Re: If you believe the Internet should be free

On Fri, 25 Aug 2006 00:02:18 +0200, Philip Paeps wrote:
Michel Talon <talon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
jpd <read_the_sig@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
``xpdf''. Free documentation of the format and someone took it up and
produced a reader arguably more useful than Adobe ever did.

I think you are kidding. Adobe reader has a support for fonts rasterizing
which is light years ahead of what xpdf and ghostscript can offer.

You mean that it uses fuzzy ``TrueType'' fonts? I have tried long and hard to
get a ``TrueType'' setup that doesn't give me headaches. It takes ridiculous
amounts of work to tell X11 and any libraries and toolkits you might use about
what resolution your monitor is.

That's weird. I've been running a mostly TrueType X11 setup for years.
Everything works beautifully, and the fonts are (IMO, obviously) a zillion
times more legible than the old fixed-scale font set that originally
shipped with X. I particularly like bitstream-vera, which comes with
GNOME these days, but the various forms of Lucida are also nice terminal
fonts. There was precicely one resolution/size combination of the old
fixed-width lucida-console that looked any good, and that was a cheat,
because it was nominally 75dpi, even though most of my screens have been
around 100+dpi for years.

It does (or used to) take a modicum of configuration to convince xpdf to
use nice fonts (true type or postscript), but I notice now that that
section of my .Xresources file is #if 0'd out, so it must figure it out on
its own, now.

And in the end, it's just not worth it. After finding my fonts all
fuzzy yet again after hooking up a new monitor, I gave on on the hype
and went back to the simple world of "normal" scalable X11 fonts.

What's a "normal" scalable X11 font? The only scalable fonts that X11
handles are TrueType, PostScript and some old bitstream scheme who's name
escapes me now (Speedo?), and I don't seem to have any on my system any
more. Surely you aren't suggesting that the jagged monstrosity that is
scaled PCF (bitmap) fonts are preferable?

xpdf doesn't require any configuration. You feed it the name of the PDF
file and it just displays it. No fuzz, no cleverness.

Yes. I'm a long-time fan of xpdf. It's great work.

This means that PDFs viewed with acroread are very easy to read while
they are difficult to read with xpdf.

As I've mentioned before (in this thread even, I think), I've never yet
encountered a PDF file that xpdf couldn't grok. And I read loads of

I read loads of PDF files, and I prefer xpdf, but I have encountered the
occasional file that it didn't like. It used to have a problem with DRM'd
or signed PDF files, but I think that it's over that. The main problems I
encounter now are occasionaly issues with missing glyphs if the source
uses some peculiar font and it wasn't embeded, or at least wasn't embedded
in a way that xpdf could handle, and every so often I find a PDF with some
recursive postscript weirdness that just runs the internal interpreter off
into the weeds. Very rare these days.

But of course, if you like acroread, by all means use it! That's the
nice thing about an open format like PDF: it doesn't matter what you use
to read it. As long as you're happy with it, that's all that matters.

Exactly. PDF is nice because it's an open format, rather than defined by
a particular program.