Bits from Bill Pytlovany: An Alternate PDF Viewer


By Bill Pytlovany

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.


The download process was clean and simple as long as I remembered to uncheck the options to make my new search provider and home page.


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 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 this free and open source program

This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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