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Last post Author Topic: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source  (Read 14662 times)

zridling

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Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« on: April 06, 2007, 07:24:28 PM »
Sumatra PDF Viewer is one very cool, lightweight PDF Viewer, and it’s open source.

             

If you’ve been using either Adobe Reader or Foxit PDF Reader over the years and you need only a PDF viewer, try Sumatra PDF. Minimalist features, but customizable where you want it to be.

springro

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2007, 12:54:13 PM »
You mentioned another great alternative -- Foxit PDF viewer, it's not open source but it's free.   http://www.foxitsoft...com/pdf/rd_intro.php

It's worth it just for this feature:
Interactive form filler: Now you don't have to print out PDF forms first and then manually fill out paper forms. Instead, you can use PC to fill out interactive forms directly, and then print them out. These basic features are free for personal and non-personal usage. Moreover, Foxit Reader supports advanced form operations such as saving filled-out forms and import/export forms.

Simple use.  Just click and type, use the cursor keys to adjust up/down.
I do notice a decrease in the visual quality of some of the pages, but for the added speed and decreased size I'll take it 98% of the time.

« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 12:55:44 PM by springro »

zridling

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2007, 06:05:47 PM »
Springro, if you're having rendering problems with Foxit, make sure you have the Microsoft GDI+ module installed. Also, I thought you had to pay an extra $39 to be able to save forms in Foxit with the Foxit Reader Pro Pack, but I'm wrong. Thanks for the tip!

Darwin

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2007, 07:10:44 PM »
I'm a Foxit Reader fanboy... Everything else I've tried is bloated and takes forever to load (I had high hopes for Scansoft PDF Professional 4 when it offered to become my default viewer. I can make a cup of coffee while I wait for it to load but FoxIt is right there, right now). I haven't tried Sumatra and probably should as with the aforementioned Scansoft package installed on my machine, I can rely on it to fill in the holes left by Sumatra (honestly, though, 99.99999999% of the time, all I need to do is read a pdf. Nothing more).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2007, 07:12:31 PM »
PS I've made use of the FoxIt Reader form filler many times. However, it only works if the pdf has fillable forms in the first place. In order to fill non-fillable forms, I've had to use Scansoft PDF Professional to convert them first.

Now... I've downloaded and given Sumatra a try: very nice. The only thing missing for me is that there is no copy function. The vast majority of my pdf's are academic journal articles and the occasional PhD dissertation and I make use of the copy function to make creating Endnote bibliographic entires less of a chore in the absence of a downloadable, pre-formatted citation or the journal's table of contents on the web.

OK another thing: I just opened up the same pdf in Foxit Reader and note that while Foxit takes twice as long to load (4.5 secs versus 2 for Sumatra), it uses a fraction of the memory that Sumatra does:

Foxit:      CPU 0% RAM 11,912K VM (Private Bytes) 5,840K
Sumatra: CPU 0% RAM 31,268K VM (Private Bytes) 25,528K

Not the end of the world, but a significant difference.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: April 09, 2007, 07:27:03 PM by Darwin »

springro

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2007, 07:03:17 AM »
Foxit does paste some text over the page if you save it in the free version.  But, most of the time I print out a single copy and then save it for record keeping.  If I need to start doing more than that, I think the $39 is well worth what you get.

Thanks for the note on the dll!

Rob

urlwolf

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2007, 07:20:25 AM »
No copy function? Bummer.
I'm still waiting for a simple pdf application that can do proper copy and highlighting (saving the changes; foxit doesn't understand 2-column text for highlighting/copying!) without having to pay $$$ for acrobat.

Since Sumatra is OS, do you think there is a chance we can mob together and donate some $$ to the project so the author implements these?

I'd rather give $39 to an OS developer than buying foxit, since sumatra can be redistributed for free (many people would benefit). What do you think?

Darwin

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2007, 08:21:12 AM »
Nice idea urlwolf - sign me up. I didn't mention that I have had issues with FoxIt Reader with respect to copying - itwilloftencopytextwiththespacesremoved, which is quite annoying! Anyway, I'd be happy to donate to the project to see where it can be taken  :up:
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Hirudin

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2007, 07:25:16 AM »
I've been using Foxit for a while as well. I like it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turns into payware soon.

Anyone know of any simple readers that also have plugins for web browsers?

mwb1100

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2007, 01:11:00 PM »
Just to buck the trend here, I'm still using Adobe Reader (7.0), and I'm pretty happy with it.  I use a small freeware utility called ar-speedup to turn off useless crap that slows down the load time: 

http://www.tnk-bootb...rted&id=7F7290B5

I have no problems with copying data to the clipboard, and I think Adobe Reader's search functionality is great.  I like being able to see a list of matches with a tiny bit of context instead of being forced to jump to each of them.

My only gripe is that it has a habit of changing the zoom on the document when I click on it for no apparent reason that I can figure out.



maxdanger

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2007, 04:17:31 AM »
Like mwb1100, I also recommend Adobe Reader SpeedUp.  I had problems with Foxit and several other readers, converters, etc.  My use is very much like Darwin's, primarily academic journals and, very rarely, form-filling (rebate forms--gack!).  But re-tuned by AR-SpeedUp, Acrobat is fast, fully competent, and I never have to check Task Manager or Process Explorer to find what's the hold-up.  I haven't encountered the mystery zoom problem--yet.

urlwolf

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2007, 07:08:20 AM »
Does this speedup thing work with full Acrobat?

f0dder

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2007, 07:43:42 AM »
Hm, no copy function will make it a no-go :(

But I'll check it out anyway. Foxit is very nice, but is dog slow when rendering more complex PDFs. Additionaly memory usage of Sumatra doesn't bother me much, unless it's a linear (or worse :)) function of the size of the pdf.

The AR speedup thing is nice, but last time I tried it, it was still noticably slower than foxit...
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urlwolf

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2007, 07:50:46 AM »
Hmm, I wonder if a joint donation of say $100 between all members here would make things like copy funciton, highlighting, etc, happen.

Anyone wants to post in their forum/mail the author?

f0dder

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2007, 08:04:28 AM »
Okay, just gave Sumatra a quick test drive.

#1 - rendering. Unfortunately I don't have any of those "really heavy" PDFs lying around, but it seems to do quite well. Also, while foxit seems to "render as you go" (causing flickering), Sumatra seems to render a full page offscreen before drawing - smooth. On the other hand, it's noticeably slower at displaying the S.T.A.L.K.E.R user manual... slow jpeg decompression, perhaps?

#2 - memory usage. 32meg pdf, Tanenbaum's Distributed Operating Systems. Foxit Reader uses ~4meg private bytes, Sumatra uses ~10meg private bytes. Nothing to worry about, imho. Also, if opening multiple PDFs, you get multiple instances of Foxit, but only one instance of Sumatra.

#3 - stability. I managed to crash Sumatra by having a bunch of PDFs open and paging back and forth in one of Intel's systems manuals... don't think I've seen Foxit crash yet.

Sumatra seems promising though, and it's nice that it's opensource. Might even be worth to dig in myself and run a little profiling on it...
- carpe noctem

Darwin

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2007, 09:42:17 AM »
Quote
#2 - memory usage. 32meg pdf, Tanenbaum's Distributed Operating Systems. Foxit Reader uses ~4meg private bytes, Sumatra uses ~10meg private bytes. Nothing to worry about, imho. Also, if opening multiple PDFs, you get multiple instances of Foxit, but only one instance of Sumatra.

Good point - I'd love to see FoxIt Read lose this behaviour.

On another note, the last version of Acrobat Reader I used was 7 and I used ARSpeedup, too. Great little app that really tamed the Acrobat beast. Still, on balance, I prefer FoxIt reader becuase it's a tiny download (compared with AR) and is regularly updated. I don't know, I should possibly give AR chance to win me back, but overall, I'm happy.

urlwolf's $100 idea is good - I've got donationcredits I can add to a kitty!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

f0dder

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2007, 09:52:25 AM »
I can spare $20 in DonationCredits, this seems like a worthy cause...
- carpe noctem

urlwolf

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2007, 05:48:56 PM »
ok I mailed the author, and told him to stop by, and maybe sign up so we can donate to him.

It seems that TOC, search, and copy are planned features. Other than that, nothing fancy will be implemented since the author wants to keep things simple.

I asked if it was possible to implement a plugin architecture and he said that it was too much work and not worth it for such a small piece of software. So if we want new features, we'll need to understand the whole project, and compile ourselves.

I would like to see highlighting, notes, and UDF support (metadata: useful for citation, like mp3s have tags). He said he is not interested in implementing any of these.

mrainey

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2007, 06:01:12 PM »
I've been mostly happy with Foxit for quite a while now, but have read several places that Acrobat Reader 8 is very fast and works well.  Has anybody tried it?
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Darwin

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2007, 06:54:58 PM »
Oh all right... (sigh, rolling eyes) I'll step up to the plate and give Acrobat Reader 8 a go. I'm just crazy enough to do it!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

mrainey

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2007, 07:09:00 PM »
Good man.
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Darwin

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2007, 08:32:42 PM »
Yuck. 20.8MB download and ten minutes to install (compare this to the Sumatra sub-MB download and no install and Foxit Reader's 1MB and change download and 15 second installation). Even with the speedloader running, Adobe Reader took 8 seconds to start and consumed up to 90% of my CPU until it settled down. VM (Private Bytes) runs at about 50,000K, while RAM usage crept slowly and inexorably up over 70,000K before falling to 26,000K.

I also downloaded and installed AR Speedup. It shaved a full second off the startup time, which isn't really very impressive! Back when I was using Acrobat 5 and 6, it had a much more noticeable and significant impact.

I've disabled the BHO, the speedloader and the synchroniztion tool (the latter two are set to load at system start by default. No thanks) and will leave it on my system for a while. It is visually stunning and as always I am struck by how much nicer looking fonts are in Reader. Having said that, Foxit Reader is more than adequate for my needs and I don't think that I'll be switching to the Adobe product anytime soon. In its favour, it didn't even ask to set itself as my pdf viewer, so it's easy to have it installed next to Foxit, which I've left as the default handler.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

mrainey

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2007, 10:20:26 PM »
I caved, just had to see for myself what 8.0 looked like.

A big download for sure, but less than .0002 of my total drive space, so I can cope.  Installation took under three minutes.

On my P4-2.4, the program by itself opens in two or three seconds - this after I moved the majority of the plugins to the "Optional" folder.  A hell of a lot faster than Firefox (which I love).

It opened a 60 MB file in eleven seconds.  Foxit opened the same file in five.  Scrolling of the graphics-laden file is smoother with Acrobat Reader.

The search feature in Reader looks fantastic, maybe worth the price of the lost speed all by itself.  I'm going to use it for a week or two, work out the kinks as best I can, and then decide.  So far, it doesn't feel at all "bloated" to me.

P.S.

I checked memory usage with that 60 MB file, opening and closing the file half a dozen times in each program.  Acrobat Reader started at 70MB and ended around 83.  Foxit started at 23 MB and ended at 28.  Acrobat Reader does use a lot of memory compared to Foxit, no doubt about that.
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« Last Edit: April 16, 2007, 10:28:05 PM by mrainey »

Darwin

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2007, 12:07:35 AM »
You're certainly right about it not feeling bloated. I've just spent some time playing around with Acrobat Reader as a Reader (and not as something to be compared with anything else, if that makes sense) and neither its footprint nor the time it takes to open files, render graphics, yada, yada, yada are significant in terms of my real-world usage. I really like the look of it and the feature set is fantastic. I'd forgotten how convenient the navigation panels are (they're absent in Foxit Reader) and what a difference that the font smoothing makes. Compare these two screenshots (Foxit first, then Acrobat):

Foxit.pngSumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source

Acrobat.pngSumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source

Even at 7 seconds to open it, it's at least ten times quicker than Scansoft PDF Professional... Given the fact that viewing fonts is much easier on the eyes coupled with better tools for copying text and images and the convenience of the navigation panels when viewing large files, this could win me over.

PS Honesty compels me to admit that I was indexing 19000 images with exifPro while installing Acrobat Reader, so my complaints about the 10 minute installation are unfair as no doubt this would have gone significantly more quickly with less going on in the background!

PS A 67.2MB pdf with some very complex graphics opens in 5 seconds flat in Foxit Reader when double clicking on it from within DOpus. I can't access the context menu and am too lazy to reboot (trying to access it from DOpus, XYPlorer, Windows Explorer and Frigate 3 results in an access violation error!) so can't "open with" Adobe Reader. What I have done, though, is use both Foxit and Adobe to open the same file using the open dialogue - both accomplish this in under 2 seconds (granted Foxit already did the heavy lifting on it in the first place...).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: April 17, 2007, 01:03:10 AM by Darwin »

f0dder

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Re: Sumatra PDF Viewer is cool, thin, and open-source
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2007, 03:23:19 AM »
It's worth to keep in mind that, unless my memory is more flawed than usual, Reader does pre-rendering of succeeding pages, and iirc caching of previously rendered pages... that might explain some of the additional memory usage. (I think foxit pre-renders a bit as well, but not as many pages forward?)
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