Adobe Acrobat Sucks



  • I'm sorry that this has to be said, I bought a new laptop and it had the current version of Acrobat Reader - version 7.0 - installed on it.  I read a lot of pdfs for work and such, but it's been a long time since I had to install a new version of Acrobat so I had no idea how bad it had gotten.

    1.It takes several seconds to load, during which time you stare at a splash page and watch “things it's loading” flash by.  By showing you “things it's loading” it makes you think it's doing something really important, and thus worth the wait, but I promise you, it's not.  More on this later.

    2.Every second or third time I started it, it would pop up a huge dialog box begging me to upgrade.

    3. It has some process that it put in the registry to load every time windows starts.

    Fortunately, I still have a copy of Acrobat Reader version 4.05 laying around.  I was able to uninstall the abomination that was 7.0 and install 4.  What joy.  Let me tell you how a PDF reader should work.

    1.It loads instantly.  To give you an idea of what “instantly” means, imagine a text document. You click on it and notepad opens instantly.  Well guess what, now my PDF reader does the same thing. This all begs the question: what was all that extra stuff that version 7.0 loads?  I have yet to see a PDF that version 4.0 did not render correctly.  Even PDFs with advanced features like editable text boxes and password protection open up just fine in version 4.0.  In case you didn't know, Adobe does not own the PDF format.  It is an open standard.  To my knowledge, that standard is pretty-well set in stone by now.  So once you have a piece of software that reads the standard, what can you possibly add to it to take you from version 4 to version 7?  I can't think of anything.  For all I know, Acrobat version 7 calculates a few hundred digits of pi while loading.  It certainly doesn't have a legitimate reason to take that long.

    2.Version 4 NEVER bugs me to register.  It's a reader.  I click a PDF document.  I read the PDF document.  It really doesn't need to get any more complicated than that.  I'm aware that if I want to create PDFs I need to buy something (or use ps2pdf on the nearest linux box).

    3.There is nothing permanently in the registry.  Why would there be?

    So anyway, seeing the contrast between old and new version just kind of erked me a little.  I would actually kind of like to know what the heck Adobe is thinking.




  • The always-running program is a preloader that keeps the program in memory for faster loading.

    The main Mozilla suite (not Firefox) did this at one point.  It was pretty huge/slow; worse than IE by far wrt speed

    I recommend Foxit Reader (freeware).  It's a bit more up to date than Acrobat 4.0.



  • Yes, it sucks, but you can fix it.

    1. http://blogs.msdn.com/jonathanh/archive/2004/12/22/330288.aspx

    2. Edit->Preferences, Updates.

    3. See 1.

    Of course there really isn't any good reason to upgrade to version 7.  It looks slicker, but aside from that all of the new functionality is "feature creap".  I mean seriously: 3d animations, multimedia, and JavaScript in PDFs?  All we need now is the ability to send and receive email and something involving XML.  WTF FTW ... YES!



  • If you get rid of a heap of the plugins in the plug_ins
    directory.  Can't remember exactly which ones you can do without
    (google is your friend), but only about 4 of them are actually needed
    to run.



    Sorry i can't help more.



  • @Rodyland said:

    If you get rid of a heap of the plugins in the plug_ins
    directory.  Can't remember exactly which ones you can do without
    (google is your friend), but only about 4 of them are actually needed
    to run.


    If you think about it, that doesn't even make sense. They're called "plugins" not "core components". By right you should be able to remove them all and have it load fine. I really don't care if I lose animating Javascript features. I only use the text search feature on one PDF in twenty or something.

    It's complete feature creep and, as the OP hinted, an attempt to turn a commodity item into a brand by adding meaningless "value".



  • Like <FONT color=#555555>n89j</FONT> said:
    Get FoxIt reader.

    Fast & free.
    Around 4MB. No installation. No registry keys. One exe.
    Can't get better.



  • I totally hear ya man, I had the same crap happen to me at work where they gave me a brand new computer with this awful Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 installed. Prompts for purchasing the full version? Yep. Occaisional notices for updates to my software? Yep. Incredibly long load time with a pretty splash screen to help me pass the time? Oh yeah.

    How exactly does the auto-loader program added to the registry make anything faster. You mean it's actually possible to be SLOWER than this?! That's just awesome. Unfortunately we don't have an old version of Acrobat sitting around, so I'm going to look into one of the other options you guys posted here. THANK YOU!



  • foxit sure is the way to go.I've used it for over half a year I guess and i haven't had any issues with it (except with one pdf, but acrobat couldn't open it either)



  • @Manni said:

    Incredibly long load time with a pretty splash screen to help me pass the time?


    I really REALLY hate it when software gives me an always on top spash screen.

    Splash screens are stupid distractions to hide the fact that the app's startup time sucks, and if you must use them, it makes sense to open them as modal, but... why the hell do a handful of programs on my computer make their splash screens ALWAYS ON TOP?! In effect, they're saying "I'm the most important thing on your computer right now, and you must stare at this and do nothing else while I initialize a bunch of crapware modules." How rude!

    Anyone got a generic after the fact hack to fix this for any app?



  • Today's grocery list:

    - Foxit



  • @Brendan Kidwell said:

    @Manni said:
    Incredibly long load
    time with a pretty splash screen to help me pass the time?


    I really REALLY hate it when software gives me an always on top spash screen.

    Splash
    screens are stupid distractions to hide the fact that the app's startup
    time sucks, and if you must use them, it makes sense to open them as
    modal, but... why the hell do a handful of programs on my computer make
    their splash screens ALWAYS ON TOP?! In effect, they're saying "I'm the
    most important thing on your computer right now, and you must stare at
    this and do nothing else while I initialize a bunch of crapware
    modules." How rude!

    Anyone got a generic after the fact hack to fix this for any app?





    That problem is even more pertinent with Adobe Reader.  It took me
    many system builds before I finally figured out why Reader would freeze
    on a new system when opening a PDF, especially in a web browser. 
    Ends up the modal dialog with the license agreement is under the non-modal splash screen!  And I've yet to see this fixed since at least 6.0.  Geez, good work guys.



  • I almost forgot, let's not leave out the FEAD Optimizer used with the
    downloadable installer.  After downloading a plugin to get the
    install package, it runs another program to decompress itself into an
    installer executable, which then decompresses itself into the actual
    program?  I didn't know the extra compression helped.  And to
    think it only takes 2-10 minutes to decompress!  It only took me
    about 30 seconds to download it...



  • @RevEng said:

    It took me
    many system builds before I finally figured out why Reader would freeze
    on a new system when opening a PDF, especially in a web browser. 
    Ends up the modal dialog with the license agreement is under the non-modal splash screen!  And I've yet to see this fixed since at least 6.0.  Geez, good work guys.


    Yes!  I've seen this problem!!  WTF??

    The people that allow this crap to occur are idiots.



  • I noticed a similar problem since I ran something like 5.04 for several years before doing an "up"grade.  5.04 seemed fine, fast, slim, easy to use.  7 takes for freaking ever.



  • Yes, Acrobat Reader 5 was the last good version.  Everything added
    after that was just ways to make money off the reader.  (A Yahoo
    toolbar?  WTF?)



    Much like word processors, Acrobat Reader has nothing left to
    add.  Maybe the Acrobat Reader project manager is worried about
    losing his job.



  • @tofu said:

    In case you didn't know, Adobe does not own the PDF format.  It is an open standard.  To my knowledge, that standard is pretty-well set in stone by now.

    Totally and utterly wrong.  PDF is a proprietary format that is entirely, 100% owned and controlled by Adobe; it is "open" in the sense that Adobe have chosen to make the specification available to the public on a royalty-free basis.

    Certain subsets of Adobe's PDF format have been standardised officially by the ISO, and those are true standards and pretty much set in stone.  The full format, however, remains in Adobe's control.  The only reason they don't totally break backwards compatibility is that they aren't stupid.



  • GSview+Ghostscript does a fairly good job with PDFs, although the message box asking the user to "register" will no doubt annoy some.



  • @Iago said:


    Totally and utterly wrong.  PDF is a proprietary format that is entirely, 100% owned and controlled by Adobe;


    yep.  you're right.  not sure where i got my wires crossed on that one.  maybe I'm thinking of postscript?



  • Wrote this some time ago:

    @RobIII said:

    @Anonymous said:


    I love HP printers...... but I hate all of their software.  The only way I'll buy an HP printer is if it is old enough that Microsoft made a driver for it.  I've seen HP drivers do some wacky stuff.  It's also a rarity that they give you a driver in a standard .inf format the can be slipstreamed into an install.  Installing drivers from a print server also often has issues.  Every other printer brand I've used has not been like this.  I just bought a Brother laser printer a few weeks ago.  I brought it home fearing the worst.... that I'd see some ultra flakey installation that only supports XP Home or some other nonsense.  What I got was a 1MB driver that installs with the "Have Disk" button of the standard Add Printer Wizard.  Not bad for a $200 duplexing 30ppm laser printer.

    I love HP too. I only use HP printers in favor of Epson, Brother or other printers. Why? Because (IMHO) their hardware is superior. What really sucks though is that they supply printer drivers on CD from 45Mb up to 450Mb (I've seen them, really!). All I can do in such a situation is scratch my head and wonder...

    It seems to be a trend though. Frikkin' soundcard drivers are over 30Mb offering me all kinds of "handy" stuff to position 81 speakers I don't have (I just want Windows to be able to play some MP3's and the default bling/bloing/plop sounds when something's going on). Network cards offer me 171 tools to monitor the status of my network and all the bits going in and out of my card (I just want my network card to talk to my server and gateways and just send/receive/pass the packets when it's asked to). Video cards offer 16 handy tray utilities to switch my resolution in one click and rotate my screen. Usually I set up my screen and that's the way it'll stay for the next 5 years. Why would I need a resident tray utility eating all kinds of resources doing NOTHING at all? I never use them. But I do need to download their 65Mb driver. I'm not saying this could be handy to other users, I'm sure it will be. But for Gods sake let me choose what to install and use. All I want is Windows to display a bunch of pixels, preferrably in 24/32 bit. That's it. Same for (Logitech) mouse-drivers. All I want is my mouse-wheel to "double-click" when I press it. That's all. I shouldn't be needing a 5Mb download for that, do I?

    Now I need to plunge into regedit and remove all kinds of startup-crap I don't want (yes I know about MSConfig and other tools).

    What's even worse though is this: If they would've "zipped" all the files I could live with it. I would just pick the ones I needed (driver-only, no crap) and let Windows figure it out. But NOOOO, they need to pack it all into one setup.exe which was built from a custom-setup builder (no .msi, not extractable in any way) wich extracts the "encrypted/packed" files and just kicks them around my system from system32 to windows to program files to common files etc. And if you're not careful it will double your registry size with it's entries and also modify the (non-existing) autoexec.bat, windows.ini and config.sys files "for you" so you don't need to do it yourself.

    I've had it with these solutions which can't be deployed via a GPO or some other way without me having to go running to each system tweaking all sorts of business to make them just do what I want them to do, nothing more, nothing less.

    Hmmm, ranting anyways so here's another one:

    Why the hell does "Acrobat Reader" need to "optimize the data" before extracting all kinds of stuff before launching a custom installer which runs an .msi file? Why does "Acrobat Reader" (being a simple text-viewer to me) need to load 15 minutes before it starts? Why does "Acrobat Reader" need a "quickstart" application, running in the background eating resources (again), just to start "quicker" (NOT!). Why does "Acrobat Reader" need to load 450 frikkin' plugins before showing me a simple 8kb pdf file? And much of the same for "Quicktime". Why does it need to look for an update on each restart of my system (QuickTime Task)? Why does "Quicktime" change ALL of my preferences (MP3 player, AVI player, MPG player (even in my browser)) to itself? Why not leave it alone (when I tell it to leave it alone during setup, because it DOESN'T). Why do I need a "SunJavaUpdateSched" application checking for java updates every few minutes? When I want to update java I'll do it myself, I don't need another resource hungry application checking for me. And why in the world won't the go away when I tell them to (by removing them from my registry run-key, only to appear back again after reboot).

    Annoyances, annoyances.

    If only I wrote all the software in the world... what a beautiful place it would be *daydreaming*....

    Sincerely,

    Not Gene.



  • @tofu said:


    I'm aware that if I want to create PDFs I need to buy something (or use ps2pdf on the nearest linux box).


    Or just install OpenOffice. IMO it does a better job than ps2pdf, and it's cross-platform too.



  • @felix said:

    @tofu said:

    I'm aware that if I want to create PDFs I need to buy something (or use ps2pdf on the nearest linux box).

    Or just install OpenOffice. IMO it does a better job than ps2pdf, and it's cross-platform too.

    Or just install CutePDF Writer - it shows up as a printer that you can use to "print" to a PDF from Word or any other program.



  • Oh, and ps2pdf is also available on Windows (Ghostscript), because CutePDF requires it...



  • @GalacticCowboy said:

    Oh, and ps2pdf is also available on Windows (Ghostscript), because CutePDF requires it...


    That's true, actually. There are several such "virtual printers" for Windows, most of them, if not all, based on ghostscript. For some reason, I couldn't get one to work on my machine, so I tend to forget they exist. And I still don't like the output from ps2pdf.



  • @felix said:

    @tofu said:

    I'm aware that if I want to create PDFs I need to buy something (or use ps2pdf on the nearest linux box).


    Or just install OpenOffice. IMO it does a better job than ps2pdf, and it's cross-platform too.


    omg!  I had never noticed that option in oo  thanks for the tip.



  • @RobIII said:

    @Anonymous said:


    I love HP printers...... but I hate all of their software.  The only way I'll buy an HP printer is if it is old enough that Microsoft made a driver for it.  I've seen HP drivers do some wacky stuff.  It's also a rarity that they give you a driver in a standard .inf format the can be slipstreamed into an install.  Installing drivers from a print server also often has issues.  Every other printer brand I've used has not been like this.  I just bought a Brother laser printer a few weeks ago.  I brought it home fearing the worst.... that I'd see some ultra flakey installation that only supports XP Home or some other nonsense.  What I got was a 1MB driver that installs with the "Have Disk" button of the standard Add Printer Wizard.  Not bad for a $200 duplexing 30ppm laser printer.

    I love HP too. I only use HP printers in favor of Epson, Brother or other printers. Why? Because (IMHO) their hardware is superior. What really sucks though is that they supply printer drivers on CD from 45Mb up to 450Mb (I've seen them, really!). All I can do in such a situation is scratch my head and wonder...

    It seems to be a trend though. Frikkin' soundcard drivers are over 30Mb offering me all kinds of "handy" stuff to position 81 speakers I don't have (I just want Windows to be able to play some MP3's and the default bling/bloing/plop sounds when something's going on). Network cards offer me 171 tools to monitor the status of my network and all the bits going in and out of my card (I just want my network card to talk to my server and gateways and just send/receive/pass the packets when it's asked to). Video cards offer 16 handy tray utilities to switch my resolution in one click and rotate my screen. Usually I set up my screen and that's the way it'll stay for the next 5 years. Why would I need a resident tray utility eating all kinds of resources doing NOTHING at all? I never use them. But I do need to download their 65Mb driver. I'm not saying this could be handy to other users, I'm sure it will be. But for Gods sake let me choose what to install and use. All I want is Windows to display a bunch of pixels, preferrably in 24/32 bit. That's it. Same for (Logitech) mouse-drivers. All I want is my mouse-wheel to "double-click" when I press it. That's all. I shouldn't be needing a 5Mb download for that, do I?

    Now I need to plunge into regedit and remove all kinds of startup-crap I don't want (yes I know about MSConfig and other tools).


    This is a little offtopic but I thoroughly and wholeheartedly agree.  HP makes good hardware but their drivers are some of the most monstrous, bloated garbage around.  I once went looking for a driver for an HP flatbed scanner.  It was 99 (that's ninety-nine) megabytes!

    SoundBlaster is well known for having bloated drivers, though not nearly as bad as HP's.  And yes, video card drivers have gone way overboard with ludicrous flashy tray utilities and special control panels.

    The presence of just two of these monsters is enough to make a Windows login a five-minute event.  Do any hardware review sites have a rating category for the quality of the drivers?



  • @RevEng said:

    I almost forgot, let's not leave out the FEAD Optimizer used with the
    downloadable installer.  After downloading a plugin to get the
    install package, it runs another program to decompress itself into an
    installer executable, which then decompresses itself into the actual
    program?  I didn't know the extra compression helped.  And to
    think it only takes 2-10 minutes to decompress!  It only took me
    about 30 seconds to download it...



  • Grr... the WTForum ate my post, lets see if it works this time...

    @RevEng said:

    I almost forgot, let's not leave out the FEAD Optimizer used with the
    downloadable installer.  After downloading a plugin to get the
    install package, it runs another program to decompress itself into an
    installer executable, which then decompresses itself into the actual
    program?  I didn't know the extra compression helped.  And to
    think it only takes 2-10 minutes to decompress!  It only took me
    about 30 seconds to download it...

    I also have a deep burning hatered for FEAD, not because its slow, but because it assumes you have a C: drive on your system (two of mine do not due some freak occurances while installing Windows on them).  I eventually resorted to assiging C: to a USB flash drive in order to get Acrobat Reader to install.  I couldn't find any way to override the hard-coded temp directory of C:\Temp (you'd think they'd just use the %TEMP% environmental variable, but that would be too smart).

    Also, the printer drivers off HP's website use FEAD as well.  For my model (Photosmart 2610) the driver package also ended up extracting to over 1 gig so my USB flash drive was too small for that.  It took a lot of Googling but I found a virtual drive program that will mount drive images as drives so I made a 1.5 gig image that that worked.  In the end  I did eventually ended up having to dig out my driver CD and using the drivers off that because the one's off HP's website wouldn't work, even though they are the same version as the ones on the CD.

    P.S.:  Anyone thinking of purchaing a Photosmart 2610 for its built-in ethernet port: DON'T.  It's a decent printer but it refuses to print half the time or just stops in the middle of print jobs (and not necessarily large ones either:  sometimes printing something as simple as a text document with a graphic will cause it to stop.)



  • What always annoys me about recent versions of Acrobat (previously
    mentioned startup times, feature bloat and deadlock when updates are
    'required' notwithstanding) is the advertising banners in the toolbox,
    inviting you to upgrade to Acrobat Professional. These wouldn't be so
    bad, except that when they change colour it triggers my peripheral
    vision and distracts me from reading.



    I've yet to understand a reason why I might want to purchase Acrobat, I
    have no shortage of free utilities to create any PDF I could ever want.
    It would be like paying for a text editor. WTF?



  • @Mark said:

    What always annoys me about recent versions of Acrobat (previously mentioned startup times, feature bloat and deadlock when updates are 'required' notwithstanding) is the advertising banners in the toolbox, inviting you to upgrade to Acrobat Professional. These wouldn't be so bad, except that when they change colour it triggers my peripheral vision and distracts me from reading.

    I've yet to understand a reason why I might want to purchase Acrobat, I have no shortage of free utilities to create any PDF I could ever want. It would be like paying for a text editor. WTF?

    <FONT face=Arial size=2>To remove advertisements in the top right hand corner, enter the following registry key:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\7.0\FeatureLockdown]
    "bShowAdsAllow"=dword:00000000</FONT>

    If I remember correctly you can disable it in your preferences somewhere too...



  • @RobIII said:

    @Mark said:

    What always annoys me about
    recent versions of Acrobat (previously mentioned startup times, feature
    bloat and deadlock when updates are 'required' notwithstanding) is the
    advertising banners in the toolbox, inviting you to upgrade to Acrobat
    Professional. These wouldn't be so bad, except that when they change
    colour it triggers my peripheral vision and distracts me from reading.

    I've
    yet to understand a reason why I might want to purchase Acrobat, I have
    no shortage of free utilities to create any PDF I could ever want. It
    would be like paying for a text editor. WTF?

    <font face="Arial" size="2">To remove advertisements in the top right hand corner, enter the following registry key:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\7.0\FeatureLockdown]
    "bShowAdsAllow"=dword:00000000</font>

    If I remember correctly you can disable it in your preferences somewhere too...



    Oooh, thank ye!


  • I've been acrobat-free for some time now, although I use pdfs extensively. 

    OSX's Preview.app will open pretty much all pdfs (a notable exception being those from pdfs from the EU online patent service, which are ahem patently broken[1]).  And OSX prints to pdf natively, and LaTeX outputs pdf as well as postscript.

    </smug_mac_user>


    Honestly I pray to never have to use Adobe's crapware again.


    Simon

    [1] Not actually an issue, I wrote a nifty little perl script that pulls down patents from their website and fixes / concatenates the pdfs into one, standards-compliant, file.



  • @ender said:

    Doesn't SUBST command work (SUBST C: X:\Directory should make X:\Directory appear as C: to programs)
      Thanks for the tip, I didn't know about that command before (and it will save me a lot of work if I ever run into another program like this again).


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.