Serpent Addiction

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Acroread on Unix

Adobe's acroread is another non-GPL piece of software that I find useful for software development, since many specifications are now distributed in pdf format. Unfortunately, too many spec sheets are still tied to the proprietary Microsoft Word format, for which the only remedy is or some of the various lightweight MS-Word readers.

Acroread is a bit heavyweight for most viewing tasks, which is why xpdf is still my default pdf viewer. But for certain kinds of documentation, such as 700+ page HIPAA implementation guides, having acroread is indispensible with it's window tiles to aid navigation.

Having acroread installed is useful for software development with *
ReportLab. It's handy to view the output of generated pdf files with two different renderers, though I also check the results on Windows as well.

Acroread on Unix is much improved. For a while it appeared that the Linux/Solaris versions were languishing behind the Windows versions. Unix acroread has one feature not available on the Windows version. It can emit the Postscript to a file or stdout - useful for batch print jobs.

Something new I just learned: Compressed pdf files can be viewed with the zxpdf command.


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