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Rubbish Adobe PDF Reader

Posted on 11th November 2015

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I wrote recently (here) complaining about the security risks created by Adobe software (in that case, Adobe Flash Payer). Now I am complaining about Adobe PDF Reader.

For a while Sheryl was complaining about not being able to print PDF documents from her laptop (running Window 8.1) to the printer attached to my Linux server. I then discovered that I had the same problem printing from my own Windows 7 machine. I spent quite a long time investigating postings on various forums about similar problems, and fiddling with my print server settings to resolve the problem, and finally I found out what the problem was.

The problem was with Adobe PDF Reader, which seemed totally unable to print to my Linux print server (I assume that it was still able to print to locally attached printers, and also to Windows print servers, but did not test this). At some point, Adobe issued a patch which simply broke the remote printing functionality.

The fix was simple. I replaced Adobe PDF Reader with another application (PDF XChange Viewer from Tracker Software) and now everything is fine. PDF XChange Viewer has excellent functionality for marking-up PDF documents, has a browser plug-in for viewing documents in the browser, and prints to my Linux print server just fine.

The fact that Adobe's software had this bug shows how poor their testing is, and how unprofessional they are.

Now I have retired Adobe PDF Reader. I look forward to being able to do the same to Adobe Flash Player (notice to all those web-sites built around Adobe Flash: time to upgrade to HTML5 and get rid of Flash's obsolete and insecure technology!).

Of course, Adobe are not the only company foisting off dodgy software on us all. Here are some other examples from my personal experience (there are more, but space and time are limited):


A really useful tool for keeping records of meetings, design notes, to-do lists, etc. The only problem is (or at least was - I retired it so don't know if they fixed it) is that it really hammers the performance of your PC, due to its Internet traffic (synchronising your notes with the cloud). It made my computer unusable.

Samsung Kies

Allows you to manage music, photos and videos on your mobile phone, and copy or synchronise to/from your PC. Also, it allows you to synchronise your Outlook calendar and address-book with those on your phone. The problem is that it doesn't deal well with multiple email accounts in Outlook - for a very long time I was unable to do any synchronisation with Outlook at all. Now I am able to synchronise, but I still get lots of duplicate entries in Outlook. Samsung make excellent mobile phones, but they can't write PC software that anyone would want to use.

Apple Software

If you have an Apple device, be it an iPad or an iPhone, you need to have iTunes to manage the music. There are third-party alternatives, but because of the effort that Apple puts into encryption (every new generation of device has new encryption), you have to wait about a year after each new device is launched before the third-party will work with it (generally the third-party companies have to reverse engineer the encryption software and then build it into their products). Also, no matter how often you tell the Apple installer that you do not want iTunes (or QuickTime) to be the default media player, it keeps setting the default application to Apple software.

Also, the Safari browser is not a well behaved application. I run it under Windows, and under Wine (a Windows emulation layer in Linux). It crashes, hangs, locks the desktop, and generally misbehaves. It seems that it is not fully compliant with the Microsoft Windows APIs.