Adobe Reader X



  • Maybe not a true WTF but it was enough to make me stop and think it. I was installing the latest Adobe Reader and noticed on the "Ready to Install" screen it had this warning: "WARNING: This program is protected by copyright law and international treaties." I didn't realize that copyright violations were so rampant with their free application that they felt the need call out a warning about it. I'm also curious as to which copyright laws or even better, which international treaties this program is protected by, but of course there are no links to anything that actually support it. I'm sure it's buried in an EULA that nobody ever reads somewhere but I still find it amusing.



    [IMG]http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/9369/readercopy.png[/IMG]



  • TRWTF is installing the massive turd that Acrobat Reader is, not that I have a better option to offer.



  • You'll be happy to know I was installing it in a VM so I could see what filenames I needed to add to the network blacklist. Unfortunately because of WTFy software some of my users require admin privileges on their machines and of course every one of them installs f'n Adobe Reader. Foxit Reader is currently the turd of choice that I am forcing users to use for PDF files.



  • @PeaceFaker said:

    TRWTF is installing the massive turd that Acrobat Reader is, not that I have a better option to offer.

    There's many other PDF readers out there, of which Foxit Reader the best compromise between sanity and feature-completeness. I currently use the open-source Sumatra PDF and it appears to use a custom font smoothing which is so bad it makes text barely unreadable on some documents. On Linux, I really like KDE's Okular because it has some features I've never seen on any other PDF reader, and those features happen to be really handy.

    I've not used Adobe Reader in years.



  • Given that PDF is (IIRC, I might be wrong) a simplistic format for making printing cross-platform, why hasn't anyone just made a simple reader that doesn't have any of these (largely) useless scripting and 3D features and so on? OS X's Preview comes pretty close.



  • @derula said:

    There's many other PDF readers out there, of which Foxit Reader the best compromise between sanity and feature-completeness.
     

    Agreed. I use Foxit for Windows and for Ubuntu I use the included Evince document viewer, which works fine. At work there are several apps that utilize PDF documents that will not work unless some version of Adobe Reader is installed. Fortunately I do not have to use any of those apps. For me it was the Adobe Download Manager plugin that pushed Reader from "massive pain in the ass" to "arch enemy".


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Buffalo said:

    At work there are several apps that utilize PDF documents that will not work unless some version of Adobe Reader is installed.
    There's a very good reason for this. If you need to display PDF documents, you have five options:

    1) Adobe's ActiveX control (which is built into Reader and FREE.) This works 100% of the time, but essentially embeds a Reader UI in yours. It's strange, but it works and is full-featured.

    2) Foxit's SDK (which is non-free). This isn't even fully featured.

    3) Someone else's non-free library. Prices vary, capabilities vary, none are as good as the Foxit one.

    4) A handful of FOSS libraries. All are spectacularly difficult to use and underdocumented. Capabilities vary, and none of them are very good at all.

    5) DIY. It will be INSANELY expensive and it will suck.

     

    I was on a project that needed PDF viewing - we started with #4, gave up because of the rampant suck, and moved to #1 because it was the only thing that really made any fucking sense.



  • @nexekho said:

    Given that PDF is (IIRC, I might be wrong) a simplistic format for making printing cross-platform, why hasn't anyone just made a simple reader that doesn't have any of these (largely) useless scripting and 3D features and so on? OS X's Preview comes pretty close.

    In addition to those pesky features, Zathura comes without many others! For instance:
    • Text selection
    • Rendering pages in advance
    • Documentation (the man page doesn't count)
    • A user interface



  • @Weng said:

    1) Adobe's ActiveX control (which is built into Reader and FREE.) This works 100% of the time, but essentially embeds a Reader UI in yours. It's strange, but it works and is full-featured.

    And takes 5 hours to start, freezing Firefox for all this time if you chose the embedded thing (which is the default and tricky to reconfigure). At least that's what it was like when I stopped using it. I know that there has been a background service around now for a few versions with whose support the browser freeze issue won't happen, but in return, OS startup time will increase and it will keep its feature bloat in memory all the time. Considering how rarely I actually use it (protip: less than once per system boot), this totally kills that feature for me. So we're back at the browser freeze.

    Again, last version I used is years old, so there might be some improvement. But I had no problem with other readers during these years and, as mentioned, Okular adds some really convenient features like only showing those part of pages that actually have text in them or automatically repositioning the mouse cursor to the top or bottom of the document window when it reaches the respective other while dragging the pages to scroll.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     I'm not even talking about web apps - I'm talking about fat desktop apps. Fortunately, the ActiveX control loads in right fucking quick on the desktop (which begs the question 'why does the same control take 20 years when a web browser tries to load it?')



  • Is Adobe Reader X anything like Mega Man X?



  • @lolwtf said:

    Is Adobe Reader X anything like Mega Man X?
    Sort of... One is about attempts at futuristic technology gone bad and ruining the day, and the other is a popular video game.



  • @error_NoError said:

    I didn't realize that copyright violations were so rampant with their free application that they felt the need call out a warning about it.

    Copyright is more than just protecting intellectual property from a "lost sales via torrent" point of view. Adobe Reader's source code is still protected by copyright law, and if I were to, say, reverse engineer the executable into source and then redistribute as if it's my own, then I'd be violating their copyright. Intellectual property is protected regardless of its cost or lack thereof. You'll see similar disclaimers on even free open source installers.



  • @RHuckster said:

    @error_NoError said:
    I didn't realize that copyright violations were so rampant with their free application that they felt the need call out a warning about it.

    Copyright is more than just protecting intellectual property from a "lost sales via torrent" point of view. Adobe Reader's source code is still protected by copyright law, and if I were to, say, reverse engineer the executable into source and then redistribute as if it's my own, then I'd be violating their copyright. Intellectual property is protected regardless of its cost or lack thereof. You'll see similar disclaimers on even free open source installers.

    It also allows them to mount a stronger case against (for example) a scammer copying their graphics and UI configuration and putting it in his malware PDF reader software.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    It also allows them to mount a stronger case against (for example) a scammer copying their graphics and UI configuration and putting it in his malware PDF reader software.

    Chances are those cases won't go anywhere since the malware most likely originated overseas and is virtually impossible to pursue litigation against.



  • @RHuckster said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    It also allows them to mount a stronger case against (for example) a scammer copying their graphics and UI configuration and putting it in his malware PDF reader software.

    Chances are those cases won't go anywhere since the malware most likely originated overseas and is virtually impossible to pursue litigation against.

    Chances are my homeowner's insurance will never pay out, but I still have it. And, hey, copyright protection is cheaper than homeowner's insurance: it's free.

    So there. Nyah.



  • @Weng said:

    5) DIY. It will be INSANELY expensive and it will suck.
    6) Chrome. Does a surprisingly decent job.

     

     



  •  My Adobe Reader has been zippy ever since 8. 7 was a peak of bloat. They fixed that in 8. I don't know how, and I care little.



  • @dhromed said:

    My Adobe Reader has been zippy ever since 8. 7 was a peak of bloat. They fixed that in 8. I don't know how, and I care little.



    Perhaps you got a new computer (six-core monster with 1Tb RAM) about the time 8 was out ?




  •  No, it was single core 1.8GHz  1GB.

    I'm not kidding. There was a very real speed improvement the minute I had upgraded to 8.



  • @dhromed said:

     No, it was single core 1.8GHz  1GB.

    I'm not kidding. There was a very real speed improvement the minute I had upgraded to 8.

    I concur. I didn't use it between about version 7 and version 10, but when I installed 10 I was shocked at how lean and fast it was. It's still buggy as shit, and full of security holes, but at least it's not bloated.



  • @RHuckster said:

    Copyright is more than just protecting intellectual property from a "lost sales via torrent" point of view. Adobe Reader's source code is still protected by copyright law, and if I were to, say, reverse engineer the executable into source and then redistribute as if it's my own, then I'd be violating their copyright. Intellectual property is protected regardless of its cost or lack thereof. You'll see similar disclaimers on even free open source installers.

    Yeah I know, it's just that usually that kind of stuff is tucked away in an EULA and you don't usually see it called out explicitly in the install directory selection screen of the installer. Open source programs usually have very specific licenses that they reference. This one just makes a pretty vague statement about being protected by something, somewhere, just in case you were totally unaware.

    @blakeyrat said:

    I concur. I didn't use it between about version 7 and version 10, but when I installed 10 I was shocked at how lean and fast it was. It's still buggy as shit, and full of security holes, but at least it's not bloated.

    Originally I switched and offered alternatives to Adobe Reader on my network because of the speed. But I've recently started forcing the switch and blacklisting Adobe altogether because of the rampant exploits. The PDF reader itself is not bad but the inclusion of JavaScript and Flash support within PDF documents just opened up a whole can of worms that Adobe can't seem to keep under control. They just announced a new vulnerability that affected Flash but because Reader supports embedding Flash, it is also affected.

    What really sucks is in the corporate world there are still times where Adobe Reader is required. Last I checked Foxit didn't support Digital Signatures and some government and large corporations *insist* on forcing the use of JavaScript in their PDFs. I even ran into one a while ago that specifically checked to see if it was being opened in Adobe Reader and refused to open in anything else.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @barfoo said:

    @Weng said:

    5) DIY. It will be INSANELY expensive and it will suck.
    6) Chrome. Does a surprisingly decent job.

    And I can embed Chrome in my desktop application... How?


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @barfoo said:

    @Weng said:

    5) DIY. It will be INSANELY expensive and it will suck.
    6) Chrome. Does a surprisingly decent job.

     

     

    All Chrome does is tie into Google Documents, so it's 3) all over again.



  •  The copyright gives them a legal recourse if, say, Paula Bean started selling Reader for $20 a download on her website.



  • @error_NoError said:

    The PDF reader itself is not bad but the inclusion of JavaScript and Flash support within PDF documents just opened up a whole can of worms that Adobe can't seem to keep under control. They just announced a new vulnerability that affected Flash but because Reader supports embedding Flash, it is also affected.
    The problem is Acrobat Pro, Adobe's expensive software for creating PDFs.  In order to keep selling more copies they have to keep introducing new "features".  Then Acrobat Reader has to be updated so that it can read those PDF files.  Adobe can't keep the can of worms under control because they've made it
    so insanely complicated that it's impossible to forsee all of the attack
    vectors they've created, due to a combination of bugs (which will always exist in all software) combined with the gazillion different ways to combine all those different "features".

    There was a story last year about being able to execute commands from within Acrobat just like you can from a command line.  And it's by deliberate design -- it's a "feature" not a bug. That's insane.



  • Speaking of PDF viewers, I prefer PDF-Xchange. Starts slightly slower than Foxit, but it's page rendering is much faster (Foxit's really bad at that for some reason - it's even slower than Adobe). PDFXC's has too many toolbars enabled by default, but they're easily closed, and I really like how it remembers the last position in PDF files you viewed.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    There was a story last year about being able to execute commands from within Acrobat just like you can from a command line.  And it's by deliberate design -- it's a "feature" not a bug. That's insane.

    That story was the last straw for me and what prompted me to blacklist Acrobat and force the use of Foxit.



  • @derula said:

    @PeaceFaker said:
    TRWTF is installing the massive turd that Acrobat Reader is, not that I have a better option to offer.

    There's many other PDF readers out there, of which Foxit Reader the best compromise between sanity and feature-completeness. I currently use the open-source Sumatra PDF and it appears to use a custom font smoothing which is so bad it makes text barely unreadable on some documents. On Linux, I really like KDE's Okular because it has some features I've never seen on any other PDF reader, and those features happen to be really handy.

    I've not used Adobe Reader in years.

    Yeah, Okular has been the weapon of choice for me, going as far as using KDE on Windows where I have the possibility. Foxit was alright, but installing it gave me the same dirty feeling as Daemon tools, too many checkboxes to uncheck for toolbars and what not. Worth noting is that there are many more useful tools that you get as a bonus with KDE on Windows.


    Also I did not know that Acrobat Reader got less bloated, so that is how uninformed I am. Have not used it since they decided to implement every feature imaginable and bundle browser toolbars.



  • @nexekho said:

    Given that PDF is (IIRC, I might be wrong) a simplistic format for making printing cross-platform …

    It's not.



  • I always assumed (that as it's quite often used to portably print something - you can get drivers that allow you to print direct to PDF files even!) it stood for Postscript Document Format, just looked into it, it's Portable Document Format... daww.



  • Speaking of things wanting Adobe Reader .. here's one for the Chrome crowd:

    [img]http://img863.imageshack.us/img863/7742/chromepdfwtf.png[/img]


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @nexekho said:

    I always assumed (that as it's quite often used to portably print something - you can get drivers that allow you to print direct to PDF files even!) it stood for Postscript Document Format, just looked into it, it's Portable Document Format... daww.
    I'm pretty sure PDF does support embedded PostScript. 



  • @Buffalo said:

    @derula said:

    There's many other PDF readers out there, of which Foxit Reader the best compromise between sanity and feature-completeness.
     

    Agreed. I use Foxit for Windows and for Ubuntu I use the included Evince document viewer, which works fine. At work there are several apps that utilize PDF documents that will not work unless some version of Adobe Reader is installed. Fortunately I do not have to use any of those apps. For me it was the Adobe Download Manager plugin that pushed Reader from "massive pain in the ass" to "arch enemy".

    Tip: Instead of http://get.adobe.com/reader/, go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/enterprise/ - it gives you the honest to god MSI installation, no download manager needed.

    I got that URL when I went ballistic at Adobe via their feedback form, and someone replied to me with basically just that. No idea why there is absolutely no way to find that URL via the website...



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @nexekho said:
    Given that PDF is (IIRC, I might be wrong) a simplistic format for making printing cross-platform …

    It's not.

    Not now.  But that was the original concept.  No matter what application was used to create a document you could save it as a PDF and anyone could view it or print it without needing the application that originally created it.  Sadly, it has devolved into a horrendous mess.  "Problematic Document Format" is now the best description.

     



  • @Kyanar said:

    Tip: Instead of http://get.adobe.com/reader/, go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/enterprise/ - it gives you the honest to god MSI installation, no download manager needed.
    I tried that URL and got an .exe file --  not an .msi



  • @Weng said:

    @nexekho said:

    I always assumed (that as it's quite often used to portably print something - you can get drivers that allow you to print direct to PDF files even!) it stood for Postscript Document Format, just looked into it, it's Portable Document Format... daww.
    I'm pretty sure PDF does support embedded PostScript. 

     

    PDF was originally a self-contained compressed simplified PostScript file. Wikipedia suggests that it still doesn't contain the PS flow control and some other PS features.



  •  Thinking of PDF on mobile devices, I installed Adobe Reader and its the biggest pile or turd I've ever used. I now use something called "ThinkFree Office" which was pre-installed on my phone and it does a much better job and is a LOT faster at startup and rendering pages. 


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @El_Heffe said:

    @Kyanar said:
    Tip: Instead of http://get.adobe.com/reader/, go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/enterprise/ - it gives you the honest to god MSI installation, no download manager needed.
    I tried that URL and got an .exe file --  not an .msi
    ftp.adobe.com - it's somewhere in there.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    [quote user="Kyanar"]Tip: Instead of http://get.adobe.com/reader/, go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/enterprise/ - it gives you the honest to god MSI installation, no download manager needed.

    I tried that URL and got an .exe file --  not an .msi

    [/quote]

    Ah, but that .exe file was the full 80MB shebang, was it not?



  • Of course, TRWTF is that it wants to install to the "Reader 10.0" folder when it's actually Reader 10.0.1.


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