Is Adobe Reader The Most Evil Program Ever?

AcrobatDDEAlright, that's a big claim to make in a universe that has given us Windows Me, Sony's rootkit software and iMovie '08. Nonetheless, I'm kicking myself that I waited this long to rid myself of the bug-ridden, slow-to-update, generally nasty Adobe Reader experience.

The straw that broke this particular camel's back was the pictured error message, which started popping up whenever I tried to open a PDF file. A quick trawl online suggested that this error was frequently being blamed on Reader 9.1 not co-operating with other programs, but given Adobe's less-than-stellar support service, I didn't fancy trying to navigate my way to a solution. So finally I uninstalled Reader, though only after dealing with this singularly unhelpful message:


After perusing our Hive Five of PDF readers, I went with the free version of Foxit. Save for having to make sure none of the associated toolbars or start page annoyances kicked in (make sure you select the custom install), it's working like a charm, reminding us once again that alternatives can be useful even when you're replacing a free tool.


    Adobe Reader is horrible!
    In fact, I hate Adobe all together. Their software is ridiculously bloated and it deeply infects your pc with crap.
    But, in saying that, Im a graphic designer and use Illustrator for up to ten hours a day.
    When I install the CS packages I strip them down the bare essentials.
    Adobe Reader, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Video Player, Adobe Wipe Your Arse, Adobe Kitchen Sink. . . what is all this crap they want to put on my machine!!!???

    So, yeah, Foxit is great!

    I found Foxit's rendering to be a little poor, such as occasionally showing curves as line segments. Since I was using it to preview press-ready PDFs for errors, it wasn't good enough, and I went back to Adobe Reader.

    The other thing that bugs me about Foxit is the shift from its early strength: a FAST, light alternative to Adobe Reader. With each new iteration, they've added more and more (basically useless) features until its bloat is almost on par with Adobe. 99% of the time, I just want to read a PDF document, nothing more.

    I personally went back to Adobe after using Foxit for a couple of years. My reason, I bought CS4 and Acrobat does an excellent job for my various needs and Foxit was a little too slow to render (as per @fieldofmars)...

    But then again not everyone can justify spending the near on $8k for a complete suite...

      I use FoxIt at home and Acrobat Pro at work -- I find both have their advantages, but bloat is certainly not an issue with FoxIt -- at 1GB for Acrobat!!

      FoxIt is usually pretty snappy, but if you find it getting sluggish, it's either a memory shortage, or more likely it's due to the fact that Adobe pre-loads their software when Windows Starts, which gives an apparent speed advantage.

      the main advantages with Acrobat Standard/Professional over the competition are:
      * above average rendering of text and graphics (the best on the market would probably be BlueBeam);
      * two-step conversion of virtually any registered Windows files;
      * two-step archiving from all Office programs;
      * flexible editing tools (croping, deleting and changing text and images).

        "I use FoxIt at home and Acrobat Pro at work — I find both have their advantages, but bloat is certainly not an issue with FoxIt — at 1GB for Acrobat!!"
        Acrobat Pro is not Adobe Reader. It's a full PDF editing and creation suite, of course it's going to be larger than a PDF file reader.

    There's an open source alternative - Sumatra PDF.

    For other alternatives, see Wikipedia (

      Ill check it out now.

        Sumatra PDF is super fast, generally speaking, free and tiny.

        however, if you're used to Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Office, you'll likely need some adjusting to get used to the way it functions. also, Sumatra don't render embedded typefaces particularly well - sometimes not at all.

    I only ever need to read PDFs so I only need something very basic that is fast and light - Sumatra fits these criteria perfectly.

    @fieldofmars: Your kidding right? Foxit slow? Foxit is way faster than Adobe and has been fantastic for me when stuck in Windows Land. Just remember not to add on any of it's 'extra' features, at least it gives you the option not to install them though. That said if your using a Mac Preview is fantastic.

    PDF X-Change Viewer... DL from and I put it on everyones PC, its fast and it works, and it free... I had initial problems with Fox-it and haven't tried it again... but find PDF X change simple, easy and has heaps of other features... cant see why more people dont use it... works with firefox too.

    Use a real operating system like Ubuntu and a PDF viewer (evince) comes built in.

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