It's been about a week since my last post, and I do apologize for the delay. I just started a new job recently and with that comes …

In the smartphone world, you only get two options, Android or iOS.

Which are Linux and BSD, respectively. The irony is palpable


I still have bad memories of not being able to view PDF’s in Linux because Adobe dropped support and the alternatives just didn’t work right.

I feel like the PDF readers on Linux just aren’t quite a nice as mac/windows still. They’re mostly okay but they generally don’t seem to have the fine polish and smoothness. But then again I haven’t looked in a year or two.


Huh, my experience is quite the opposite. The only PDF viewer I find acceptable on Windows, is Sumatra PDF. On Linux, you have the choice between like ten PDF viewers and I think, they’re all as good or better than Sumatra.

The only caveat is that Adobe Acrobat Reader does still support more PDF features, but I’ve personally just never needed them.


What are your top 5 linux pdf readers (preferably FOSS)? I think of

  • evince (great functionality but not great UI)
  • xpdf (fine enough)
  • mupdf/zathura (great but flaky, minimal)
  • okular (nice though overkill qt5 dependencies)
  • firefox pdf.js (?)

Okular is pretty good, overall best document reader. Evince looks good imo, I like Gnome UI better.


I don’t actually have much of an opinion on most of them. I just know that they’re all rather decent through the magic of open-source, a.k.a. they all use libpoppler or mupdf underneath, which ensures a generally smooth reading experience, and well, they’re community-developed, so no cloud or telemetry bullshit, like on many Windows PDF viewers.

Having said that, I like Okular the best, but I’m also on KDE, so its many dependencies don’t bother me and it’s consistent/integrated with my desktop. To my knowledge it does have more review/editing features than other Linux PDF viewers, which is sometimes useful to me, e.g. for taking notes on a PDF.

If you forced me to rank the rest: 2. Zathura: It’s interesting and I do like playing around with minimal software. 3. Probably most of the rest right here. 4. Evince: If I remember correctly, when I tried it, I was annoyed by it not being horizontally resizable smaller than the buttons in its title bar would fit, which was like the only actual tangible reason for liking one of these less than the others.

Yep, that’s the level of criticism that I’m at right now. I really think, they’re all perfectly fine and if your desktop environment supplies one, it’s probably not worth switching to something else.


deleted by creator


Agreed that okular is fairly smooth. It seems a bit of a beast though with qt5 dependencies. Evince works well enough for me, but it definitely isn’t polished. It would be nice to see a modern lightweight reader with an updated UI/UX.

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