PDF Reader

on Tuesday, 22 May 2007
Goodbye Adobe Acrobat Reader..... and a wonderful good riddance. What have I got against that oh-so-pervasive PDF reader software? I installed Adobe Reader 8. The following is a rant.

Huh? Why? Two words: It sucks. Why does it suck? Well, first off, Reader 7 adds something called the "Adobe Speed Launch" into your Windows startup folder. Reader 8 does that too in addition to also add something called "Adobe Reader Synchronizer". What does that do? It's supposed to synchronised shared documents or collaborative documents... uh... right... but I only use Reader to read PDF files, I don't care about these features. And I'm not alone seeing all the comments in this blog post.

For those of you who didn't even realise that Reader has "Adobe Speed Launch", here's a primer: It pre-loads part of Reader into your memory... regardless of whether you'd actually use Reader or not. As such, it hogs memory that it doesn't use and slows down Windows startup. What's worse is that the so-called "speed launch" gives an almost negligible improvement given the processing capabilities of even an "average" computer these days.

If Adobe really thinks that these are useful, it should be an option. How hard is it to make a little checkbox on the installer to ask whether people want to use it or not? A forceful approach is almost always a bad idea.

Do you know what's even worse about Reader 8? For some reason, it's check-for-update keeps creating weird directory names like "Updater5" on my hard disk. I was worried that my computer got infected by some kind of trojan or virus because I recently reinstalled it and was slow in getting an anti-virus software in place. Luckily for me, another commentor in the above blog post link confirmed that it Reader 8's problem. I'm beginning to think that strange slowdowns and unresponsiveness on my PC might be Reader 8-related... only one way to find out.... uninstall it!

End rant.

How am I gonna read PDF files? Well, I found Foxit Reader. It's afree PDF reader from another PDF software company. According to this and this, it sounded too good to be true, so I just downloaded it, installed it, and whoa! Finally! A PDF reader that does just what I want it to do: read PDF files!

The latest version 2.0 is only 1.67 MB, compared to the 21 MB Reader 8 installer. It installs easily and very quickly. It doesn't have a tonne of so-called features that I almost will never ever use. The interface is simple. And most importantly, it opens all the PDF files I tested on (from tiny to huge) very very quickly. I should have looked for PDF reader alternatives even before Reader 7.