Adobe invented the PDF (portable document format) thus their PDF Reader is perhaps one of the most widely used applications for reading PDF files. But in my experience, apart from all of its features and usability, it’s a PC resources hog!.
If you have a PDF file with lots of images (and somewhat an older computer) for instance, then you won’t be impressed with its performance. Someone now could say that Adobe has nothing to do with it since it’s your PC which is the bottleneck.
That’s what I used think until I found Foxit Reader few years ago! :). Not only it loads fast but it’s certainly uses less amount of your system resources as well. The developers, somewhat recently released a new version for Windows platform which brought a lot of changes (mainly concerning the GUI) but Foxit has been a bit “shy” at supporting the GNU/Linux platform.
But with recent times they’ve found out that there’s certainly something worth investing in GNU/Linux (thanks to Ubuntu, I suppose). So as a result, they released a separate version for the GNU/Linux users which of course lacked some features when comparing with the MS Windows version.
And it was actually at beta stage for a long time but initially, they released the official Foxit 1.1 for GNU/Linux sometime ago. And when compared with the old beta versions, concerning both feature and stability, this is a much better product.
*. Loads fast and rendered PDF files without any issues, while I tested it. Although I think perhaps the default document viewer in Unity, Evince (Gnome’s actually) could be a bit faster but then again Foxit gives you a few more features.
*. Simple yet an effective GUI design, integrates with Ubuntu flawlessly.
*. Show/Hide navigation panel (bookmarks or thumbnail page views).
*. Find/search text.
*. Show PDF meta-tag infos (such as changing the Author name, Subject, Title, etc).
*. Printing support.
*. Excellent tool-bar with popular functions such as: Zoom in-out, Full screen view, Hand tool, Text selection tool, next/previous page tool, etc. You can easily add/remove features with ease unlike with Evince, where it’s almost impossible.
*. Take screenshots.
*. Save selected text to clipboard automatically. I find this to be a bit of an annoying feature actually. For instance, rather than letting us right click and copy the text, as soon as you highlight the text, it copies the text to clipboard.
*. And using the “preferences” window you can change few more additional options such as: Automatic scrolling speed, default fonts, background color, page layout (singe/continuous/dual, etc), set default zoom levels, customize shortcuts…
You can install Foxit Reader 1.1 (latest version) in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal & 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot (not sure about other versions) by first downloading the “.deb” package form here (once you’re on that page, choose ‘Desktop Linux’ from the drop down menu and then click on the ‘Download’ button. From the next pop-up window, under ‘Package type’ choose ‘Deb’).
After the download completes, just double click on the file to open it using Ubuntu Software Center (package manager) and follow the on screen instructions. But while I was trying to install it USC gave me a warning but I ignored it and the installation went quite well and Foxit worked as expected without any issues whatsoever.
And to my surprise, even after having some useful additional features over Evince, I was impressed by its memory usage too. Apart from all those features, this is not an open-source or a GNU licensed software (it’s absolutely free to use though).
It’s been like two years since the last time they updated it, so… Other than that, if you’re looking for a more professional looking PDF reader for Ubuntu (or GNU/Linux in general), then Foxit 1.1 PDF reader, still looks pretty darn impressive!.