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Alternatives to Adobe Bloatware

Discard Adobe Acrobat Reader:

News Recommended Links Alternatives to Acrobat Reader Alternatives to Acrobat Reader Adobe Photoshop Alternatives PDF Converters Ghostscript, Ghostview and GSview
Gimp Macromedia Jasc Software Ulead Ghostgum Software Humor Etc

Adobe products are usually overpriced and Adobe Acrobat Reader is way too bloated and represents huge security risk. There is a need to distinguish between PDF specification (which is open and nothing new in comparison with Postscript) and Adobe implementation of this specification: while Acrobat Reader is indeed a horrible bloatware is became standard de-facto for reading PDF documents and it is not easy to get rid of this dependency. 

Adobe PDF viewer (Acrobat Reader) since version 5 is bloatware and it is unclear what it is doing on your PC besides displaying files. Acrobat utterly takes the first price when it comes to being the most arrogant, bloated, buggy, piece of software ever made, ever.  I hope Microsoft will gain some traction with their XPS [] or MS Words format.

In its infinite wisdom Adobe make it to behave like a daemon: after you views the first PDG file it remains memory even if you do not have any opened PDF files. In addition it bestows users with another rogue process  called AcroTray. Latest versions (both 7 and 8) are complex and buggy. They consume too much resources. Sometimes they crash when you try to shutdown PC.

People often criticize Microsoft but they often forget about Adobe, as probably the most greesy company producing tons of bloatware.  And in certain areas Microsoft can be a viable alternative to the Adobe products: 

  1. MS Word Documents are editable and, as such, better then PDF files. Microsoft Word document viewer is capable and rather small in comparison with Acrobat. It use do not like DOC format RTF is well documented and since version 7 you they use XML. For most individuals and business capabilities ther are more then adequate and you do not need Acrobat license to create such files as Office is a standard desktop application in most corporations.

    Hate the Adobe Acrobat bloatware? Need to open a PDF? Want a cost free, ad free, and spyware free solution? Try FoxIt PDF Reader !


  2. FrontPage  is a viable alternative to Dreamweaver. It is a really one of the best HTML editors and it is underestimated by many (this site was created using FrontPage). FrontPage does not actually requires using extensions if you do not like them (I don't).  And it is amazingly powerful program if you learn it.  You can now buy FrontPage 2003 for the price of shareware and if you need an HTML editor you will make an excellent purchase.  This is a program that definitely worth the price you can get it on eBay.  This is a really powerful and flexible HTML editor with almost no competition (Dreamweaver is definitely weaker and less use friendly; also like most adobe products it is ridiculously expensive).

    FrontPage substantially helps in organizing small to medium sites as you can graphically organize your site's structure, using a tree-structure view. Also, if you have a Web page which is linked from many other pages and you rename that file, FrontPage will automatically update links in the other files, you don't need to change links by yourself anymore. Advantage of Dreamweaver is that it allows you to design your pages with layers and then it will automatically transform those layers into tables.  Also extendibility  of Dreamweaver is a plus. The way extensions are implemented in Dreamweaver is more flexible that Frontpage macro approach as FrontPage does not have a macrorecoder yet. Support of  external Cascading Style Sheets is better in Dreamweaver.

  3. Adobe flagship product Photoshop is very capable in probably indispensible for professionals but also very expensive and IMHO for regular folks does not always live after promises. For WEB designers I think Macromedia Fireworks and/or Corel products often represent a much better deal. Microsoft also came up with photo editor (Microsoft Digital Image) which is a very good product for non-professional audience and have a much better user interface that any other product I saw. On Unix  GIMP might be an interesting choice as it comes with powerful Perl-based scripting but of course it is not match for Photoshop. 

    The important point to make is that few people need full capabilities of Photoshop. But I guess that if you’re not a graphic designer or photographer you could easily replace Photoshop with Microsoft Digital Image, Corel or the Gimp.  Standard version of Microsoft Digital image is priced extremly attractively. And as a challenger Microsoft tries really hard to beat the leader...

    Also from the point of view of healthy ecosystem there should be alternatives to a dominant product and it's in our best interest to support most innovative of them.

    Again I would like to stress that I cannot talk about professional graphic artists, but for WEB developers both GIMP and Paintshop Pro has some advantages in simple cases over Adobe Photoshop. BTW one of the most common Paintshop questions is "Can I use Adobe Photoshop filters with Paintshop?" can be answered YES!  You don't need to buy the full product to get the filters. Most filters are not copyrighted by Adobe and are available in the demo version you can download from the web or copied from the demo CD.

 Now let's discuss the problem with Acrobat bloatware in more detail because this is the most annoying product that a typical enterprise user encounters daily. Here is selection of rather typical opinions about Adobe Acrobat:

[Aug 22, 2009] F-Secure Suggests Ditching Adobe Reader For Free PDF Viewers

"Yesterday at RSA security conference, F-Secure's chief research officer recommended dropping Adobe Reader for viewing PDF files because of the huge amount of targeted attacks against it. Instead, he pointed to, a website maintaining a list of free and open source PDF viewers."

[Dec 29, 2007] Slashdot Adobe Quietly Monitoring Software Use

"For months, users of Adobe Creative Suite 3 have been wondering why some of the applications regularly connect to what looks like a private IP address but is actually a public domain address belonging to the web analytics company Omniture. Now allegations of user spying are getting louder, prompting Adobe Photoshop product manager John Nack to respond, though many remain unsatisfied with his explanation."

[Jul 19, 2006] Get rid of the bloatware! The 1MB fully functional PDF Reader

Posted in Tech, Cool, Downloadable by Dan at 1:01 pm

I hate bloat and spyware. Absolutely HATE IT! Adobe Reader (formerly Adobe Acrobat) is the #1 target in my workflow that is a necessary evil. When you begin to install the program it wants to clog your web browser with every toolbar known to man. It constantly pings back to Adobe to check for updates every time you launch it, and what is the deal with the Adobe download manager.

Enough is enough! I found a light PDF reader that does the trick. The Foxit PDF Reader is an alternative viewer/reader for PDF documents. Foxit PDF Reader is less than 1MB to download and doesn’t need lengthy installation (just download, unzip, and run). It works with all types of PDF documents you might have, with high display quality. Supports different languages including most Asian languages. You can zoom in/zoom out or rotate page display, copy text information to other application, search text in PDF document, and print PDF documents.

Take that Adobe, Your reader application will never touch my computer again. I HIGHLY recommend this to all PC users.

antivirus and bloatware

i'm not a fan of bloatware...i don't think anyone is.  when you install something, you expect it to be exactly what you want.  aol recently got nailed for having their latest software install a bunch of other software without the user's knowledge.

two chronic violators i think for bloatware: acrobat reader and quicktime.  acrobat reader: to me that means a reader.  so why is it 20MB?  compare to which is 3.7MB (which is about 2MB more than the previous version even) and does the same thing (reads PDFs, search, etc.).  yeah, yeah, acrobat reader can do a few other things, but enough to warrant 6x the size and how many people really use (or even know about those features).  quicktime? don't even get me started.  a "plugin" that installs a startup task, system tray icon, etc.

[Sept 19, 2006] Much ado about Acrobat 8 TalkBack on ZDNet

Excellent obsevations

You're right Josh - all the bells and whistles didn't amount to much for the people I was working with and the value really wasn't there.

As has been pointed out here and elsewhere, there are any number of alternatives ranging from free to much less expensive. I actually do a lot of PDF editing and combining - I liked using Acrobat Pro - I just didn't like the gyrations I had ot go through to get it to work and was utterly unstatisfied with Adobe's response to my problems.

I contrast that experience to the kind of support I get from other developers - large (like Microsoft) and small (like you) and I spend my money where my patronage is appreciated. I think Adobe has lost its way - in the good old days of desktop publishing when they had significant competition, they were a different company.

[Sept 18, 2006] Just more bloatware...

Reader post by: Heebee Jeebies 

Posted on: September 18, 2006, 3:00 PM PDT

Story: Adobe brings Web conferencing to Acrobat

What does conferencing have to do with electronic documents like PDF. Just more bloat in a program that is already shower than snot in a snow storm. I will stick with Macromedia FlashPaper it creates PDF quickly and effectively. That is why I figure Adobe will either kill it off to swell it up with bloatware like a pregnant yak!


[Aug 15, 2006] Twenty Sided » Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is running, even though I have no.PDF files open. Hey Adobe: There are clever little %mechanisims like “file associations” that allows Windows to open programs when they are needed. So why is Acrobat loitering here? It should close itself. An even more important question is this: Why is Acrobat eating up thirty-five megabytes of memory when it is not even in use? What is it doing with all of that memory? By contrast you can see that Paint Shop Pro - which is open and in use - is using less than a third of the memory that Acrobat is. I don’t know if this is arrogance or incompetence on the part of Adobe, but this is just shameful.

The awful thing is that programs can do this as a way of making themselves seem more efficient. How the game works is this: I have some no-talent hack programmers working for me making rotten software. It is sluggish and slow to start. I can get around this by having the program load when the system starts. Then my long loading time is just added to your boot-up time, thus masking my crime. When you open the program, it is already in memory and thus starts a little bit faster. So, I prop up my crappy software at the expense of making your entire system a little slower and less responsive. What if everyone did this?

[Feb 14, 2005] I hate Adobe Acrobat (even more now!) by Rick Strahl

February 14, 2005

I’ve been having to work with PDF documents for a project I’m working on where the docs are available only in PDF. I’ve been using an old version of the PDF reader and writer software – Version 5.0. I installed 6.0 at some point decided it didn’t have anything worth having and it was a pig, and forgot about it.

So, today I decided maybe I should install the new reader to see if it works a bit better for reading documents online – it doesn’t except it seems the fonts are a bit cleaner and easier on the eyes. Other than that I much prefer’s Word’s reading layout or even print view…


But here’s the kicker. I had Acrobat 5.0 FULL installed, and when I installed the 7.0 reader it removed the old installation. So there goes Distiller and the PDF output generation that was installed on the machine. How about that for arrogance. Oh you want the full package too – just upgrade. Nyet…


I guess I’m going back to 5.0, but seriously how retarded is that for behavior?


I’m really surprised that Microsoft or somebody hasn’t come up with its own format for document display. Adobe has been unchallenged in this field forever but the reader is just not a good tool for reading text. The sizing of pages never seems to fit into any thing that actually is readable it’s always awkard. Trying to grab text out of a document is a pain in the ass too. I have some editor who love to send me PDF documents for final edits and making changes or even picking out the text out of these multicolumn documents is a royal pain in the ass.


Then there’s the other end of it which is PDF generation, which is also a mess. Forget Adobe for this unless it’s for consumers. Their server side licensing for PDF creation is out of this world – what are these guys smoking? There are other solutions in this space too, but it’s also very pricey. Document output generation isn’t rocket science these days -  shouldn’t PDF output be practically a default option from just about any tool developer or otherwise? It is an open format after all…


I’m not quite sure whether the various browser bugs with the Acrobat reader have been fixed. In the past it was near impossible to dynamically create PDF documents and display them in a browser unless you ran the output to a PDF file on disk first. The reader would choke on dynamic URLs – I suspect this is something Adobe purposely didn’t fix (at the time) to discourage people from using Distiller on the server <g>…


I can’t dupe this now because all the PDF generation has been changed to generate output files – it’d be interesting to try for the 10 more minutes that I will have 7.0 installed…

Adobe Acrobat - Alternatives to adobe

Apr 17, 2001 ailmi (IS/IT--Manageme)

The removal of paper capture in Acrobat 5 is annoying and cheap beyond belief - especially since they neglected to bring this detail to my attention after specifically asking what the differences were between Acrobat 4 and 5.  I consider this to be intentional and blatant misrepresentation on their part.

Do they have any competition yet?  I will never again buy from them - when I'm ready to upgrade to a new .pdf processor I'd like to have a choice.

As you can see there are problems with Acrobat and it might well worth to try to find an alternative or avoid PDF format whenever possible.  After all this is yet another proprietary format from a very questionable company.

Nikolai Bezroukov


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Hate the Adobe Acrobat bloatware? Need to open a PDF? Want a cost free, ad free, and spyware free solution? Get FoxIt PDF Reader !

[May 10, 2013] Backlash begins against Adobe's subscription-only plan


A petition on demanding that Adobe back away from its subscription-only model for its creativity software, including Photoshop, has collected over 4,400 signatures by late Thursday.

And those thousands of customers were unhappy at Adobe for pushing them toward subscriptions. Very unhappy.

"Paying Adobe rent for the rest of my life is absurd," said Nick Scott, who left a comment on the petition's page. "I'll definitely be looking elsewhere next time I need to upgrade."

Derek Schoffstall of Harrisburg, Penn., a photographer and college student, kicked off the petition Monday after Adobe announced it was halting development on the Creative Suite (CS) applications sold as "perpetual" licenses -- traditional licenses that are paid for once, then used as long as the user wants -- and would only upgrade its well-known Photoshop, Illustrator and other creativity software when it was licensed via subscription.

The new name for the rent-not-own suite: Creative Cloud (CC).

CS6, the current version of the boxed software, will be maintained with bug fixes and will continue to be sold at retail and by Adobe directly. But there will be no CS7 or feature additions to those versions.

Schoffstall's petition asked Adobe to reconsider its subscription-only plans, restart development on CS6, and continue to offer perpetual licenses alongside subscriptions.

"It seems that you have decided to forsake everyone but big business. Well, you've made a mistake," the petition read. "We are in a corner because although we may have the option to use CS6 now, in the future, we will be forced to subscribe to your CC subscription in order to stay relevant with updated software."

In the preface to the petition, Schoffstall argued that consumers and independent freelancers would end up paying more in subscription fees than they had buying a one-time-charge license. "In the short term, the subscription model looks to be okay, but over time the only entity that is benefiting from this is Adobe," he said. "The (no longer) current model -- paying a one time fee for infinite access -- is a much better business model and is better for the consumer."

Software-by-subscription can cost more than a perpetual license that's used for a relatively long time. The perpetual license of CS6 Design and Web Premium Student and Teacher Edition, for example, lists for $599. At the standard $30 per month for Creative Cloud, a student would end up paying more for a subscription after 20 months, or about two years in college.

In other words, if a student buys the perpetual license and uses it for more than 20 months, he or she comes out ahead of a friend who went the subscription route.

[Nov 25, 2012] Adobe updates Flash against security flaw - but watch out for the extras by Charles Arthur

As on November 2012 Adobe still is doing this dirty trick and many customers get saddled with unwanted anti-virus and Google Bar on the way (if you never tried to delete Google Bar I can tell you that this is tricky -- Google wants to be on your PC no matter what -- one component Google Updater remains and is not visible in Control Panel Add/Remove programs menu -- and it contains dozens of registry entries). If you use the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, be careful to UNCHECK the box shown below. It is not needed for the Flash Player update!
15 June 2010 |

Following last week's warnings about a serious security vulnerability in Flash, Adobe has posted version 10.1 of its player - which seems to fix the vulnerability. If you're using Flash (and that's pretty much everyone except you iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad users), then you should update.

There's some explanation of how to do that too at Microsoft's Clubhouse ("the place to have some fun by showing others what you know about Windows and to learn new tricks and tips every day" - no exclamation mark included, apparently). There we note some of the sneakier stuff involved in getting you to update your system:

"If you use the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, be careful to UNCHECK the box shown below. It is not needed for the Flash Player update!"

Flash update pushes McAfee unless you untick the box. Classy.

Sneaky, that - trying to get you to install McAfee Security Scan Plus when all you actually want is an update of Flash.

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[Apr 17, 2011] Adobe Adopts HTTP Live Streaming For iOS

Instead of paying Adobe you could download the free FLEX sdk from Adobe together with the free IDE called FlashDevelop. (See http// ) I have used Flashdevelop + the FLEX sdk, and it works quite nicely - but I guess the paid for software is lot more efficient, when it comes to GUI design/layout.


unassimilatible writes

"Ars Technica reports that Adobe has capitulated in the iOS-Flash war, and has adopted HTTP live streaming for iOS. HTTP Live Streaming is a protocol that Apple developed to stream live and recorded video using standard HTTP connections instead of the more difficult to optimize RTSP. It uses H.264-encoded video and AAC or MP3 audio packaged into discrete chunks of an MPEG-2 transport stream, along with a .m3u playlist to catalog the files that make up the individual chunks of the stream. QuickTime on both Mac OS X and iOS can play back this format, and it is the only streaming format compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch."

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518): Re:Not the first concession for adobe.

Given that(with the exception of licensing embedded clients, which(if the dire performance on Android is any indication), they'll have increasing trouble even giving away... Adobe's client side flash/AIR stuff is a pure cost center designed to drive sales of their content-creation suit and assorted server offerings, they don't really have anything to gain by attempting a fight to the last on the client side.

Back when they could actually claim adoption rates in 95+ percent range without the slightest doubt, I suspect that having client ubiquity certainly was helpful; but they would be insane to alienate the customers who actually buy stuff in some sort of fight to ensure that the customers who just download stuff and encounter ghastly security problems can continue to do so.

They will, presumably, walk away by half measures, in order to try to milk RTMPe and other benefits of flash client ubiquity as long as possible; but there is nothing inimical to their actual profit sources in building HTML5 related tools...

toriver : Re:Not the first concession for adobe.

if I can do HTML5 then why should I pay $$$ for all these expensive adobe packages?

Maybe if Adobe has the best HTML5 content creation tool as well? They are revamping that side of their tools (i.e. DreamWeaver) in their "unheard of" point release CS 5.5.

ulski (1173329) : Re:Not the first concession for adobe.

There is another option. Instead of paying Adobe you could download the free FLEX sdk from Adobe together with the free IDE called FlashDevelop. (See http// ) I have used Flashdevelop + the FLEX sdk, and it works quite nicely - but I guess the paid for software is lot more efficient, when it comes to GUI design/layout.

hairyfeet (841228) Re:Not the first concession for adobe.

You know what? I don't think it is so much that "flash sucks" so much as when Adobe bought it they didn't really have a game plan and the code they had only ran on win X86 and frankly that is the same to this day. Flash on win x86? It runs just fine. Runs fine in Win X64 since the browsers are all 32 bit. Everywhere else? Steaming pile of stinky.

So it looks, just from me watching the history of the thing, that they made the classic buyer's mistake. they probably let everyone that was really good at the code behind flash waltz out the door and then milked it for all it was worth. But times change, win x86 isn't the end all be all anymore, and it looks like Adobe simply hasn't been able to keep up.

But then again Adobe never were the brightest bulbs in the sign. Macromedia Xres was a great image manipulation software that they could have sold very nicely in the low to mid market, and used it as an upsell to Photoshop. They have also bloated the living shit out of PDF by jamming everything AND the kitchen sink into what was supposed to be a portable office format, not a fricking office suite or multimedia presentation, with predictable results.

So to me the questions are thus: Will Adobe be able to adapt, or will they go the way of the 8 track? And if flash goes tits up, what will replace it? Because frankly from what I've seen HTML V5 sucks on less than a dual core unless you have some sort of acceleration for it. H.26x is great and does have acceleration, but FOSS won't touch it because of patents, WMV is okay but only on Win, Quicktime sucks, Theora would have been great 10 years ago but sucks now as it eats too many cycles for less quality than H.26x, so what is left?

Because I REALLY don't want to go back to the 90s, with a dozen competitive formats all with bugs and hassles, and since it looks like Apple and MSFT are sticking with HTML V5 H.26x that will end up fractured. Sigh, I have a feeling it is gonna be a big clusterfuck like the 90s all over again. Say what you want about flash, but at least every machine from a PIII to the latest multicore could run it, and nearly everyone already had it installed.

-- This is my 02c, YMMV

kiddygrinder (605598): Re:Not the first concession for adobe.

flash has always sucked, it's good on x86 now because they've bug fixed the steaming pile of crap for years and they've actually managed to get it pretty stable. if you're looking for the next big thing in delivering video content it's probably going to be google's v8 thing, since they own youtube and that's 80 % of all video content right there, as well as being open source so the zealots can feel good about it (saying that with love since i am one). -- This is a joke. I am joking. Joke joke joke.

Anonymous Coward: Re:Not the first concession for adobe.

"Sigh, I have a feeling it is gonna be a big clusterfuck like the 90s all over again. Say what you want about flash, but at least every machine from a PIII to the latest multicore could run it, and nearly everyone already had it installed."

Which is why Flash is not going anywhere. Unfortunately, we ended up with Windows due to people demanding standards. We ended up with the lowest quality product. Same is true with flash and why HTML 4.01 is here to stay with it. I would love to make html 5 content for my sites but realize it is not worth the hassle. Offices that will browse them (business 2 business) still use IE 6 and flash is the only way to go and I am willing to support for the next 5 years.

MeateaW (1988688): Re:Not the first concession for adobe.

Sorry, but Windows isn't the lowest quality product.

  • From a non-technical users perspective, *nix was the lowest quality product (no ease of use)
  • Windows was the cheapest product (no special hardware)
  • MacOS was expensive (hardware lockin)
  • And anything else was too small.

All the above basically has changed. But so has windows, it's actually pretty good now (only 20 years to get there...), but various flavours of *nix have caught up in usability (for your average pleb here) but MacOs still has the hardware lockin (arguably though, completely artificial hardware lockin...)

Billly Gates (198444):

Well Windows was never the best technically either but 90% of people use it. It's because it is what everyone else also uses.

When I look for jobs for webmasters I almost always see flash experience or dreamweaver with half of them out there. It is FAR from dead.

With fragmentation of Firefox, IE, and Chrome with html 5 between their new generation and last generation browsers it becomes a horrible headache to support. Making a flash video for animation rather than javascript or html 5 works with all of them. So developers will stick with flash.

Worse Adobe stomped out all the compeition for a graphical ide for web development. Frontpage is gone and sharepoint is really for intranet sites that still use IE 6. So flash is will stay for a long time.

I pray a free tool comes out or at least more competition. Flash is like Microsoft's .doc file format that forces everyone else to keep using MS Office. Technology improvements are not developers need the tools. A gui is needed as you can't make a cool game or flashy objects in vi and firebug. Come on ...

node 3 (115640) Re:Not the first concession for adobe

As any iOS user can attest to, Flash is all but dead except for (and in this order):

  1. Video
  2. Ads
  3. Games

For the first one, H.264 streaming works way better, people actively dislike the second one, and while Flash games can be fun, it's definitely not a deal breaker for most people.

I've gone with the "don't install Flash, just use Chrome when you do need it" method, and I've discovered that I rarely need it.

Flash is already dead. Sure, it'll be around for a few more years at least, and I imagine Flash games will be around for a long time as well (although a more proper game plug in could reasonably supplant it), but as a "must-have, default plug in", Flash is on its way out.

-- "No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame." == "iPad is a toy" ~~Say something great~~

dafing (753481): Anyone defending Flash anymore?

I remember the defenders at first, but over the last six months, Flash seems to be getting kicked about more and more. I've long hated the damn thing, I grew over it after making heavily Flash based Homestead websites in highschool!

When I think of "Flash", I think of animated characters bouncing around, trying to sell me awful products, and websites that have a loading bar, "in just 10 seconds you'll be able to see the simple text, but once you click a link, it has to load THAT Flash page too! This is fun!"

I've long seen Flash as slow, annoying, buggy, insecure, and never optimised for my particular screen resolution. Apparently it absolutely sucks down The Juice on portable devices too. I hate waiting for a site to load, to then have it fill precisely a third of my screen real estate, having been designed for a computer resolution last common in a year beginning with 19.

The sooner Flash gets the hell out of here, the happier I'll be. I've never ONCE missed Flash while using my iPad or iPhone, in fact, I'd rather not have it on my iMac either! -- --- ...or a new slashdot signature. Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all

[Sep 11, 2010] Weekend Project Open Source Alternatives to Adobe Flash on Linux by Nathan Willis

10 September 2010 |

Linux users have never been well-served by Flash. The official browser plugin offered by Adobe has tended to lag behind releases for other platforms. Flash is available only for 32-bit Intel-compatible processor architectures, and it has long been a source of browser slowdowns, freezes, and crashes. And to all that the fact that it is a proprietary, binary-only blob, and you can see why many Linux desktop users want to free themselves from it. You can, with a little bit of time and preparation, this weekend.

You may wonder why you need Flash support at all. If you are an adult without kids, you may generally encounter Flash only in its use as a cross-platform video delivery mechanism, and in many ways this is the easiest usage of Flash to dispense with. There are video extraction tools and extensions to pull video right out of Flash wrappers at the click of a button, allowing you to forget it ever existed. If you do have kids, however, you likely see Flash games and interactive content all the time (perhaps even too often for your liking...), and for you, simply ignoring Flash is not a real option.

Finally, if you spend the bulk of your online time at tech-heavy Web sites (as many Linux users do), you probably see modern HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But the further you stray from the bleeding edge of technology, the more likely you are to find a site built with Flash interactivity and navigation, from the dark days before DHTML and DOM scripting. Or to put it another way, although your LUG and your favorite distro probably do not use Flash on their sites, your local farmer's market or Wild West reenactor troupe, sadly, might.

Unfortunately, many of the same things that make the official Flash plugin crash-prone also make the plugin difficult to replace - namely that the Flash specification is incredibly complex, with numerous APIs that change between releases of the official Flash platform. It covers both raster and vector graphics, wraps several different audio and video formats, handles animation, interactivity, and several different generations of Adobe's scripting language ActionScript. As a result, to get solid support for all of these varying types of content, you will need to work with several different open source components.

The overall plan is to completely remove the Adobe Flash plugin first, then to install two open source Flash implementations that handle different versions of Flash content such that they gracefully fail-over to each other as needed, and finally to configure Flash-less browsing for some specific sites that offer more modern content-delivery options.

Remove Adobe's Flash plugin

All major Linux web browsers support the same plugin format, the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI). This includes Firefox, Mozilla Seamonkey, Opera, Konqueror, Epiphany, Google Chrome, and Chromium. A plugin like Adobe Flash is a shared binary object tucked away in some directory where the browser knows to look for it. Adobe Flash's is named

To uninstall it, first open up your browser's plugin preferences. For brevity's sake, we will use Firefox in the examples, but the process is the same for other browsers; only the location of the tools is likely to be different. On Firefox, you need the Tools -> Add-ons menu item, in the Plugins tab. Disable the Flash plugin, then close the browser. The tricky part comes next. Depending on how you installed the plugin initially, removing the file could require different steps.

If you installed it via your distribution's package management system, you should start by uninstalling the package the same way. If you installed it through the downloadable installer program provided by Adobe, though, you will need to remove it by hand. It is usually installed in $HOME/.mozilla/plugins, and you can simply delete the file from the command line.

But the above steps do not always work. Open up the URI about:plugins in your browser, and scroll down through the list to see if "Shockwave Flash" is still listed anywhere. If it is, then Firefox may have found in some other location, such as the system-wide /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/. By default, about:plugins only reports the file name of the plugin, not the full directory path. You can change this by opening the URI about:config and looking at the plugin.expose_full_path preference. Set it to "true" by double clicking on the Value column, then return to about:plugins and find the full path to Delete without mercy.

Install Gnash in stand-alone mode

With Adobe Flash gone, it is time to install the open source alternates. It will ultimately require two: Gnash and Lightspark. The two projects cover different versions of the Flash specification; Gnash is the more mature project, and supports Flash content up to version 8. Version 9 of Flash debuted sporting a rewritten version of ActionScript based on an entirely different virtual machine model; Lightspark implements this newer framework.

Take a look at your distribution's package management software for Gnash packages. If you are in luck, there will at least two - one that specifically provides the browser plugin, and one that provides the "stand-alone" player. Install the stand-alone version, including any support packages it recommends, but do not install the browser plugin.

If a package is not available, you can fetch the latest version of Gnash from the project's Web site. The newest release as of today is version 0.8.8. Compiling it can be painful, but only in the sense that it has a long list of dependencies due to the wide variety of media content the Flash format encompasses. You can trim down the list of dependencies by specifying a subset of the configuration options (such as GTK+ only, rather than GTK+, Qt, and framebuffer GUIs). Consult the Gnash reference manual for a complete list of the configuration options.

Install Lightspark in plugin mode

Next, install the second Flash-replacement, Lightspark. Again, start by checking for a Lightspark package in your distribution's package management system. In this case, however, pay close attention to the version number. For Lightspark-and-Gnash co-habitability, you will need at least version 0.4.2.

If your distribution provides only an older release, you will need to compile and install Lightspark yourself. Visit the project's site and download the latest release - as of right now, this is version Installation instructions are provided on the project's documentation pages, which also include generally-up-to-date links to third-party binary packages that might be available for your distribution.

However you install it, check that your browser can actually find and recognize the Lightspark plugin. Open Tools -> Add-ons and check that it is installed and enabled, and visit about:plugins, and look again for Lightspark in the list. You can get troubleshooting help at the Lightspark Web site if something goes awry.

Finally, if you are running Firefox 3.6.4 or later, you can switch on Firefox's "out-of-process plugin" mode, which runs each plugin in a separate process to prevent plugin crashes from crashing the browser. Visit about:config, then right-click and select New -> Boolean. Enter as the preference name, and set it to "true."

Installing Lightspark as the plugin and Gnash as the standalone works because Lightspark has the ability to query Flash content for version information. If the content uses newer Flash features that Lightspark supports, it will render the content as normal. If the content is older, however, it will call the Gnash library (which was installed as part of the stand-alone package) to handle the rendering instead.

Avoid Flash whenever you have an option

The last step in replacing Flash is to configure non-Flash content delivery wherever it is supported. This is a site-specific process, so you can safely skip it if you do not plan to visit any of the supported sites regularly. It centers around the use of Flash as a video content wrapper; many high-volume video sharing services are offering non-Flash alternatives that use HTML's <video> element to place content directly in the page, rather than embedding a Flash player. In many cases, Lightspark and Gnash will handle the Flash video just fine, but as long as you have a choice, it can't hurt to request HTML5 video instead - in fact, in most cases it moves forward the cause of free and open video codecs.

Chrome, Opera, and the latest development builds of Firefox all support the new WebM codec released earlier this year by Google. At the moment, YouTube is the only major video-sharing site serving up WebM-encoded HTML5 content, although rumors persist that it is coming soon to others (such as Vimeo). You must opt-in to YouTube's HTML5 delivery system by visiting

Several other sites offer HTML5 video content in the free Theora format, including Dailymotion and Dailymotion's content is accessible by visiting a different start-page URL,, and's by visiting and selecting the "On" preference. The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of Ogg-supporting sites at its PlayOgg campaign, sorted by national origin. Theora creators also maintain such a list, including a section specifically devoted to video sharing (as opposed to Ogg Vorbis audio) services.

There are other sites, such as the aforementioned Vimeo, that offer HTML5 video in the non-free and patent-encumbered H.264 format. Although it is not a truly free solution, setting up your browser to play H.264 video on these sites does help to liberate you from the Adobe Flash plugin.

Flashing out

Currently, these video-sharing services are the only places where Flash is optional, which is nice, but not comprehensive. Lightspark and Gnash cover a considerable amount of the total Flash specification, but always bear in mind that they are unofficial re-implementations. Even though both do regular testing, out in the wild wild Web, you might find content that does not work correctly.

The best thing you can do is file a bug report about it. You should try and discern whether it is Lightspark or Gnash rendering the Flash content, though, to file a report in the right place. This is easiest with the out-of-process-plugin option. Open top or another process viewer to see whether Gnash is fired up when you visit the site. The Lightspark site has instructions for getting a backtrace in the event of crash. In any event, note the expected behavior and what the plugin actually does, then file your bug. Afterwards, remember to set aside a few minutes to help the farmers and reenactors re-tool their sites with CSS and JavaScript.

[Aug 12, 2010] Sun PDF Import Extension

a free replacement for Adobe Acrobat
Linux Journal

The Sun PDF Import Extension is one of the most popular extensions ever created. For the last two years, it has been near the top of the list of most popular downloads on the Extensions site -- and no wonder, considering that it is a free replacement for Adobe Acrobat, which is currently priced at $449US. However, the extension does have some quirks and limitations that you have to learn to work around.

The first quirk you have to overcome is obtaining it. To start with, you need to be running 3.0 or higher.

That is probably not a problem for most users, but finding a usable copy of the extension may be. When you click the Get it! button on the extensions site, the link takes you to a page about Oracle Open Office, the successor to Sun Microsystems's Star Office. This page mentions the PDF Import Extension, but provides no downloads.

To download the extension, you need to be alert when your browser switches to the page that thanks you for downloading, and choose a manual download before you can get the file.

Even then, to judge from the comments on the extensions page (and my own experience), you may have trouble using the extension after you install it from Tools -> Extension Manager. The easiest way to get the extension is to check your distribution's repository to see if it is included as a package, as in Debian.

You will know if you have succeeded in installing if you try to open an PDF file and it displays in Draw.

By contrast, if you get a few characters of gibberish, you need to keep searching for another way of getting the extension. You might be able to find an alternative download site with an earlier version that you can use. Don't worry if the version number is far below the 1.01 release mentioned on the extension page; the version numbers took a huge, unwarranted leap, and (so far as I can tell) a .4x version will not be much different in functionality from the 1.01 release.

Using the extension

Once you have the Sun PDF Import Extension installed, you need to know its limitations. Unfortunately, it's a mixture of good and bad news.

The good news is that the extension works extremely well with text, preserving all types of formatting including font size, bold, italics, strike-through and underlining. Fonts, too are preserved, although their names are not always parsed correctly and may have a few additional characters at the end of them. Should the fonts not be available on your system, the extension tries to replace them with a font whose characters are metrically equivalent. The positioning, too, of text, is maintained in all-text documents, so that a brochure that has text scattered over the page is imported as accurately as a white paper that is a solid block of paragraphs.

The extension places each line of text in a separate text frame. Each fragment of a line separate by a tab or spacing is also placed in a separate text frame. This arrangement means that you can easily correct typos, or add a few words if the line is short. Add much more, and you will throw off the line spacing in the document. You can, of course, add your text frames, but you will have to work carefully not to interfere with the line spacing or the bottom margin -- to say nothing of moving every line carefully downwards. Still, the effort may be worthwhile if you need to edit or recover an important document.

Another problem is that true Adobe forms and graphics are not imported at all. At the most, you will have only their frames, and, at times, especially with PNG graphics, the positioning of text will be thrown off by the missing elements. In these cases, if you want to include the forms or graphics included in a PDF made outside of, then you will have to capture them and insert them manually into the Draw document.

If you import a PDF created within, you may be able to import forms and graphics -- providing that you set the PDF to Hybrid format when you exported the file. A Hybrid PDF combines Acrobat and Open Document formats. A PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat that cannot parse Open Document Format will simply ignore it, but, when you come to import the file into for editing, the forms and graphics will be imported along with the text. The cost of using Hybrid format is that your files will be an average of about 20% larger, but that is a relatively small price to pay for the convenience of the kludge.

Finally, when you are finished editing, remember not to save the file, but to use File -> Export to PDF instead.

Linux Software Picks Six Alternatives to Photoshop Maximum PC

Although many graphics professionals turn to Windows or Mac OS to execute their designs, Linux is far from helpless in this area. While it helps that Adobe Photoshop, the undisputed gold-standard program that most professionals use for raster graphics, runs on Linux through Wine, there are several native Linux programs that offer some of the same functionality. Furthermore, there are many free vector graphics programs that can produce infinitely scalable graphics much like what Adobe Illustrator can do. Aside from the software situation, there is no reason why Linux could not be just as effective with graphics applications as OS X and Windows, since Linux supports many peripherals like tablets out of the box with full plug-and-play support.

Are the Linux programs drop-in replacements for Photoshop and Illustrator? The answer could be either yes and no, depending on the way you look at it and what your needs are. If you compare the Linux alternatives to Photoshop/Illustrator feature-by-feature, the free open source tools will come up short by a significant margin and there is simply no way to get around that fact. If you actually need those features on a day-to-day basis, then you should get your wallet out and purchase Photoshop and/or Illustrator. However, if you can get by with less, the free open source software tools may be enough to get the job done and save you considerable money in the process.

Tips & Tricks Converting PDF-s to pictures in Linux " Dr. Ivan's Blog

Ever wondered how to render PDF-s into individual pictures page by page? It is really simple.

Warning to all of those who are allergic to command line: The following method does imply use (albeit very simple) of CLI.

Here we will be using a tool called ImageMagick. This is a widely available tool with unparalleled versatility in a variety of areas, but is by no means the only one: there are plenty of other tools to do the same thing. The following is only one method of many.

1) So first of all you will need to install ImageMagick. In Ubuntu you would do:

sudo apt-get install imagemagick

2) Then open up a terminal, and browse to the location of the PDF you want to convert. Say, if your PDF was in /home/username/PDFs, you would do the following:

cd /home/username/PDFs

3) Let's say that you have a PDF file called test.pdf and you want it to convert to PNG files. You also want these PNG files' filename to begin page. Then you would run:

convert test.pdf page.png

This will give you as many PNG files named page-01.png, page-02.png, … as there are pages in your original PDF.

If you wanted JPEG files instead just run:

convert test.pdf page.jpg

You might also want to control the resolution of the resulting image files. To do that you must specify the -density option. It is hard to predict what number you should give, so try to experiment to get the desired result. If you wanted a density of, say, 800, you would run:

convert -density 800 test.pdf page.png

Want to select certain pages only? No problem, to convert only the first page – run:

convert "test.pdf[0]" page.png

You may also specify a range. So to convert the first three pages run:

convert "test.pdf[0-2]" page.png

Several ranges are also possible:

convert "test.pdf[0-2,4-6]" page.png

(Note that the output files will be consecutively named in the latter example, so you will get files page-0.png, -1, -2, -3, -4 and -5.png. NOT as you would expect page-0.png, -1, -2, -4, -5 and -6)

Edit: If you are inclined to use another conversion utility, try pdftoppm from the package poppler-utils. Works very well, too…

That's really it!
Hope you found this useful!

[May 28, 2009] Evince – Simply a document viewer

See also Evince - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is a great product if you need to cut and paste examples from PDF books.

Nice document viewer that can display pft and convert them to text even if Acrobat refuses to do it.

Evince is a document viewer for multiple document formats. It currently supports pdf, postscript, djvu, tiff and dvi. The goal of evince is to replace the multiple document viewers that exist on the GNOME Desktop with a single simple application.

More screenshots of Evince are available in the screenshots section.

Evince is specifically designed to support the file following formats.

Here is the full list of supported document formats

[Aug 22, 2009] F-Secure Suggests Ditching Adobe Reader For Free PDF Viewers

Just last month, Adobe issued a fix for an Acrobat Reader hole that attackers had been exploiting for months, after issuing a patch for a critical vulnerability in Flash player the month before.

... ... ...

"Yesterday at RSA security conference, F-Secure's chief research officer recommended dropping Adobe Reader for viewing PDF files because of the huge amount of targeted attacks against it. Instead, he pointed to, a website maintaining a list of free and open source PDF viewers."

Slice and Dice PDF Linux Journal

Using poppler-tools and psutils, you can extract a range of pages from a larger PDF file. For example, if you want to extract pages 11–14 of the PDF file afile.pdf, you could use the following command:

$ pdftops afile.pdf - | psselect -p11-14 | ps2pdf - file-p11-14.pdf

The pdftops command converts the PDF file to PostScript; the psselect command selects the relevant pages from the PostScript, and the ps2pdf command converts the selected PostScript into a new PDF file.

[Aug 23, 2008] How to convert PDF files to HTML or XML files in openSUSE SUSE & openSUSE

Converting a PDF file into an HTML or a XML file has been made easy by a small useful utility called PDFTOHTML. PdftoHTml is a Xpdf based tool which can convert PDF files to HTML or XML format. PDFTOHTML also supports encrypted files and support for images in the PDF file by converting to PNG images files.

PDF import and hybrid PDFs as a new extension - Ninja

The extension installs as easily as any or Firefox extension. extensions cannot register file associations with the operating system (though you can set them up manually), but importing a PDF is as simple as clicking on File and then Open. The import process takes a long time compared to opening an document because of the necessary guesswork caused by the limitations of PDF.

For a test, I exported ODF_text_reference_v1_1.odt from and imported it again. When the initial screen appeared with the results, I stared at it in disbelief. It looked just like the original. The text, layout, font faces, text colors, bold, italics, underline, and picture were well preserved.

Below are the original in Writer and the imported document in Draw. Doesn't it take more than a glance to identify which is the original?

Alternative PDF import did not pioneer PDF import-not even in the open source market. Some of the work in is done by xpdf, a PDF viewer. To import PDFs, open source alternatives include pdftohtml, Abiword, KWord, and Inkscape. There are also a host of proprietary applications.

Depending on your needs, there are other ways to import PDFs into To import PDFs into Writer or Impress, you may be able to combine the new PDF import extension with copy and paste. If you just need to extract text, copy the text in Adobe Acrobat Reader and paste it into This retains some formatting.

[Mar 21, 2008] PHP html2ps 2.0.41 (Stable) by Konstantin

About: html2ps is a PHP equivalent of the popular Perl script by the same name that accurately converts HTML with images, complex tables (including rowspan/colspan), layers/divs, and CSS styles to Postscript and PDF. Unlike most other HTML2PS/HTML2PDF converters, it offers good CSS 2.1 support and is very tolerant to non-valid HTML. It can convert even CSS-intense sites like and

Changes: A large number of layout engine fixes and improvements were made.

[Mar 13, 2008] pisa 3.0.15 by spirito

About: pisa converts HTML to PDF using the ReportLab Toolkit, the HTML5lib, and pyPdf. It supports HTML 5 and CSS 2.1 (and some of CSS 3). The main benefit of this tool that a user with Web skills like HTML and CSS is able to generate PDF templates very quickly without learning new technologies.

Changes: New features: barcode and a table of contents. Many bugfixes. Better CSS support.

[Jan 18, 2008] Project details for pdf2djvu by Jakub Wilk

pdf2djvu 0.4.2

About: pdf2djvu creates DjVu files from PDF files. It's able to extract: graphics, text layer, hyperlinks, document outline (bookmarks), and metadata.

[Jan 07, 2008] The Final CES Keynote From Bill Gates

It's sad that Adobe owns Flash :-(

Silverlight is Microsoft's answer to Flash, more or less. It's supposed to make Web applications more GUI-like and introduce fancy things like 3D graphics and advanced user interfaces to Web applications.

... ... ...

Not really... they serve similar goals, but its really MS's way of getting the (MUCH more powerful) .NET development environment in the hands of rich client content web developers.

The uptake is slow, but IMO its really a better technology than Flash. It gives far better language tools to the programmers and provides much better separation of design, interface and code where doing larger projects with bigger teams will be easier.

Silverlight 1.0 was very flash-like -- the framework wasn't fully fleshed out as far as what you could present to the user, but the newer releases provide full GUI toolkits.

Lets put it this way -- you wouldn't (no matter what Adobe thinks) build an enterprise application with Flash. Some smaller teams may play around with it, but it wouldn't happen successfully in the broad market. I personally don't believe the same can be said about Silverlight.

Easy PDF to Text Converter 2.0.4 - Easy PDF to Text Converter 2.0.4 Download Page - Convert PDF documents to Text documents.


Easy PDF to TEXT converter is a must have tool for document authors creating a lot of editable text based on existing PDF documents and citing other writings presented as PDF documents. It has the exact layout and formatting that enables you convert PDF to TEXT preserving original layout, it also can autorecognize the rotated pages and save results optimized for convenient reading and editing. You can convert PDF documents containing text in different languages, such as: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech, Russian, Slovenian, Swedish, Danish, Greek. Also, PDF to TEXT converter allows you specify your PDF documents password prior to converting password-protected PDF files to text.

PDF Plain Text Extractor - Convert pdf to text

1. The layout of pdf document is preserved.
2. Don't need any third party products(such as Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Acrobat reader)
3. Support LZW encoded pdf documents.
4. Supports English, French, German, Italian and other languages.
5. You can Drag&Drop pdf document to finish conversion.
6. Can convert the whole folder( recursive or not)
7. Can convert pdf files from different location of your hard drives at one time.
8. Can save your converting pdf file list for future use.
9. Can output page ranges of the document.
10. Can set the page break string to separate pages.
11. Can set output page number with page break string.
12. Can browse the pdf file's information(Title/Auther/Create date...) through graphic user interface.
13. Have the option to output pdf file's information to the output text file.
14. Can set the output folder for individual pdf file or all the pdf files in the converting list.
15. Support Unicode, muliti-bytes languages.
16. Support Type0, Type1, Type3, TrueType, CIDFont fonts.

[Dec 29, 2007] Slashdot Adobe Quietly Monitoring Software Use

"For months, users of Adobe Creative Suite 3 have been wondering why some of the applications regularly connect to what looks like a private IP address but is actually a public domain address belonging to the web analytics company Omniture. Now allegations of user spying are getting louder, prompting Adobe Photoshop product manager John Nack to respond, though many remain unsatisfied with his explanation."

Lies, Lies and Adobe Spies

Yes, I am a tin foil hat guy. The sky is falling, the NSA is listening and Adobe is watching how many times you open your programs. Okay, the first two can't be PROVEN but I can show you that Adobe is spying on users application habits.

When you launch a CS3 application the application pings out to what looks like an IP address - and internal IP address:

That makes sense, right? Adobe wants to be sure you aren't running multiple copies of their programs…. Wait something is wrong here.

The first clue something is fishy is that I don't use a numbering scheme in my network. Secondly, if you look at the address Little Snitch is displaying, the last "numbers" of the IP address (2O7) look funny. Also, IP address don't end in any .com/net/org suffix.

Turns out that is owned by Omniture, a huge behavioral analytics firm. Hmmmmmm, anybody curious why Adobe is doing this? Anybody care to sniff packets? I sense an invasion of privacy here!

Update Adobe Replies To Privacy Spy Concerns CenterNetworks - Web 2.0 News, Opinions and Insights from New York

Subject: I have no problem with Adobe

I have no problem with Adobe phoning home - a lot of apps do it. The biggest issue for me: why Adobe is trying to hide the fact.

I can't wait for their response which we can all guarantee will be BS. It's apparent the feeble attempt at cloaking this is intentional - best thing they can do is fess up to it.

Subject: 'phoning home' not a problem?

I find it somewhat disturbing, Michael, that you have no problem with software phoning home. Now it might be completely innocuous - perhaps something as simple as polling for an update (a quick HTTP request of a file which is then checked, if you will); but in the end, at the very least your IP address and typically thus location + time are then logged by some server... and for no particularly good reason unless you -wanted- it to do so.
However, a lot of software that 'phones home' sends more than just an HTTP request. It might send some personal data, usage statistics, set/check/track cookies, etc.
Think Microsoft's earlier plans for WGA - phone home regularly, if something is amiss then toss Windows into a reduced functionality mode.. the chances of false positives having made them change their mind on that for the most part.

I'm part of a software development company, and all of our functionality that automatically accesses the internet is:
1. disabled by default
2. easily enabled/disabled by the user from a central location
3. documented in its own documentation appendix on:
3.1 what it sends (i.e. default things like HTTP GET headers as well as whatever custom data we send)
3.2 why it has to send what it sends
3.3 where it sends it
3.4 how to disable it
3.5 what it retrieves
3.6 why it retrieves it
4. In its basic network traffic, entirely clear on what it connects to (e.g. "", and "")

All of the rest of the internet-accessing functionality is non-automatic and thus always opt-in; the user choosing the option being explicit consent.

I like to think that we're doing the right thing there.

Re:Don't yet have the full story (Score:4, Interesting)

by fermion (181285) on Saturday December 29, @07:08PM (#21852376) Journal

It is not a misleading server name, at least not anymore. Cognizant web users know, or whatever, is the cookie tracking site, and mostly blocks them. This company though legitimate, does smell of sleaze. It was one of the first companies to use such social confusion, replacement of the '0' with 'o' so that in the days when one manually entered the domains to block, they would block the wrong domain. They are legitimate, and companies that work with them are legitimate, but the original sleaze factor is always there, and is obviously going to be transferred to clients.

This then leads to the question of why Adobe is using them for applications, which leads to think what has been acquired in the past year or so. I know. Macromedia. You know, that company that produces complicated resources hogging web content that unlike other resource hogging content cannot be filtered by most web browsers. I had hoped that Adobe might soften the rules and ship a flash player that was less user hostile, but no such new player exists. So, can we presume that instead of the user friendly Adobe culture positively affecting the old macromedia products, that the end user hostile macromedia culture is infecting the adobe products.

OTOH, this product is a web design product, and most web designers get their money from ad revenue, so I would hardly think that the users of the product would have much problem with working with 2o7, kind of a necessary evil sort of thing. I can't imagine why adobe would use them at the design level, but overall I agree that it will be of no big deal to users of the product.

To me, it is another step in the downfall of Adobe. *Not* (Score:5, Informative)

by Zymergy (803632) * on Saturday December 29, @04:53PM (#21851486)

Clarification: That is ...'' as in '' *NOT* ''

The Opt-Out "Explanation" page is here: []

Still, the dubious address [] appears to be some variation of Social Engineering. []

This might explain some of Adobe's seeming software bloating (like Acrobat Reader, etc...) []

    • *Not* (Score:4, Interesting)

      by azrider (918631) on Saturday December 29, @06:00PM (#21851976)

      Omniture's Opt-Out Policy:

      We offer visitors to certain of our customers' websites a means for controlling the use of session information with respect to the Omniture SiteCatalyst, Omniture DataWarehouse, Omniture Discover and Omniture SearchCenter products using cookies set from Omniture's domain (i.e. that use the cookie to facilitate data collection). If, at any time a customer's website visitor does not wish to allow his/her session visitation information to be aggregated and analyzed by Omniture on such customer sites, he/she may utilize the following opt out mechanism. For customers that use non-Omniture cookies to collect data on their websites, please review the privacy disclosures of such customers for specific details on any and all applicable opt outs on such sites.
      It was noted in one of the linked articles that the opt-out action sets a cookie on your machine. If you delete this cookie, you have just opted back in.

      So let me get this straight. In order to tell Omniture not to do anything on my machine, I have to give Omniture access to my machine. What sort of half-assed policy is this?

  • Phisher's Delight (Score:5, Informative)

    by bobdotorg (598873) on Saturday December 29, @04:57PM (#21851512)

    In an updated post: []
    the Adobe guy says:
    the objections seem to center not so much on whether Adobe apps are contacting a server, but rather that the server is named ","

    Note the letter O instead of a zero. is registered to Omniture.

    WTF? If Little Snitch told me that some app was trying to connect to I would assume it was compromised, and would be debating a complete clean system reinstall of OSX. Masquerading as an IP from my home DHCP server? Are they serious? From Nigeria? Romania?

    Again, WTF?

    P.S. for those of you who have not set up a LAN, is typically an IP address for an internal LAN, not something out on the Web.

    • Re:Phisher's Delight (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday December 29, @05:32PM (#21851756)

      P.S. for those of you who have not set up a LAN, is typically an IP address for an internal LAN, not something out on the Web.

      More to the point, the 192.168.x.x address range is one of several that are specifically intended to be non-routable on the Internet. Many people know this, even those who aren't otherwise that network-savvy. This is a blatant attempt to make the address appear safe ("well, I dunno what it's doing, but at least it's only sending to address on my LAN!") Not what one should expect from a major software house, but unfortunately, it is what we are all coming to expect from everyone in the business. Doesn't much matter what they're actually sending to Omni-whatever ... the fact that they're sending anything at all is very bad. Nothing on my system is their business, unless I say it is. Period.

      You know, this reminds of something that Jack Valenti once said (about the only thing that sociopath ever said that I agree with): "Just because technology lets us do something, it doesn't mean we should." Now, he was referring to the copying and downloading of DVDs, but his point is still valid. We're seeing too many companies set up to serve larger organizations (Omniture, MediaSentry) using the Internet in unethical if not outright illegal ways. Presumably, this is so the corporation hiring them (in this case, Adobe) has some plausible deniability.

  • Adobe needs competition. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by owlnation (858981) on Saturday December 29, @05:53PM (#21851918)

    Competition. That's the only solution to this. Adobe has become a very arrogant and supply-side centric company over the past few years. Or rather, an even more arrogant company than it always was.

    It has almost no competition in most markets it trades in. Where it did have competition, it bought it out with the Macromedia purchase. That's a problem. It's not just this privacy/lying issue, it's price fixing, it's bloated features, it's the product delays (the universal binary versions), it's the (a la Microsoft) packaged versions that make it hard to get standalone versions.

    I use Adobe Software every day (always firmly controlled by Little Snitch from install I may add). I don't like using it, it is not the best they can do, but it is the best available. I use it, but I will jump ship tomorrow.

    I really, really, really want to use products from a better company. Surely there MUST be developers out there who can make better products than Adobe.

[Dec 3, 2007] GNU PDF to fill missing gap in functionality By Bruce Byfield

November 29, 2007 |

For many average users, GNU/Linux support for PDF files may seem reasonably advanced. They can create PDF files in programs like, read them with programs like Kpdf, and edit them in programs like pdftk or PDFedit. But that's not the whole story, says José Marchesi, founder of the recently created GNU PDF project. "Unfortunately, there are a lot of missing features in the existing free implementations," he says. That's the main reason why the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has declared GNU PDF a high priority project, and is actively seeking donations to speed its progress.

Marchesi is a long-time support of the GNU Project, the umbrella organization for free software projects connected to the FSF. In 1999, he founded GNU Spain, and he later assisted in the creation of GNU Italy and GNU Mexico. He has also contributed to GNU Ghostscript, GNU gv, and GNU Ferret, the first two of which provide support for both PDF and the closely related PostScript format. In addition, Marchesi performs what he calls "random works" in the GNU Project, such as writing internal code and editing Web pages as needed.

Marchesi says he first became aware of the need for better free PDF support a few years ago in his role as maintainer of gv. In December 2005, Marchesi tried to update the Ghostscript PDF interpreter that gv uses, only to find it was technically impractical. The solution, he decided, was to attack the problem at a more basic level, and, after he discussed the problem with members of the FSF and GNU Project, GNU PDF was born.

The reasons for a new PDF project

According to Marchesi, full support for PDF is urgent for a number of reasons, both technical and political.

On the technical level, once Marchesi started investigating, he discovered a great deal of PDF functionality that is either missing or incomplete: "interactive features (forms, annotations), the management of embedded contents (sounds and movies), execution of JavaScript to perform forms validation, 3-D artwork, accessibility, Web capturing, [and] management of document collections."

Many users are unaware of these lacks, either because they never use such features or because, Marchesi says, "The PDF standard is quite careful when providing backward compatibility: When a PDF consumer application (such as a viewer) finds an unknown construct (such as 3-D artwork), it can (and should) ignore it. But in fact you may be missing information."

The GNU Project would like to see a full implementation of the upcoming ISO 32000 standard for PDF. Despite the increasing frequency with which PDF is used for corporate and academic purposes, all software that provides the highest levels of support for the ISO standard is proprietary, which means that, without a concerted effort, free software users could be left behind.

Marchesi also says, "We want a GPLv3 implementation of PDF. Almost all of the existing alternatives are licensed under GPLv2 only." Besides the obvious credibility involved in having the new version of the license used, no doubt an important consideration is the conviction that a GPLv3 program will provide greater protection of users' freedoms.

The approach

Marchesi considered adding the missing functionality to existing free PDF libraries, the project quickly discovered that this idea was impractical, given GNU PDF's engineering goals.

"Our objective is to provide the same level of PDF support as Adobe [Acrobat]," Marchesi says, referring to the leading proprietary PDF program. "So we need a general and complete library that provides enough functionality to build an Acrobat-like program on top of it. This requires capabilities to both read and manipulate PDF files in an integrated library. None of the existing free implementations provides that [integration]. Some of them are designed to provide rasterization of PDF pages, such as Ghostscript, Xpdf, and Poppler, while others are designed to provide facilities for PDF manipulation, such as PoDoFo." Each is suitable for its particular purposes, but not for the integrated support envisioned by GNU PDF.

GNU PDF's first goal is to write a library in the C programming language "intended to be used by both PDF consumer and PDF product applications," Marchesi says. "The library will be similar to the Adobe PDF Library, providing access to several layers of abstraction. In this way, the library will be useful for many kinds of applications, not just viewers."

The next step will be to write an application that has already been labelled GNU Juggler, "an Acrobat-like application on top of the library." GNU Juggler, Marchesi says, "will be a specialized PDF viewer and editor." To help with the application's creation, a member of GNU PDF project is already performing a functional analysis of the latest edition of Acrobat Professional, Adobe's flagship PDF product, in order to reverse-engineer it.

One thing GNU PDF will not have to do is write a graphics library. Project members have already concluded that they can use libcairo. The members of the Cairo project are aware of GNU PDF, and some have already started discussing having the GNU PDF library being integrated with their work.

Realizing the project goals

The FSF has set up a Web page for donations to GNU PDF -- a first for any of its ongoing high-priority projects, although the FSF did briefly help collect pledges for the Free Ryzom campaign last year. However, Marchesi emphasizes that "we will go ahead with the project in any case." Donations would allow the project to hire full-time developers, instead of the volunteers more usual in a new free software project.

"To write the GNU PDF library and GNU Juggler is a really big task, and we want to do it really fast," Marchesi says. "It is crucial for us to have a free, complete, and high-quality implementation of the PDF standard as soon as possible."

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist who writes regularly for and IT Manager's Journal.

[Jan 30, 2007] Nuance Emerges as the Leading PDF Alternative to Adobe Acrobat, Surpassing One Million Seat Milestone

January 30, 2007 ( ) Nuance Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN), a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions, today announced that its "Better PDF for Business(TM)" solutions - PDF Create!, PDF Converter, PDF Converter Professional and PDF Edit Japanese Edition - have been deployed to more than one million desktops, and are by far the best-selling PDF alternatives to Adobe(R) Acrobat(R) desktop software worldwide.

The one million seat milestone is especially significant given that Nuance first introduced its PDF product family just over three years ago. PDF Converter, developed in collaboration with Microsoft, was the first-ever solution to convert PDF files into fully-formatted Microsoft Office Word documents, complete with text, columns, tables and graphics. The recently released PDF Converter Professional 4, now the flagship of Nuance's PDF product family, has also benefited from Nuance's ongoing collaboration with Microsoft, especially in the product's support for Windows Vista, the 2007 Microsoft Office system and the XML Paper Standard (XPS), a new same-as-paper electronic format recently put forward by Microsoft.

"Nuance's expertise in PDF conversion lays the groundwork for adding value to the 2007 Microsoft Office system," said Jacob Jaffe, director of Microsoft Office at Microsoft Corp. "As our customers expand their use of the 2007 Office system, we are pleased to see Nuance developing tools to increase productivity and allowing users of Microsoft Office to bring PDF documents into Word, Excel and XPS formats."

Organizations both large and small have discovered the power and benefits within Nuance's PDF applications, including Airbus, ALDA Pharmaceuticals Corp., Bayer Industry Services, Best, Best & Krieger, LLP, Credit Suisse Information Technology, Dassault, The Euro Tunnel, French Ministry of Economy and Finance, EOF Technologies, French Social Security, The Gillette Company, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Mitsubishi Hitec Paper, The National Institute of Health, Pfizer, Inc., Porsche, Siemens, Telefunken, Trend Micro, Volkswagen, and Wells Fargo.

acrotray.exe Windows process - What is it

AcroTray is a process to kill :-)
Process name: AcroTray

Product: AcroTray - Adobe Acrobat Distiller helper application.

Company: Adobe Systems Inc.

File: acrotray.exe

"acrotray.exe" is an Adobe Acrobat Distiller helper application.

Get more detailed information about acrotray.exe and all other running background processes with Security Task Manager.

Note: Any malware can be named anything - so you should check where the files of the running processes are located on your disk. If a "non-Microsoft" .exe file is located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder, then there is a high risk for a virus, spyware, trojan or worm infection! Check it out!

[Feb 6, 2007] Blah, Blah! Technology Adobe Premiere to debut .. again

Here's a comment by Kelly, taken from a post on a Digg article:

"Apple: We're offering you several technologies that will make Premiere much better. Please Use them.

Adobe: Microsoft doesn't offer these. We work to give parity to our software releases so your efforts don't help us.

Apple: Well then would you at least give performance parity with the Windows version?

Adobe: No real reason to. Windows is the future. Live with what you got.

Apple: Nearly half of your market is Macintosh users. If you don't do this you'll be sorry.

Adobe: How could we be sorry? We're the kings of video. Which current software company can change this?

Apple: We warned you... [introducing Final Cut Pro]

Adobe: Holy crap... we just lost our Mac customers!

Apple: Again... we warned you... many times.

Adobe: Holy crap, we're now starting to lose Windows customers to Final Cut Pro on Macintosh!!!

Apple: You only have yourselves to blame.

Adobe: OK... we're sorry. Here's the new Premiere you requested."

[Feb 6, 2007] Opinion of the opposite side: Adobe lovers (via email):

Sometimes Russians easily get really emotional and wrong ;-). Now i really need a good "I hate acrobat post" to compensate for emotional damage caused by reading such a letter unless the text below is from a fake Russian Actually I never suspected that there are real Russians (outside of those employed by Adobe but in such cases disclaimer is a must) who are eager to defend one of the absolutely worst offenders in terms of being bloatware and just generally God damned annoying software...
Your_name: Alex
Country: Russia

Sorry, but feedback button from that page leads to 404. Second sorry for the rude and emotional language. Nikolay Bezrukov is a noob that has a little knowledge about web design, syntax, gramma and designer's software. Why the hell that moron gives crap about Photoshop and Acrobat!? I will not bother to comment his nonsense about Photoshop replacements. That will be a waste of time. Besides somebody tell Nikolay to learn English. He uses "then" instead of "than" here and there.

[Dec 12, 2006] Download PDF4Free 2.00 - Free PDF creator, PDF writer and PDF converter for Windows NT4-2000-XP-2003. - Softpedia

Free PDF creator, PDF writer and PDF converter for Windows NT4/2000/XP/Server 2003.

This tool installs itself as a print driver, all you have to do is to click "Print" from your application to create PDF files with full hyperlinks support,up to 2540x2540 dpi printing resolution, custom paper size, PDF document informationt, font embedding, printing scaling, PDF compatibility support and more.
Other files can be converted to PDF filles.

PDF4Free is complete freeware PDF creator. Users may create PDF files as many as they want. However, the features of the software are limited to PDF creation with font embedding, title, subject, author, keyword information embedding.

The software is free ONLY for personal and noncommercial use. Anyone who wishes to use the software for business and commerce should purchase PDF4U family products.

All PDF documents created by PDF4Free will be tagged, i.e. PDF Creator - PDF4Free v2.0 will be tagged onto all the created PDF documents.
The sole purpose of the tag is to spread the free PDF creator software to more and more people.

[Sept 19, 2006] A low cost PDF alternative --'s comment on Much ado about Acrobat 8 TalkBack on ZDNet

A low cost PDF alternative

I stopped using Acrobat too (FWIW, activation was a nightmare of my computer as well)! I create lots of PDF forms and switched to Nitro PDF PRO. It basically has the same functionality as acrobat plus a few extras (like the neat automatic build bookmarks feature). It loads PDFs significantly faster than Acrobat - I was sold on this alone... Acrobat chewed up my memory usage.

[Sept 18, 2006] BetaNews Adobe Acrobat 8 Adds Conferencing By Nate Mook

September 18, 2006 (BetaNews)

Adobe on Monday introduced version 8 of its ubiquitous Acrobat PDF software as part of a minor update to its Creative Suite. The new release brings with it Web conferencing functionality incorporated from Macromedia Breeze.

In recent years, Adobe has endeavored to turn Acrobat from simple PDF creation software into a complete platform for digital publishing - even adding support for 3D imaging. Now, the company is looking to hook businesses with collaboration features.

In examples given by the company, Adobe says engineers can share product designs up and down the supply chain, while lawyers could circulate contracts for digital signatures and architects let clients review and markup blueprints. Built-in security will let users control what content can be shared and edited.

Large groups can collaborate on the creation of a single document by accessing it over a standard network share and using Adobe Reader. Acrobat 8 will also provide export functionality so content can be reused in other applications, Adobe said.

As part of the update, Adobe also rolled out its Acrobat Connect product that offers hosted meetings rooms. Connect was formerly known as Macromedia Breeze and utilizes Flash in a Web browser. The service will compete with the likes of GoTo Meeting and WebEx, with a subscription price of $39 per month or $395 per year. A version for businesses to deploy locally will additionally be offered, Adobe said.

Adobe Acrobat 8 will ship this November in Professional and Standard variants priced at $449 and $299 USD, respectively. Upgrades from previous Acrobat versions will cost $149 and $99 USD. Version 8 will also ship as part of Adobe Creative Suite 2.3, which now includes Dreamweaver 8.

Create PDF

The Pdf995 Suite offers the following features, all at no cost: • Automatic insertion of embedded links
• Hierarchical Bookmarks
• Support for Digital Signatures
• Support for Triple DES encryption
• Append Delete and Reorder PDF Pages
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• Asian and Cyrillic fonts
• Integration with Microsoft Word toolbar
• PDF Stationery
• Combining multiple PDF's into a single PDF
• Burst/Split PDFs
• Sticky Note Annotations
• Three auto-name options to bypass Save As dialog
• Imposition of Draft/Confidential stamps
• Support for large format architectural printing
• Convert PDF to JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PCX formats
• Convert PDF to text
Convert PDF to HTML and Word DOC conversion
• Automatic Table of Contents generang
• Support for Citrix/Terminal Server
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• Easy PS to PDF processing
• Specify PDF document properties
• Control PDF opening mode
• Support for shared network printing
• Dynamic Page and 'Bates' stamping
• RGB and CMYK colorspaces
• Page Rotation
• Free: Creates PDFs without annoying watermarks
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Convert PDF to HTML with Advanced PDF to HTML converter by IntraPDF

PDF format is becoming more and more popular among users. However, the problem of documents indexing of PDF files by search engines arises at this point. Many simple search engines do not index PDF documents, but rather just ignore them. We have a simple and convenient solution. Convert your PDF files to HTML using the PDF to HTML converter and easily integrate resulting HTML files in your existing web site structure. Converting PDF documents to HTML makes their contents more accessible and available for a larger target audience. Manipulating PDFs with the PDF Toolkit

Developer Sid Steward describes pdftk as the PDF equivalent of an "electronic staple remover, hole punch, binder, secret decoder ring, and X-ray glasses." That's a lot of functionality for a 4MB application, but the software delivers. Pdftk can join and split PDFs; pull single pages from a file; encrypt and decrypt PDF files; add, update, and export a PDF's metadata; export bookmarks to a text file; add or remove attachments to a PDF; fix a damaged PDF; and fill out PDF forms. In short, there's very little pdftk can't do when it comes to working with PDFs.

You can download pdftk 1.12 as source or as a Debian or RPM package, FreeBSD port, or Gentoo Ebuild. Binaries are available for Windows and Mac OS X too. If you decide to compile pdftk, as I did, check the build notes before you begin, in order to find out about any dependencies for your Linux distro or your platform. The compilation process only took a few minutes on my computer, and there were no hitches.

Pdftk is a command-line tool, and the syntax can be complicated, especially for complex actions such as removing specific pages from a PDF file. You can expect to do a lot of typing, but that shouldn't put you off using the tool.

[Aug 30, 2001] Computer News Graphics Guru Analyzes The GIMP

Although The GIMP is most popular in Linux circles because it is available under the same GNU open source license, it quickly gained acceptance in other operating environments through ports of the XWindows system.

Anyone who follows open source news has undoubtedly heard the proclamations from this community, suggesting that The Gimp -- among other open source graphics applications, -- has opened doors to operating systems such as Linux and BSD, as a means of expansion into the advertising and design sector.

Despite being a great admirer of Linux and similar Unix operating systems, I took these proclamations from the open-source community with a grain of salt, as my experience with Adobe's products has given me a bias toward the company's incredible implementations of the graphics applications I use on a daily basis.

GIMP to the Max

After the recent release of XDarwin, an XWindows port for Mac OS X, and Mac Gimp, I finally had a means of comparative analysis between The GIMP and Adobe's PhotoShop on my OS X machine. Only a few months earlier, my wife had requested that her iBook, with its dual-boot OS 9 and Linux PPC configuration, be limited to only OS 9 as a means of conserving space.

Before installation of the open-source graphics software, I admit my skepticism levels were extremely high, but after only an hour of experimentation with the software, I came away extremely impressed.

The GIMP not only employs a nearly identical feature set to PhotoShop's, navigation is a cinch because both programs' floating palettes are similar in nature. I was surprised to learn that I could open native Photoshop files within The GIMP and retain a file's layers as well as most of its layer filters. Alpha Channels, layer masks, clipping paths, a slew of filters and almost all the features I've known in PhotoShop were all available and at my disposal.

On the Other Hand

Along with the good, a handful of things did leave me disappointed. While I do expect these issues to be addressed in the near future -- as is the case with all open-source software -- the thing I immediately noticed was a lack of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) support. Until this issue is addressed, it will be the primary barrier to entry for acceptance in most mainstream graphics departments.

The second most notable necessity is a common clipboard between a user's primary interface (in my case OS X) and that of XWindows/XDarwin. It would have been wonderful if I could copy and paste files between OS X and XWindows applications. The only way I found to transfer files between the two is by saving the document to a file and re-opening it in the alternative graphics application. A common clipboard would be a great time saver.

Friendly Scripting

And last, although far less concerning than the other two, there is a need for a more user-friendly scripting system. Most graphics professionals haven't yet learned Perl or Python and have come to greatly appreciate PhotoShop's action script record feature.

The GIMP's Script-Fu and Perl-Fu are indeed powerful -- even more so than PhotoShop's implementation -- but as they are essentially a full scripting language, the power is all but entirely removed from most graphics professionals, who might be better suited to take advantage of easy-to-use scripting capabilities.

Almost There

While The GIMP may not yet be ready for the high demands of most advertising agencies, service bureaus or graphics production houses, due to its few high-end limitations, it's an ideal piece of software for the home user on a budget or a demanding art department with necessities involving Web or other monitor-only environments. And because open-source software is updated so frequently, we may see the issues I've addressed resolved in the coming months.

[Jul 26, 2001] Ulead PhotoImpact6 -Key Features

PhotoImpact 6 is the first image editor to address Web page creation. Edit images and create professional Web graphics. Then lay out, optimize and output as complete Web pages

[Jul 20, 2001] Boycott Adobe

[ May 30, 2001] ACTION ALERT

FYI -- There is a large debate about Adobe on other sections of this site. This is to alert all readers.

I'll put up an Adobe BBS for people to get together and talk about Adobe's choice to favor Windows over Mac users. We need to organize and take a stand. We need to find alternatives to Adobe products and as a group seek other software makers willing to invest in Mac users. I have been loyal to Adobe since 1990. No more. The train has left the station. I'll post the URL when ready. I run a Mac portal site that gets decent traffic so we can do this.

If Mac users get organized we can rally behind Macromedia, Corel and others and ask them to provide Adobe alternatives. We must take action now before it is too late.

Adobe WILL abandon the Mac community. They already have. Go to their home page ... as a Mac user you will find that you won't be able to use all of their products. The Mac community BUILT Adobe and this is the thanks we get. Adobe is ready to lauch all products for XP and only ONE for native use in OS X.

We MUST have an alternative to Photoshop. Corel and others are perhaps able to offer this. I don't know, but we must start shaking things up now. We need to let other software companies know in mass if they develop alternatives we will buy them.

I am sick and tired of being treated as a second-class citizen because I'm a Mac user. Companies like Ambrosia Software treat Mac users with the respect we deserve. Adobe has NO excuses in their lack of action with respect to OS X.

As someone posted elsewhere on this site, let all the Windows users use Adobe products and the real graphics talent move on to other products. Then, all the lame art done by desktop publishing Windows hacks will be associated with Adobe products. The real talent and top-notch work will be done on other apps. People getting a file done with an Adobe product will say, "that looks like **** ... its done on an Adobe product by a Windows hack ... what do you expect?"

Its time to take control. There are millions of us Mac users. We have power and we need to start using it. I will start with my company where I run the publishing dept. All future products will be non-Adobe. I will stick with Quark, upgrade to Freehand, switch to Dreamweaver, and start working on helping other developers come up with a Photoshop alternative.

Adobe has become Microsoft. Photoshop is like Windows ... its the standard ... time to find an alternative.

MacWEEK- Adobe sues Macromedia

Adobe Systems on Thursday announced that it has filed a federal lawsuit against Macromedia alleging that the latter has infringed a patent held by Adobe on tabbed palettes. Adobe filed the suit in the U.S. District Court of Delaware. Macromedia has denied the allegation, claiming that Adobe should not have been awarded the patent because it represents prior art.

Both companies use tabbed palettes--which make it easier for users to customize their interfaces--extensively in their products. Macromedia recently announced Flash 5, which inaugurates a user interface, including tabbed palettes, that will be common across all of the company's Web-publishing applications (see "Macromedia debuts Flash 5").

"We are taking this action now, after notifying Macromedia on several occasions that its products are infringing our patent," said Adobe president Bruce Chizen in a prepared statement. "The remedy sought is straightforward--we ask them to stop infringing our patents. Adobe will not be the R&D department for its competitors. Our patent and other aspects of our user interface are key to the user experience and functionality of our products; they are essential to differentiate our products and brand from others."

Adobe said it has established a Web site at to provide information about the patent. However, the site was inaccessible as of Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday afternoon, Macromedia issued the following statement to MacWEEK: "We are categorically denying the claims made in the Adobe lawsuit. We believe the claims made are without merit. Macromedia believes that the patent is invalid as it was obtained by not disclosing relevant prior art. Macromedia advised Adobe of this belief when first contacted by Adobe in 1996, and readvised them when last contacted in May 1999."

The lawsuit appears to escalate the long-standing rivalry between the two graphics software giants, which have several products that compete head-to-head against each other.

Slashdot Macromedia Bites Back Patent Style Versus Adobe

Re:Freehand? (Score:2)
by NMerriam ([email protected]) on Thursday September 28, @04:49PM EDT (#118)
(User #15122 Info)
Have I done any design work?

I remember Illustrator 88, and used to tile pages with hot wax to send to the printer (digital file? what's that?).

Although Adobe's UI has always been better than FH, FH has always had a few more powerful features than AI. Until recently you couldn't even use a TIFF in AI.

Despite having used AI professionally for about 15 years, I still can't figure out why the selection tool and the direct selection tool are two separate tools. FH manages to do exactly the same job with just one, single, selection tool. And they introduced drag-and-drop color editing, as well as the live blending their current patent case is talking about. And they've always had a better autotrace tool (though since Adobe stopped trying to push Streamline so much they seem to have improved AI's).

So yes, I've done some design work with just about every version of FH and AI since they have been commercially available. Whle the Adobe UI is better, FH has won on features for about a decade now (as well as most magazine review shootouts)...

I'm an investigator. I followed a trail there.
Q.Tell me what the trail was.
A.I read about it on Slashdot

ZDNet d e v e l o p e r In Your Face - Adobe vs. Macromedia

On August 10, 2000, Adobe filed a lawsuit with Macromedia alleging a patent infringement involving the use of tabbed and dockable palettes in the latest release of Macromedia's authoring program, Flash 5.0. According to Adobe, the new Flash U.I. (User Interface) employs interface configurations that were invented by Adobe and implemented in their flagship product, PhotoShop 5.5. They have stated their case quite dramatically on their Web site and have requested that Macromedia "stop the proliferation of the patent infringement throughout (their) product line."

Now, if one is to consult the oracles of the newsgroups, Adobe has committed a sinful blunder by biting the hand that feeds them, i.e. the developers. According to developers, if you are going to make things more difficult for us by creating an environment where there are no standards, where each software application comes with its own proprietary tool set, where innovation is isolated and operates within a legal vacuum, then we are going to get really pissed off.

We are going to boycott you.

However, Adobe's protection of their interface is certainly not an attempt to make a developer's job more difficult. And I don't think it is simply a matter of Adobe creating FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) within the marketplace. It is a competitive maneuver for sure, but it is based on the fact that software publishers may no longer be in the business of selling software, so much as selling the interface.

[eBook-List] Adobe

OK, late yesterday I e-mailed [email protected] about this "read aloud" foolishness. I've been defending them, and I wanted see the company take on this issue. I explained that I've seen a lot of web columns decrying the "read aloud" thing. I asked "is this a software setting and are they doing anything to defuse this rumor?"

The response was:

"The read aloud feature is just a function of the software and it seems that the problem is that many E-Zines are speculating in order to self-promote. All that line means (and it is not unique to the Alice
book) is that the E-Book won't support the "read aloud" feature. Some of these articles have been amended and some have not bothered to do so."

Unfortunately, the interesting question - what are they doing to fix the PR problem - was not addressed and is really outside the scope of support.

This took me about two man-minutes to write the e-mail and a few hours to get the response. Is it beyond the columnists who are writing about this flap to be responsible grownup journalists and
make some effort to check their facts? One possible explanation that "not being allowed to read ALICE aloud to your kids" seems so crazy is that it isn't factually correct. That this thing is being passed
along as fact shows to me the fundamental sloppiness of the passers.

To believe this flap requires that you believe this "read aloud" thing is a binding license on the user. To see it in the first place, you call up the "Info" on a particular title. Under that is a "Permisssions" button, which lists your states on whether you are allowed to Copy, Print, Lend, Give, and Read Aloud. To interpret this as a license on the user and not the state of the UI requires some weird thinking. If it is a license on the user, why is it buried deep inside obscure nested dialogs where most folks would normally never even see it? Is that typically where you put the EULA or important terms of use? Who for one second believes that any software company or book company even cares whether or not you read it aloud or whether your lips move when you read?

Yes, Adobe has screwed up big time, both in allowing this to be ambiguous and for not taking the lead on PR and thus letting it ferment into a big stinky mess. That does not excuse anyone for spreading an urban legend that makes as much sense as the "Microsoft e-mail tracking" thing of a few years back.


Adobe versus Bill

FOLKS, THE BIGGEST MISTAKE I ever made in my entire creative life was to sign a contract with Adobe Systems Inc. I'd have been better off to have climbed into bed with a bloodsucking tarantula. There's no time to go into the details now, but, for the curious, here's a link to the text, of Adobe's March 1, 2000 letter, and here's a link to a high-res gif of the letter. Thanks to my friends at Adobe PR, for the copy of Adobe GoLive 4.0 with which this page was constructed; and thanks to Donna Kolnes for finally managing to get this letter to me on June 16th. (Donna, you could have walked it over here faster.) The long and the short of it is, if you're thinking of signing a contract with Adobe, think twice, and then, perhaps, think twice again. This corporation's attitude to creative artists goes much further than lack of respect-scratch the surface and you might be tempted to call them hostile. I wonder-is it too soon to start thinking about a boycott?

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Alternatives to Acrobat Reader

xpdf View PDF files on X-Windows. By Derek B. Noonburg. GNU license software, faster and more reliable than Acrobat Reader Email to [email protected]

Alternatives to Acrobat

Harlequin Ships JAWS PDF Creator v2.0, The Affordable And Easy-To-Use Alternative To Adobe Acrobat PDF File Generation. - Press Release - 28-02-2001 163000

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PStill - PostScript-EPS to PDF Converter

To get Ghostscript (PS Interpreter/PDF creator and viewer) follow this link:

Adobe Photoshop Alternatives

Adobe Illustrator is widely accepted as the industry standard, but CorelDraw offers more flexibility. Drawing tools are easy to use and provide great control over the shape and placement of objects. A new hierarchical Object Manager conveniently organizes layers, objects, and master layers, while the Page Sorter offers drag-and-drop management of multiple-page documents. I've got to disagree that Photoshop is easy to use on a day-to-day basis. Let me give two examples of common operations.

1. Clone out dust spots. You need to select rubber-stamp distance with ALT-click first. Micrografx PicturePublisher already has a default distance set, making dust clone-out much quicker.

2. Blur blue sky grain. This is best done by magic wand selection, then Expand 1-2 pixels, then Contract 2-3 pixels, then blur, then Contract 1, then blur, then repeated iteration. Oy this is painful, with Expand and Contract hidden several menu levels down.

Some folks on Usenet, for example Michael Greer, have tried both Photoshop and PhotoPaint, and decided to use Corel. If a person is not a Macintosh lover, the Corel interface may seem more familiar. Personally I have not tried PhotoPaint, but for digital photography (not offset printing) I prefer PicturePublisher to Photoshop. Of course Photoshop is the obvious choice for publishing.

A plethora alternative graphic packages is available for the Mac and PC, but CorelDraw offers the best combination of performance and value for nonprofessionals. This single package contains a full-featured drawing program, the image-editing app Corel Photo-Paint, and an enormous collection of clip art and fonts. Many other relatively expensive and specialized graphics apps, such as Corel's Painter, Macromedia FreeHand, and Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator, are either drawing apps or photo-editing apps, but not both.

Although Mac price of CorelDraw ($695) is expensive, in reality, almost anyone can qualify to buy it at the competitive upgrade price. Corel offers a CorelDraw upgrade for $149 to anyone who wishes to switch from other selected graphics apps, including AppleWorks (which ships on new iMacs and iBooks). For that price, you get a package that has evolved from a clunky Windows transplant to a truly Mac-like application. With its support for PostScript printers and its high-end color output, CorelDraw will now please graphics professionals, as well as home and SOHO users.

Graphics Design

Jam-packed with the most graphics tools and features in a single product, CorelDraw 10 Graphics Suite doesn't sacrifice quality for quantity. This product includes a proficient image editor (Corel Photo-Paint 10), an excellent illustration program (CorelDraw 10), animation software (Corel R.A.V.E.), a variety of useful utilities, and a vast library of clip art.

The three main programs -- sporting similar tools and options -- are full-featured and well integrated with one another. And among the products in this round up, they are also the easiest applications to use. All controls, colors, and options are at your fingertips. Floating palettes may be docked as tabs, and tool options are displayed in the property bar at the top of the screen.

... ... ...

Creating the exact look you want is quick and simple, thanks to drag-and-drop tools for applying properties such as transparency, drop shadows, and blends. All of these properties can also be created in numerical dialogs.

CorelDraw's text tools are top-notch, providing desktop-publishing controls for laying out and formatting text. Text and paths remain editable on-screen, and the Print Merge wizard helps you place fields for merging your document with a database.

... ... ...

The suite includes a variety of Web tools, though it isn't on the same level as Macromedia Fireworks 4. There are tools for creating rollover buttons and image maps. When optimizing images for the Web, there are side-by-side previews for comparison. But the tools are limited. For example, you cannot copy and paste JavaScript or HTML code through the Windows Clipboard.

We were impressed with the new color management interface, which is logical and accurate. When we printed the document, the colors perfectly matched those on our monitor. The print dialog is very advanced and includes tabs for Prepress, Postscript, Separations, and Preflight. Save for Service Bureau gathers all related files and can apply profiles provided by a service bureau.

... ... ...

Unlike Photoshop, which is unabashedly bitmap-oriented, Fireworks seamlessly integrates vector and raster graphics. By default, the program opens in vector mode, but selecting certain tools automatically flips you into bitmap mode (you can also switch explicitly by selecting the bitmap itself). The basic workflow consists of creating objects using the geometric shapes, text, or path tools, applying effects such as bevels or glows, organizing the objects with the Layers panel, adding the glitz -- rollovers, animations, and hotspots -- and then exporting the objects for use in a Web-site-creation program such as Dreamweaver.

Effects in Fireworks are live, which means that they may be toggled on and off, reordered and edited on the fly via the Effects panel. Such effects range from basic color adjustment (brightness, contrast, levels, hue, saturation) to fancy bevels, embossing, glows and motion trails. Fireworks can also use Photoshop plug-ins and save custom effects as styles. The latter is a nice touch -- too bad it's so difficult to edit saved styles.

Fireworks 4 introduces drag and drop to create rollovers, but we frankly found the implementation a bit strange. Those not up to speed on slices will unfortunately discover that Fireworks relies on slices for many activities, including rollover and pop-up menu creation. In Fireworks, you assign interactivity to slices, rather than objects. For example, to create a rollover by drag-and-drop, you drag the slice's behavior handle to another image in a separate frame. We think using the Behaviors panel to create rollovers is simpler, but each to his or her own.

We were duly impressed with the neat Pop-up Menu feature for quickly creating lists of links that appear when a mouse moves over the area. Somewhat Wizard-like in implementation, the two dialog boxes let you enter text and URLs and then set the color of the text and background cells. Once you've finished, the cells can be repositioned by dragging on the slice's central handle. Like rollovers, you have to insert a slice before you can create the menu object.

We liked the live-animation feature, which makes it dead simple to generate prancing logos and bouncing buttons via a single menu command. Fireworks automatically creates the number of requested animation frames and adjusts the movement, rotation, direction, opacity and scaling as you specify in the Animate dialog box. Each frame holds a "snapshot" of the object at a point along the animation path, and you can change any attribute of the object by selecting the appropriate frame and making adjustments. The direction of the path itself may also be modified, but nonlinear movement or other complex animation sequences are not supported.

Another area where Fireworks excels is global find and replace. With this panel, you can locate and change colors (including non-Web 216 colors), text and URLs anywhere in your document. This handy feature is not the only labor-saving device in version 4 -- Macromedia also has added powerful batch processing. With this feature, files may be converted to another format with different optimization settings; scaled, renamed and even globally searched for replacing fonts, colors and URLs. We especially liked the fact that files can be batched from different folders, a feature that Photoshop lacks. And, like Photoshop, Fireworks sports a History panel that records all the steps taken during a session and provides the means to save a list to a file for use at another time.

Fireworks's output options are not for the faint of heart. You can specify every conceivable parameter: extensions, HTML and spacer style, empty cell color and contents, slice naming convention, not to mention the various optimization settings for GIF, PNG and JPEG file formats. Like Photoshop, the program offers a selective JPEG compression that compacts only selected portions of your image, creating a nice compromise between image quality and file size. In addition, files may be saved in a variety of other formats -- Macromedia Director, Photoshop, Lotus Domino Designer, Wireless Bitmap and CSS (cascading style sheets). Fortunately, Fireworks includes an export Wizard that automatically selects the best format for the document based on the end use (Web, print and so on) and lets you preview and edit the results.

Version 4 is indisputably elegant, but more importantly, it's the most powerful Web-graphic-creation program we've ever used. Professional Web developers should definitely consider Fireworks as a first-line application. But even casual users will find this program makes it easy to produce top-quality Internet imagery.

Plugins 101

One of the most common Paintshop questions is "Can I use Adobe Photoshop filters with Paintshop?". The resounding answer is YES! But it takes a little bit of fiddling to get there, nothing too complicated though.

Firstly, why should you? Well, because there are a wide range of filters available which are Adobe Photoshop compatible. These filters offer everything from simple, "must have" tools, such as button makers, through to complex effects such as painting, lens flares and much, much more.

Secondly, where do you get these filters from? Adobe Photoshop has a fairly wide range included in it. Now, the thing is you don't need to buy the full product to get the filters. Most of them are available in the demo version you can download from the web or get on CD. We'll list a bunch of useful locations later.


On Trial

The verdict: Is Adobe a software thug?
July 27, 2001 12:00 AM ET
by UpsideToday Staff

The defendant

  • Adobe Systems (ADBE)

    The charges

  • Adopting a brutal, thuggish stance toward computer programmers
  • Trammeling free speech

    Judge's commentary

    This trial was, as they say, over before it started. Just as the prosecution said they would, hackers picketed the defendant's headquarters Monday. Before that day was over, Adobe had joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation in calling for the release of Dmitry Sklyarov, the Russian programmer whose hacking sparked this case. (See Adobe, EFF call for release of Russian programmer.)

    "The prosecution of this individual in this particular case is not conducive to the best interests of any of the parties involved or the industry," Adobe General Counsel Colleen Pouliot said in a press release.

    Still, Adobe reiterated its support for the additions made to copyright law in 1998 and said it was glad Sklyarov's company was no longer selling its e-book circumvention program in the U.S.

    Members of our jury overwhelmingly felt that Adobe acted thuggishly and ran roughshod over free speech, finding the company guilty by a margin wider than 80 percent on both counts. Jurors were passionate in their indictment of the company, calling its actions antithetical to basic liberal ideals and human rights, commercially stupid and generally un-American. They threatened to unload their Adobe stock, stop buying the company's products and urge others to follow their example.

    They also objected vociferously to the idea that Sklyarov's computer cracking was a crime and that his prosecution was a move to protect vital intellectual property rights.

    "Last I heard, free speech gives the right to sell ingredients for explosives, to describe techniques on manufacturing drugs or bombs, and folks have the right to blow up their own safe if they want," wrote Juror Tunesmith. "It's actually selling the drugs, robbing the bank, selling the stolen goods that is illegal - and Elcomsoft [Sklyarov's company] doesn't sell pirated ebooks."

    Juror Jim Hillhouse agreed.

    "If I have a security system on my house or a new lock installed on my front door, naturally I do not want individuals randomly entering my premises by thwarting my installed security systems," he wrote, addressing a comparison made in Adobe's defense between code cracking and burglary. "However, if an individual has information that brings to light the weaknesses of my new security system or door lock, I certainly want that person to be free to pursue research and to discuss the findings of such research in the discovery of those weaknesses." (Read the juror's full statement.)

    Indeed, many jurors said that hacking in the quest for technical excellence, rather than for the purpose of illegally obtaining a particular piece of information, like an e-book, should not be a crime in the first place.

    "Intent is the key," wrote Juror David N. Cicalo. "Was the intent of the hacker [to prove] that a given encryption is faulty and breakable or was his intent to cause harm or destruction? Clearly, Sklyarov wanted to demonstrate the weakness in Adobe's encryption and not promote the hacking of Adobe software. The law must always take intent into consideration in it's application thereof." (Read the juror's full statement.

    Juror Guilty put things more bluntly: "Adobe is not protecting its own copyright," the juror wrote. "It is protecting its own inability to protect the copyright of people who use its products. The emperor wears no clothes." (Read the juror's full statement.)

    Juror Chris Tembreull agreed with the prosecution that Adobe is more likely to be able to improve its software if it works with responsible hackers rather than have them arrested. "The [r]ight' to sue anyone who cracks a company's halfhearted, shoddy security and/or software removes any impetus that company might have to improve upon that security or software. It's security-via-punishment, which will not work." (Read the juror's full statement.)

    For all the outcry against Adobe, there was a vocal minority of jurors who saw the arrest of Sklyarov as an important bulwark against anarchy and piracy. Just because a security measure can be broken doesn't mean it should be they said, echoing the defense. Besides, the law is the law -- it cannot be broken just because someone disagrees with it.

    "This is not about e-books," wrote Juror Anon. "This is about national security (no joke). Any piece of software can be hacked, it happens all the time, people just need to be motivated enough. Go back to World War II. How long did top code crackers spend decoding German codes? Months! This is exactly the same. Any code can be cracked and it's up to governments to control and prosecute to keep them under wraps." (Read the juror's full statement.)

    Juror Peter said it is not national security that's at stake so much as individual liberty. In the end, he said, the freedom to make a living through creative expression is at stake in this case. "Adobe is defending its own copyright, [while] the government is defending the free speech and copyright of thousands of journalists and authors," the juror wrote. (Read the juror's full statement.)

    Finally, Andrei Volgin wrote in to say that Sklyarov's software is not, in fact, legal in his mother country. "Breaking software code and violating software publishers' copyright is illegal in Russia. Russian Criminal Code provides for up to 5 years in prison for this kind of crime." (Read the juror's full statement.)

    The verdict

    Despite a few objections, our jurors spoke with a resounding voice. The defendant is found guilty on both counts and sentenced to a future of mediocrity in the e-publishing business. Court adjourned.

    Disclaimer: This article represents an entirely fictitious court case. It is meant as a forum to promote discussion of various issues in the technology industry and has no real-life legal implications.

    If you would like to submit a letter to the editor regarding this story, email [email protected].

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