Where Can I Find an Alternate PDF Viewer?
Apparently Adobe isn’t making enough profits by selling Photoshop for $699. The basic Acrobat program needed to create PDF files is sold for $99 but that’s not enough either. The program to view and print PDF files appears to be free but if you’re not careful it comes with some unwanted baggage.
Adobe makes extra money every time someone downloads and installs the Google Toolbar. I usually know better but even I didn’t see the check box in my haste to download most recent Acrobat reader. Given the number of vulnerabilities that keep occurring with the Acrobat reader I always recommend folks check to to be sure they have newest version.
I’ve never been a fan of companies which keep trying to add programs to my autorun list. Adobe Download Manager installs a number of components that run in the background and regularly connect to see if I need my software updated. These includes the Adobe Speed Launcher ( read_sl.exe ), Adobe Reader and Acrobat Manager ( adobearm.exe ), AcroIEHelper Library ( AcroIEHelper.dll ) and Adobe PDF Helper ( Acroiehelpershim.dll ) and Adobe Services like GetPlus_Helper.DLL
Given all the vulnerabilities and extra software, I decided I’ve had enough with Adobe. The PDF format has gotten so popular I would still need a program to view and print PDF’s.
Classic Bad Behavior
When discussing this issue on Twitter quite a few people recommended I switch to a PDF reader called FoxIt. This program looked promising especially after I read “NO BLOAT”. They lied.
Why would they think I want to change my home page or default search? I thought it was bad enough these options were pre-checked but I never even had a choice if I wanted the Ask.com Toolbar. It was installed automatically. Sorry, but I consider this bloatware. What I wanted was a PDF viewer that’s all.
Luckily, I was greeted with a friendly warning from my favorite Windows Watchdog which immediately removed the unwanted toolbar.
That wasn’t the end of the story. FoxIt is a classic example of the bad habit of software including crap you never wanted. Before the install was complete I was encouraged to install an eBay shortcut on my Desktop!
After some more recommendations from Twitter friends, I’m currently using a program called Sumatra which is free and open source. You can download Sumatra at http://blog.kowalczyk.info/software/sumatrapdf/ The only negative thing I can say so far is I don’t really like the color yellow they use.
Do I sound bitter?
What really makes me sad is this trend has become so widespread that everyone expects and accepts it. Folks silently continue to download bloated software until their machine eventually becomes unmanageable and/or full of bugs. I’ve also been approached by Ask.com and I always reject their offer. If I had accepted their offer to include a toolbar with the free WinPatrol I could have retired this year. Apparently, most people really don’t care.