Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Adobe Acrobat Reader Sucks

I'm sorry. I just have to come out and say it. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a crummy piece of software. Now don't get me wrong: PDFs are a good idea--I'm very happy that we have a cross-platform way to specify exactly what a document should look like. And Adobe's professional PDF making tools are, in all probability, the bee's knees and the cat's pajamas and all that. But Acrobat Reader isn't. It's a bloated piece of software, with millions of features that absolutely no one uses. It takes 30 seconds to load in a tab in Firefox, and, while it's loading, I kick myself for being so dumb as to click on yet another PDF link, and frantically yet unsuccessfully try to abort loading the program. Part of the reason that Acrobat Reader takes so long to load is that, whenever I start it, it has to phone home to Adobe, and then, just when I've started reading the document that took 30 seconds to load, it tells me how important it is that I update from version 7.0 to 7.0.1, and install the Yahoo!® Toolbar® and some kind of trial of Photoshop®. Every. Single. Time. I. View. A. PDF. I don't want to waste my time downloading the 30 megabyte new and improved version (how many of those bytes are '®'?) when the old one is viewing a PDF perfectly fine, and all I wanted to do in the first place was read the stupid document.

Enter Foxit Software's Foxit Reader.

A two megabyte download (compared to a whopping 30.7 MB for Acrobat Reader, including the Photoshop trial that comes with it by default), Foxit Reader is an alternative PDF viewer which has, so far, perfectly handled any PDF I've thrown at it. It loads in about a second, and, while it doesn't integrate into Fifefox tabs, it does one essential thing that Adobe Acrobat Reader does not do: it gets out of your dang way and lets you actually read documents.

You can get the miraculous Foxit Reader here. You'll thank me later.

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