If you read yesterday's article a life without flash you already know where this article is heading. The attacks using pdf documents have increased, as have the vulnerabilities that are found regularly in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat, the two most popular software programs to view pdf documents.
Recently, security vulnerabilities have also been found in the popular Adobe Reader alternative Foxit Reader.
The premise of the article is that living without PDF readers is possible if you do not have to use them for work (either readers or creators). The author of this article - that would be me - loads about 10-20 pdf documents per month. That's not a lot and using alternatives to pdf readers is not a task that is slowing down work by much.
A user on the other hand who reads 10-20 per day might think otherwise, as to users who need to interact with the documents, e.g. sign them, or edit them in other ways.
The question is: If there are no pdf readers installed, how can pdf documents be read? There are two answers to this question.
Update: Other options have become available in recent years. Most browsers ship with a PDF reader that you can use, and there are programs like Sumatra which allow you to read PDF documents locally in an environment that is more secure. End
Online services like Google Docs can display pdf documents right in the web browser. The advantage of this method is that the pdf is not executed on the user's computer system which means that any exploit will have no effect. It takes on the other hand a tad longer to open Google Docs, upload the pdf and view it online.
Some users have also reported that Google Docs does not offer all the features and functions that Adobe Reader for instance offers. Those users might need to keep Adobe Reader or another PDF reader for now.
Converting pdfs instead is a second solution. This can also be done offline or online. There are tools available that can convert pdf documents easily like Hello PDF for instance. It would however mean to replace one software with another which might also be exploited.
Online pdf converters like Free PDF Convert on the other hand offer the same advantages and disadvantages as online pdf readers.
It should be quite possible to uninstall all pdf readers and use one of the two alternatives described above. Some users might prefer to install a lesser popular pdf reader like Sumatra instead.
Now You: Which pdf reader do you have installed? Would you be able to live without a pdf reader on your computer?
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.