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Re: Acroread

On Thu, May 15, 2003 at 04:10:47AM -0700, Paul Johnson wrote:
> On Wed, May 14, 2003 at 10:15:10PM +0200, Mario wrote:
> > Someone know what's wrong with acroread, why it's lost from official
> > repository? 
> As has been announced on the RC bug announcements for the last 60+
> weeks, it's built against zlib which apparently violates policy.

Building against zlib certainly never violated policy; the static
linkage against zlib was probably not a good idea but didn't violate
policy either. (Lots of stuff does the same thing because zlib is so
small and changes so infrequently that historically it didn't really

The problem was that acroread was built statically linked against with
an old version of zlib which had a security hole. When Debian fixed the
security hole the security team had to rebuild everything that was
statically linked against zlib, but they couldn't fix acroread because
they didn't have the source.

It's a good demonstration of why shared linkage is generally better if
you don't control the library you're linking to, certainly.

> Since Adobe didn't fix it upstream, Acroread gets the boot.  This is a
> good thing, acroread sucked, was non-free, and Adobe ignored it's
> problems.  Essentially, it got booted for exactly the same reasons
> people don't choose proprietary software.

In fairness, I think Adobe *did* fix it upstream, but (and this is flaky
memory) the newer versions were licensed in such a way that they
couldn't be included even in non-free.

acroread is one of the few non-free programs I still use, although only
at work. Are there any free PDF readers that do the table of contents
sidebar thing as nicely as acroread does, or even at all? If I could
find one, I'd switch to it; xpdf is nice enough, but having to flip back
and forward between the contents page and the actual content by typing
in page numbers by hand is really not good enough for large documents.

Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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