Saturday, September 18, 2010


From time to time, I'm reminded of some stupidity on the part of some of the software designers out there (aren't we all). The text editors that are fundamentally broken, and cannot handle tabs correctly (fortunately, there are many other functional alternatives out there, that work much better). The web upload forms that time out, and have ultra strict validation, or just plain buggy all the time.

But, that's not what's really inspiring today's rant.

I'm sure most people these days know what PDF's are. If you don't, which rock have you been living under for the past decade?! Now, despite its ubiquity as a rather reliable document distribution format (vs having formatting change from computer to computer, and app to app with standard word-processor documents), it's really still a propriety format that's still by and large controlled by the large corp that owns and created it: Adobe.

It then follows, that their viewer for this format (formely Acrobat Reader, but now Adobe Reader), should be the relatively best viewer around for it (or most compatible). At least on Windows, it's practically one of the best options out there: there's also Foxit so something, but that has flashy ads and some crappiness, and then there's the option of compiling one of the Linux PDF readers for Windows (cue pain and agony grabbing all the dependencies, beating makefiles into submission, and then having a UI that lags badly). So, really, it's the only usable option.

Now, for most usages such as reading docs you've downloaded from other sources, it's perfectly fine. The problem occurs though if you try to use it to preview stuff you're working on.

For anyone who's tried to use a markup language to create documents (LaTex) or music scores (LilyPond), you'll be aware that you'll end up with a PDF that you'll want to check over to see if everything is laid out ok. Unfortunately, Adobe makes this a bit more painful than it should be.

Doing tweak-review cycles means that you HAVE to close the document first, or else NOTHING ELSE can write over the file. Then, once you've run whatever, you have to find and load it up again before you can see your tweaks, then remember to CLOSE the document AGAIN if you want to rerun. Grrr! It's so irritating running into this, as it's all too easy to forget to close or reopen.

Adobe, when will you wake up to the idea of auto-reloading when the file is changed, and also not locking the file to read it! In the meantime, their coders shall all be considered buffoons for lacking the technical competency to have implemented this many releases ago, until the day this changes.


  1. Once Foxit became to bloated I switched to SlimPDF Reader. It seems to work well in most cases:

  2. My number one is PDF-XChange Viewer. It's a freeware but it may be used commercially. I strongly recommend it because it is much more powerful than adobe. Try it.

  3. Sumatra PDF 4 windoze is a light reader (1.5 mb aprox), fast, reads cbr and cbz web comics and yeap, a really ugly yellow background interface color, that fortunately can be changed via command line.
    Just works

  4. Lawrence D’OliveiroMarch 15, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    File locking is a fundamental Windows limitation.