Linux and BSD desktop distributions have several PDF readers in their repository that any user may download and use. PDF, an acronym for Portable Document Format, is a popular format (designed by Adobe) to publish formatted text and documents. The most popular reader is, of course, Adobe Acrobat Reader. However, it is a proprietary software.
Since we are in the business of promoting only non-proprietary software and operating systems, the following is a listing of free and open source PDF readers that is already available from your favorite distro’s repository. Note that virtually all distros ship with a default PDF reader. KDE-based desktops, for example, ship with KPDF or Okular, depending on the version of KDE.
- Evince: This is a native Gnome application, and it is also the default portable document reader on modern XFCE-based desktops. Aside from pdf, Evince can also view or read postscript, djvu, tiff and dvi documents.
- KPDF: This is the native pdf reader for the K Desktop Environment (KDE), and is based on Xpdf.
- Okular: This is based on KPDF, and it’s the native viewer for KDE 4. Like Evince, it can also be used to read documents other than pdfs: Postscript, DjVu, CHM are just a few of the other document formats it supports. You may view a full listing of the formats it supports here.
- Xpdf: This, I think, is the original (first if you prefer) free and open source PDF reader. I doubt that you will find it as the default on any modern distro.
- ePDFView: This has an interface that looks just like Evince. however, I have not seen this as the default portable document reader on any distro.
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