
02-08-2009, 02:23 PM
On Linux I use Acroread (or whatever name it has now). It's maybe not the most efficient, but it supports the most features (like transparency, layers, vector antialiasing, javascript...). Oh, and I had to go back to version 7, because in version 8 it was not possible to close a file and then go "back" to reopen the file (and this is a must when working with LaTeX).

Other options are xpdf, kpdf, okular...

msundman
02-08-2009, 02:48 PM
On linux I use Okular, because it has such nice bookmarking and annotation abilities. Also, it supports lots of different formats, not just PDF.

Kayaker
02-08-2009, 03:40 PM
On Ubuntu GNU/Linux, I use Evince (http://projects.gnome.org/evince/) which is distributed as part of Gnome.

vivaldirules
02-08-2009, 04:50 PM
Thank you for asking this, Bob. I've been toying with getting a netbook and using Linux to avoid Windows, if possible, and I have no idea what ebook formats I'll be able to read. So I'll be watching this thread carefully. I could also use tips on other ebook formats (Adobe DE, DOC, LRF, PRC, etc.) that I'll be able to read and with what software alternatives without having to doing any blasted conversions or DRM removals.

kovidgoyal
02-08-2009, 04:52 PM
You can read all non DRMed ebook formats onlinux using calibre. As far as I know you cant read any DRMed ebook formats on linux

tompe
02-08-2009, 06:50 PM
You can read all non DRMed ebook formats onlinux using calibre. As far as I know you cant read any DRMed ebook formats on linux

MobiPocket read was working in wine but maybe that is not considered to be linux.

kovidgoyal
02-08-2009, 07:07 PM
MobiPocket read was working in wine but maybe that is not considered to be linux.

For the purposes of vivaldirules, I doubt it

Elfwreck
02-08-2009, 08:54 PM
Foxit PDF reader (http://www.foxitsoftware.com/products/) has versions for Windows, Windows Mobile, embedded Linux (I have no idea what that is) and several portable systems; it'll run off a flash drive.

Sumatra (http://blog.kowalczyk.info/software/sumatrapdf/) is also Windows-only, and will also run portably.

Googling turns up free PDF readers for other platforms, but as I don't use the platforms, I'd rather not comment on them--I have no idea if they're too complicated, or too buggy, or terrific.

pilotbob
02-08-2009, 09:28 PM
gmail has a new web based PDF viewer. It looks like it might be flash based, not sure. So, just email yourself the PDF and view it in your browser.

BOb

shadow2501
02-09-2009, 04:27 AM
PDF-Xchange viewer for Windows

pros :
-free
-light (must be installed but the folder can be copied, 8mb on version 1)
-can open files with non-latin characters (unlike adobe)
-can be used to make annotations
-can export pdf pages to pictures

cons :
-some embedded objects (like sounds) doesn't work
-unlike adobe, can't even save in txt format.


All in all, it is worth considering as a default pdf viewer

rowjimmy
02-09-2009, 12:12 PM
I installed the Windows versions of Acrobat Reader and Mobipocket on an eeepc (Xandros, i believe) under wine. The installation was painless - no crippling glitches. ADE doesn't install without Internet Explorer, so I installed Reader version 6, which is the last version of Reader to support DRMed library downloads. If I remember right, the Mobipocket installation was of an earlier version (5, not 6) and also supports DRMed books.

I can fetch the actual version numbers if anyone is interested. For me, the trick with DRMed downloads in wine was making sure the reader software can access the internet in order to validate the copies' keys.

Emu
02-09-2009, 03:36 PM
There are many reasons for foxit, here is my fav reason:
Once I had problems opening a file with foxit (problems with a graph). I contacted the support and after a few days they fixed the problem in an update!

FOXIT is my sollution for pdfs!

bigblubber
02-10-2009, 06:17 AM
I am using a mobile version of Microsoft Reader on my pocket PC as well as my laptop and it works just fine. I will never use Adobe Digital Editions again, it is good eye candy but it is not stable and kept on disappearing along with my books ( on my laptop ) and it is DRM'd all to hell. Adobe Acrobat is ok but the pocket pc version is a bit annoying because you have to scroll a lot. With MS Reader on pocket pc the pages are configured to fit the screen so you just turn the page.

Scythe
02-10-2009, 10:09 AM
Windows
Foxit

Linux
Evince - What I use about 99% of the time.
(Acroread) Adobe Acrobat - (it's a lot faster than the Windows version, and sometimes it corrects the forms I need to print out whereas Acroread doesn't)

seuzx
02-14-2009, 06:48 AM
Hi, first post - have been lurking this excellent forum a while.

On topic: I've used Foxit to read some PDF ebooks on a netbook. A problem is that Foxit (like most PDF readers) can't handle rotated mode well.

My netbook is lightweight enough to be held and read on the side, like a regular book. It is more comfortable than it may sound. And the rotated screen better fits the pdf files format. But Foxit (even in rotated mode) still expects scrolling to occur up/down (which when rotating the laptop means left/right).

What Foxit (or some other PDF software) should do:
1. when user selects rotate mode, ROTATE THE ENTIRE PROGRAM WINDOW.
2. when in rotated mode, add options for trimming white borders or at least some user configurable zoom modes (with hotkeys)

Fixing 1 & 2 would do wonders for netbook pdf ebook reading.

Going a bit off topic:
In general I'm really puzzled by the lack of large screen e-ink readers tailored for PDF reading. There is a gigantic scientific community that read loads of PDF journal articles daily. Yet most ebook readers seems aimed for personal novel reading use or for people with extreme portability requirements.

For academic purposes any ebook reading device has three competitors: printed paper, regular computer screen, physical book.

An A4 sized, wired e-ink reader weighing as much as one kilo would still win over that competition all things considered. So why aren't there a lot of those around? (or are there?) I'm new so you tell me :)

Edit: I looked into some other PDF viewer mentioned above and found tha Sumatra PDF ( http://blog.kowalczyk.info/software/sumatrapdf/index.html ) works slightly better than Foxit for rotated reading. It still has the scrolling problem. Since it is open source I'll post what I wrote above as a request there.

Edit2: I'm also aware that some Nvidia GPU's for example can rotate the entire screen (OS and all). But I don't think the embedded GPU's in standard netbooks can handle that.

msundman
02-14-2009, 07:24 AM
What Foxit (or some other PDF software) should do:
1. when user selects rotate mode, ROTATE THE ENTIRE PROGRAM WINDOW.
2. when in rotated mode, add options for trimming white borders or at least some user configurable zoom modes (with hotkeys)
No and no. The most common useage for rotating is when the document you're reading is rotated incorrectly in the first place.
1. If the user wants to rotate everything then she/he should rotate everything. If the OS or graphics card driver doesn't support rotating everything then she/he should choose one that does if this feature is wanted. I've never encountered a mobile GPU that didn't support rotating the screen.
2. Trimming/zooming is completely orthogonal to rotating. That is, whatever trimming/zooming features you have should be completely independent of whatever rotate mode(s) you have.

seuzx
02-14-2009, 07:42 AM
Ok, ok. If I specify (not change) what I meant I think we can agree :cool::

1. when user selects [an additional, optional] rotate mode, ROTATE THE ENTIRE PROGRAM WINDOW.
2. when in rotated mode [or any other mode], add options for trimming white borders or at least some user configurable zoom modes (with hotkeys)

Also note that there's a difference between wanting to rotate the entire OS and wanting to rotate the entire window of a single program within the OS. I requested the latter.

The former can be useful too sometimes though. I just found out that Irotate http://www.entechtaiwan.com/util/irotate.shtm actually works for my netbook - great. I only wish I'd found it much earlier.

pilotbob
02-14-2009, 01:21 PM
What Foxit (or some other PDF software) should do:
1. when user selects rotate mode, ROTATE THE ENTIRE PROGRAM WINDOW.
2. when in rotated mode, add options for trimming white borders or at least some user configurable zoom modes (with hotkeys)


Have you tried Digital Editions? It is really designed to consider PDFs ebooks more than Adobe Reader or Foxit may be.

BOb