Users of proprietary operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac OS use this program to view files stored in PDFs, or Portable Document Format files. Users of Unix-like operating systems, free or proprietary, usually use programs such as xpdf or GhostScript to view PDFs; however, these programs cannot always handle the full range of PDF features. Raph Levien is working hard on adding full PDF 1.4 support to Aladdin GhostScript; versions of same are released after a delay as GNU GhostScript, licensed under the GNU GPL. I tried a beta of Acrobat Reader for Linux some time ago; it ate 180 megabytes of core before I decided that enough was enough, and sent it a polite SIGKILL.

A non-beta Acrobat Reader is indeed available for Linux and several Unixes for download. The following platforms are supported:

The reader uses Motif for the GUI. The Unix version seems to be able to read the latest PDF format fine, although that statement might not hold true.

The Unix versions, at least on Linux, come with two plugins:

  • Acrobat Weblink
  • Acrobat Forms Fill-in

Unfortunately there does not seem to be a Unix/Linux Reader with the option to search PDF files.

The Reader has one cute little feature where if only one window is open, with a PDF document, clicking on the kill-window button on your favorite window manager, will close the PDF document, instead of killing the program. A second click will then shut down the program.

If the user comes across PDF documents regularly, it might be wise to install Adobe's own Reader as backup to Ghostscript and Xpdf.

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