PDF Readers: Getting judgemental

During FSFE’s recent campaign to stop governments advertising proprietary PDF readers, a common question was raised by the public in emails and comments. “Can Free Software PDF readers match up to Adobe Acrobat Reader?” they ask. The implication of this question is that promoting alternatives to Adobe, whether they be Free Software (FS) or not, is only reasonable if they are ‘as good as’ (e.g. file compatible and feature feature identical with) Acrobat Reader.

This view undermines the PDF standard however, and falsely defines what PDF is in terms Adobe’s implementation.