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Old 03-05-07, 11:15 PM   #1
mlts22 
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Why is Acrobat/PDF evil?

A friend of mine absolutely hates Adobe Acrobat (and the PDF format.) He hates it with quite a passion, but I've not pressed him for details on why.

Acrobat does have some things that are understandable which may annoy people. Its fairly big (though if you have the reader, you can pull the plugins from that respective directory to make load times faster.) Its fairly expensive for the 3D or Pro versions (although you can get most of the functionality for printing PDFs using PrimoPDF.) Its a read-only format in general (although exportable to Word and other items in 7 and 8 with some fiddling with the output.)

Call me naive, but I can't figure out why the dislike for Acrobat. I use it all the time for archiving scanned documents (its nice having vital documents scanned as PDF/a files [1] for secure storage.) I also use it for saving Web confirmations of online orders, bills paid, or eBay auctions.

I also use it to send files as attachments to people who do not have (or don't care to install) PGP, and make sure the stuff I send them doesn't get changed in transit.

I'm not saying Acrobat is a tool for all jobs (if you want an editable document format, use OOo, Word, Excel, etc.) , but for a lot of things (pretty much if you do anything with the print/prepress industry, you WILL use this format) it does its job remarkably well.

I just can't figure out why someone would consider Acrobat so bad, that they will blow a gasket if anyone merely mentions it, much less has the "A" icon on the desktop.

[1]: PDF/a is a subset of PDF intended for long-term archiving of documents. Acrobat 7 can make the files, Acrobat 8 can preflight/convert existing PDFs into PDF/a.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:33 PM   #2
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I don't like acrobat either......

So big, so slow. forces some updater/something to run in background......bah

I use foxit reader.....fast, small and unobtrusive.

Then again, it's just a computer program.........
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Old 03-05-07, 11:36 PM   #3
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I dislike Acrobat, and especially the proprietary crap they use intheir PDF documents. It makes it damn near impossible to use pdf2txt on the file and get a proper and readable file. Remember, some of us out here on the interweb still don't use graphical programs.
On a side note, why did we ever get away from using TeX and LyX?
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Old 03-05-07, 11:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj7
I dislike Acrobat, and especially the proprietary crap they use intheir PDF documents. It makes it damn near impossible to use pdf2txt on the file and get a proper and readable file. Remember, some of us out here on the interweb still don't use graphical programs.
On a side note, why did we ever get away from using TeX and LyX?
I have not seen anyone use TeX in so long. Its one of the only products I know where if anyone found a bug, the author (before he died) would personally mail them a check for money.

I should have clarified some things... There is the PDF standard, then there are Adobe's extensions (the password protection, etc.) Running on UNIX systems, its understandable to hate that, but PDF in general is a good format, especially for archiving.
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Old 03-06-07, 12:29 AM   #5
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PDF format when properly used is great. Yes, when properly done, text is still text, and is selectable and can be copied, searched, whatever. PDF is not supposed to simply be a bloated TIFF file, though it's often used that way.
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Old 03-06-07, 12:31 AM   #6
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i love my photocopier at work.. can scan like 100 pages per minute to pdf on our network.. ohhhh lordy its sooo sweet!
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Old 03-06-07, 12:49 AM   #7
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While we're on the topic, I've grown sick of Acrobat reader's constantly growing size, buggy and annoying updater, and resource hogging. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good, windows-compatible pdf-reader (and perhaps a free or low-cost converter?)?

I've looked a little and haven't found much. Foxit looks promising, but doesn't seem to have generated much buzz.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22
I have not seen anyone use TeX in so long. Its one of the only products I know where if anyone found a bug, the author (before he died) would personally mail them a check for money.
Then you might get a kick out of this.
Many years ago, in a different life it seems, I applied to a company for a systems administrator job. I emailed my resume as "brandon.1", a man page. It only seemed reasonable. The person who overlooked my resume was an old school techie from the punch-card days. He found it so ecentric that I would send a man page as a resume that he offered me the job without an interview.
I ended up becoming the manager of engineering for that company before I left, but people there still "remember the guy who sent a man page as a resume".
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Old 03-06-07, 01:45 AM   #9
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It is the updater that hangs my system.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj7
On a side note, why did we ever get away from using TeX and LyX?
\documentclass{article**
\title{On the Dissappearance of LaTeX from Civilized Computer Use**

\begin{document**
\maketitle

Because people hate writing like this?
\\
That said, I wrote my dissertation (2003) in LaTeX and still use it regularly for notes and slide presentations. The citation system is fantastic.

\footnote{Honestly, I have no idea what the difference is between LaTeX and straight TeX, and what there is for graphical interfaces, but this is how I write things.**

\footnote{I'm also not sure if this is really how you make footnotes.**

\end{document**
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Old 03-06-07, 02:16 AM   #11
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By the way, at the request of the company I consult for, I send my bill each month as a PDF. The PDF is a relatively small 16 kB each time. Of course, back when it was a text file it was under 1 kB. But 16 kB really isn't an exorbitant size. Used properly, PDF can be great. You can specify exactly what the other person sees, in a format that's fully edit-able and that can embed all sorts of objects. And its size isn't all that much bigger than the size of each individual component added up. Used as a fancy copy machine, it's really annoying. But even then, it has its uses, such as in the digital archiving of legacy data. I'd much rather have PDF access to old journals (with limited OCR-based text searching) than I would a lack of electronic access.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcl8a
\documentclass{article**
\title{On the Dissappearance of LaTeX from Civilized Computer Use**

\begin{document**
\maketitle

Because people hate writing like this?
\\
That said, I wrote my dissertation (2003) in LaTeX and still use it regularly for notes and slide presentations. The citation system is fantastic.

\footnote{Honestly, I have no idea what the difference is between LaTeX and straight TeX, and what there is for graphical interfaces, but this is how I write things.**

\footnote{I'm also not sure if this is really how you make footnotes.**

\end{document**
heh, I really got a kick out of your post
assuming your questions weren't made in jest:
there are plenty of GUI applications for TeX, I mentioned one in my post "LyX, though I have not used it
I have however used one written in c/curses, though I can not remember it's name
both hid all of the guts of the document formatting and all you had to do was type
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Old 03-06-07, 04:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtersweep
It is the updater that hangs my system.
Turn off the auto updater.
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Old 03-06-07, 05:40 AM   #14
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I loathe PDF and Acrobat. It's bloated and overused for anything and everything where simpler, more compatible file formats would be better. Getting stuff back out of PDF to make use of it is a PITA. It's a tremendous resource hog. The updater is really annoying, and they add PDF context menus, folders, and toolbars all over the place that are sometimes very difficult to get rid of.

It's a bloated, self-important POS that irritates the crap out of me. I know exactly where your friend is coming from.

I HATE PDF.
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Old 03-06-07, 05:51 AM   #15
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I rather despise it as well, or rather, my machine, which is no slouch, hates it. I've never had a machine that would digest PDF without a problem, slow performance, crap scrolling, or some other major annoyance at least often enough to be irritating.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:39 AM   #16
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Acrobat is not so bad for what it does, but for mere PDF viewing I just go ahead and install PrimoPDF. It's much less bloated and load a thousand time faster.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:42 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj7
I dislike Acrobat, and especially the proprietary crap they use intheir PDF documents. It makes it damn near impossible to use pdf2txt on the file and get a proper and readable file. Remember, some of us out here on the interweb still don't use graphical programs.
On a side note, why did we ever get away from using TeX and LyX?
PDF was created on the premise to specifically make the file not able to reverse back to get the text out of it. It was originally designed for people to write up and distribute their technical papers (pre-publication) without others being able to physically extract the text from it. I always thought that seemed silly as papers aren't generally thaaaat long so one could easily just retype it if they wanted, but that was the story of the origin that I heard.



Quote:
Originally Posted by iamlucky13
While we're on the topic, I've grown sick of Acrobat reader's constantly growing size, buggy and annoying updater, and resource hogging. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good, windows-compatible pdf-reader (and perhaps a free or low-cost converter?)?

I've looked a little and haven't found much. Foxit looks promising, but doesn't seem to have generated much buzz.
Just use an old version like I do. Version 5 was the last version before it got out of hand.

www.oldversion.com




------------------------------------
As far as why people hate it......the reason I've heard quoted most is that it is such a bloated format (basically a huge multi-page tiff file of the document) that PDF is single handedly responsible for some greater than average percentage (don't recall any actual numbers) of the bandwidth on the internet. I've even heard people quote how much faster the internet would/could be, in general, without PDF on it. I'm not sure why it ever came about and Tex wasn't pushed forward more. I used to use Tex all the time back in college and all the tools for it were free.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:45 AM   #18
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The acrobat plug-in had to have spawned from Satan's bowel-secretions....I'll leave it at that.
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Old 03-06-07, 07:28 AM   #19
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I guess I'm slow or cheap. I still have and use Acrobat 5.0 and it does everything I need it to do.
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Old 03-06-07, 08:03 AM   #20
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The only issue I have with Acrobat is that when I run Acrobat Pro and Fiery Command Workstation at the same time at work (which is 90% of the time), doing so tends to make Command Workstation lock up, so I have to ctrl-alt-del to close it and then reopen it to use it. Running both simultaneously also tends to slow the system down tremendously. Of course, I am using a 4- or 5-year old system at work, with a recent RAM upgrade to 512mb.

Otherwise, I love the fact that they (almost) always print correctly (unlike MS Office products), that I can scan documents to them with ease, and that I can place those scanned documents into InDesign to save on printing costs & materials.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:00 AM   #21
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I hate how many documents are in PDF format. Is it really nessesarly?
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Old 03-06-07, 09:04 AM   #22
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I like .pdf, myself.....

Of course, I use Open Office and I can export to .pdf handily and use it if I have to send a power point to someone that doesn't have a .ppt reader, or I need to send a protected doc to someone. There are also requirements for some journals I submit copy to to use .pdf format as well. It works well for me and the open source version is a lot nicer to use than Adobe's.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:31 AM   #23
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distiller is where i have my problems. it takes twice as long to make a pdf .... so i switched to cutepdf .... much faster.

btw ... acrobat reader 6 is a dog ... 7 is much quicker at viewing ... i haven't tried 8 yet.
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Old 03-06-07, 11:36 AM   #24
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I like PDF's ability to provide a read-only platform/OS-independent document format. It came out of Postscript which as a much more difficult format to utilize, especially on PCs. Personally I think we should all be using nroff and troff anyway...

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 03-06-07 at 01:07 PM.
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