Bits from Bill Pytlovany: An Alternate PDF Viewer

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Luckily, I was greeted with a friendly warning from my favorite Windows Watchdog which immediately removed the unwanted toolbar.

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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!

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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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