What's going on with PDF Readers?

vbimport

#1

I long ago abandoned the huge Adobe Reader in favor of the then trim FoxIt PDF Reader. But FoxIt has been adding weight and almost doubling its size (current version 6.03 is 28.33Mb, compared to 5.45 at 15Mb; and version 5.01 was 11Mb).

Other PDF readers are showing bloat-gains, too, yet none of my PDFs have any needs for ‘additional services’. None of them are filled with flashy spinning doodads and HOPEFULLY NOT links into adware scams.

What’s with PDF reader bloating? What new services does a PDF now require to simply display?

Hooks into more bloated web browsers? Some need to multi-thread a PD viewing experience (“Oh, I can’t possibly read Page 1 on the same Core as I read Page 8!! I must consume more threads and cores!!”).

I mean, what IS going on with PDF reader bloats?

It looks like I’ll drop all the dedicated PDF readers and simply accept my browser’s version, despite it’s rookie-esque warnings that “the PDF might not display properly”.

Is anyone seeing huge new advances in the PDF format itself?


#2

I’m fairly sure most of the bloat is toolbars and other adware in them. For example, the PDF reader I use is PDF-Xchange. The installer version is 16MB, while the portable version is just 8MB. The main difference besides the setup process is that the setup version tries installing the Ask Toolbar during installation, while the portable version is ready to use, so there’s no setup process to try installing any browser add-ons.

If you think 28MB is big, you haven’t seen how ridiculous Skydrive Pro is:

Skydrive Pro is the business version of Skydrive and basically works similar to Dropbox.



#3

I can almost understand SkyDrive’s bloated nature because I know there’s tons of error correcting comm routines in it, encryption, etc. A lot of sync’ing occurs but, c’mon - 250Mb worth?!!

As for PDF readers, I found a modern PC without any dedicated PDF reader, so I put on the Adobe Reader 5 (which is about 2Mb) and it ran fine other than Win7 whining and complaining about the start-up. But every PDF I accessed displayed quick, offered re-sizings and printings - just like the most modern stuff did.

I can’t find any ‘service’ that the new PDFs demand that only the new bloated PDF Readers offer.

I keep imagining Hexalock and DRM routines are going to be installed shortly, and this bloatware is preparing us. Grrr.


#4

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2691064]I long ago abandoned the huge Adobe Reader in favor of the then trim FoxIt PDF Reader. But FoxIt has been adding weight and almost doubling its size (current version 6.03 is 28.33Mb, compared to 5.45 at 15Mb; and version 5.01 was 11Mb).

Other PDF readers are showing bloat-gains, too, yet none of my PDFs have any needs for ‘additional services’. None of them are filled with flashy spinning doodads and HOPEFULLY NOT links into adware scams.

What’s with PDF reader bloating? What new services does a PDF now require to simply display?

Hooks into more bloated web browsers? Some need to multi-thread a PD viewing experience (“Oh, I can’t possibly read Page 1 on the same Core as I read Page 8!! I must consume more threads and cores!!”).

I mean, what IS going on with PDF reader bloats?

It looks like I’ll drop all the dedicated PDF readers and simply accept my browser’s version, despite it’s rookie-esque warnings that “the PDF might not display properly”.

Is anyone seeing huge new advances in the PDF format itself?[/QUOTE]

Not sure why you would do that to being with as I stuck with Adobe Acrobat Pro for quite some time since it came out and in days of problem stuck with it. And so far since 11 haven’t had problem including the version 11 reader. So without knowing what problems you had with the reader is pretty much hear say as what the nature of the problem was. And if you didn’t update as you should’ve for the readers then that was another problem in itself and which you should’ve let the reader auto update to prevent such problems. Updating is something one should always or have the set to auto update to prevent problems to begin with and not think just cause you got the latest that all you need to have. Updates are there for reason. I would say go back to Acrobat Reader 11.0.0.3 and try it again. As that program is the test by with all other reader are judged by.


#5

I think part of the reason is for the some of adobe’s updates have to do with security leaks, that is malware exploitation.
Then the other part of the bloating is these big software makers like to make their packages bigger and so-called better.

If you want to go to the other extreme…which is what I have done…which is to only use portable apps when possible…I bet I have a 100 right now on a spare partition or in the download folder.

Portableapps is a good place to look.
They have foxit there and that is what I use…really I don’t need pdf except for reading a manual when in that format so have no use for all the extras.

File association is easy if there isn’t an app already with the associate file, simply double click then when the OS doesn’t know how to open it, just navigate to the portable .exe app and choose it.

The only thing that doesn’t work well with this is a portable browser since MS always wants to default back to Internet Explorer…if there isn’t another fully installed browser that is already chosen.

Anyway, that’s how I do things simply because as you have already mentioned, all these programs with each new update or version is getting bigger and bigger when what I want them to be is small and efficient.

Also, if there is a setting for don’t look for updates, I always have that selected.

The other good thing about portables is they don’t take resources…don’t have to load up during startup…etc…


#6

I was advised to try Sumatra pdf reader. It is a 3.9mb download. I don’t often work with pdf files, so it does fine for me so far. This is in Windows 8 by the way.


#7

Steve and Kerry, thanks for the useful replies. I will try Sumatra, definitely, because I can’t excuse the incredible bloat of these alternatives. Steve’s discussion of the “portable versions” opens that good door, too.

I could understand some attention (fattening of a program) for security reasons, but I’m not sure I’ll ever understand how a 5Mb program needs twenty or even 50 times more code to offer security. If the data is THAT squirrly to begin with, “why bother at all?” becomes the real question.

That sounds like the original PDF data-format has become so loosey-goosey that all kinds of trash can masquerade in it (hyperlinks, the original backdoor) when most folks simply want to Read The Manual.

I know that a lot of the bloat in FoxIt has supposedly stemmed from the browser extension attempts. Since FireFox (and assume more) browsers are including some built-in PDF reader, then FoxIt probably painted itself into a corner from Day One.


#8

I would take a little more size for improve functions and security over how big is this program getting is any day. Also alot depends on what else you have running that take away memory from important task the computer needs to be running as well.


#9

I see there is a portable version of Sumatra over on portableapps as well.


#10

I love the pdf xchange reader, because it incorporates markup abilities, that can be saved into the file.

Also, for remittances, you can block out account numbers, and reprint to pdf, without bulking up the file size.


#11

It seems to me that this isn’t just a PDF issue. I believe that Windows XP has a minimum disk space requirement of 1.5 Gigs. Vista, on the other hand requires at least 10 times as much! And don’t even get me started on Nero!

If you really want small size, I think MU PDF is as small as you can get. Personally, I too would recommend Sumatra (which is based on MU, FYI). IMHO, it walks a careful balance between having good features, and having small size quite nicely. It’s also quite efficient on CPU, unlike Adobe’s software.

PS: Google Chrome’s built-in PDF renderer is quite nice on slower CPUs, too. I wonder if it uses MU technology as well.


#12

I also went the Adobe-Foxit-Sumatra route, and I’m more than satisfied with the latter. Besides pdf, it “sees” and opens epub, mobi, djvu, and a long list of other formats. It’s pure gold, they could sell it - no problem, but it’s free! I keep reccomending it to all my friends, that’s how pleased I am with it.
Peter.


#13

I’m enjoying Sumatra and Sum-Portable on some test machines. I’ll see how it bloats up over time, though, when in fact every PDF I use never does. That’s my biggest complaint about FoxIt - “Why is it blowing up 3-4-5 times it’s original size when every PDF service I need remains fixed?”

As for Nero bloat, as long as there are new video conversion routines, it’s always going to expand. But their Burn Essential products are still relatively small and relatively similar in size (Ver 5 to 10 only have a 60% gain in size - not much, relatively speaking, considering it’s simply a Burn Engine and a Menu for it).

The bigger point, though, is how my end-result services (using Office, using a DVD burner, a file-reader/viewer) change. They haven’t. Letters to Mom are STILL date, address block, Dear line, text, and a sign-off. Spreadsheets grow in Data, but not in formulas. Reading or printing a PDF remains the same - JOCR is a great little tool for ‘clipping and converting to text’, but that’s a separate product. If the PDF viewers wanted to let me highlight a section and convert it to anything, THAT would be a good expansion service.


#14

Sumatra

Known limitations

Editing interactive forms and adding comments is not implemented.

For just a reader Sumatra looks good but with the above limitations it does not work for me. i guess I will stick with Fox It for now


#15

Bean, I’m not certain I understand your usage of “interactive PDF”. Is this an on-line-only form that I fill out, on-line, and thus Page 2 or subsequent entries might be different, based on my interactive input? So, it would be like a web-page for on-line data entry? (I suppose the choice of a PDF Format Web-Page might be related to some security issue that Adobe claims superiority over any variety of Web Page programming formats.)

Or are these downloadable PDFs that can be edited, saved and returned?


#16

Local machine ( not web ) fill in forms that I use every day for work.
Fill in info print then clear.Sometimes a dozen times a day.
I have 8 forms on local machine that I use everyday.


#17

Thanks. It’s an editable PDF, not really ‘interactive’. I was going to hope to see that website because there is some chest-thumping from Adobe about their superiority of the data within an on-line interactive form (essentially, a web-page). Supposedly, the Adobe WebPage has a variety of security stamps and encryptions, much like an ‘encryption dongle’ to create a pseudo VPN type of data-link.

When I’ve come across editable PDFs that require it, FoxIt doesn’t have the edit abilities that I prefer, so I use Open/Libre Office instead where I have more control over fonts, spacings, kernings, and even table-building. Fortunately - at this point - those are still ‘barely occasional’ during any school-quarter.

I can justify PDF Edit Services to be a reasonable “bloat” in FoxIt.


#18

The forms were originally made with Acrobat 5 a long time ago.
They add , subtract and even multiple as you tab through and enter the numbers.