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Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader


Many of you are probably familar with Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing PDF files and also as a Netscape plugin. Linux has other PDF viewers that come with some of the distributions. The original was ghostview. KDE and Gnome now have their own versions of ghostview called Kghostview and Gnome ghostview, respectively. However, I think Adobe Acrobat Reader makes the PDF files look better than ghostview. The colors seem crisper and the font is easier to read. See screenshots below. It uses its own set of fonts independent of XFree86.

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Acrobat Installation

  1. Download from Adobe.
  2. tar -zxvf linux-ar-405.tar.gz
  3. cd ILINXR.install
  4. ./INSTALL
  5. Type accept for user license.
  6. Press enter to install in default directory /usr/local/Acrobat4.
  7. Type y to create directory.
  8. Either put the executable /usr/local/Acrobat4/bin/acroread in your path or create a symbolic link in the /usr/local/bin directory so all users can execute it without putting it in their path. To create symbolic link: ln -s /usr/local/Acrobat4/bin/acroread /usr/local/bin.


Acrobat as a Netscape Plugin

Adobe recognizes that there are still bugs in making Acrobat a Netscape plugin in Linux. There are three possible ways I have found as discussed below. I will discuss the one that worked best for me first.

Method One

This method seemed to work best of me. It adds Acrobat as an application helper instead of an integrated plugin that opens within the Netscape window.

  1. Go the Edit–>Preferences–>Navigator–>Applications.
  2. Modify the application for MIME type application/pdf to look as follows. Notice the command /usr/local/Acrobat4/bin/acroread %s. If it doesn’t work, try it without the %s at the end. Some versions of Mozilla won’t work with the %s.


Method Two

Acrobat comes with a script located at /usr/local/Acrobat4/Browser/netscape. The instructions say to run this script to launch Netscape with the Acrobat plugin integrated into the browser similar to the Windows version. The script prompts you for the Acrobat directory and the Netscape directory and then launches Netscape. If you type about:plugins in the location box, only Acrobat shows up although the other plugins I have seem to still work. This method works to bring up pdf files inside Netscape, but it requires you type the locations of the programs everytime you run Netscape just to use Acrobat.

Method Three

This method is not documented, but might work for you if the first two do not. It works for me, but sometimes produces error messages that either can be ignored or sometimes will not allow the pdf to be viewed at all.

  1. Copy /usr/local/Acrobat4/Browser/intellinux/ to your Netscape plugins directory. This directory is usually /usr/lib/netscape/plugins or /usr/local/lib/netscape/plugins. Try both with the following instructions.
  2. Start Netscape and type about:plugins in the location bar. It should now list as a plugin for Portable Document Format.
  3. Go the Edit–>Preferences–>Navigator–>Applications, highlight the line for Portable Document Format, choose for it to be handled by Plugin and choose from the pulldown menu.
  4. When you type about:plugins in the location bar, you should now see the plugin listed.

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