Hack 93. Install the Acrobat Reader Plug-in
View PDFs within your web browser with the official Acrobat Reader plug-in.
While there is still quite a ways to go, commercial support for the Linux platform has come a long way, particularly in the multimedia realm. One good example of this is Adobe's Acrobat Reader program. While there are a number of other open source alternatives under Linux for reading PDF files, they neither seem to quite have as nice a user interface nor render PDFs as nicely as Acrobat Reader. In this hack, I describe the steps needed to install and configure Acrobat Reader and its associated browser plug-in.
Adobe's Acrobat Reader software is proprietary, so most major distributions don't package it out of the box. This means that the standard methods you might use to install software automatically under Linux won't work, so you must install Acrobat Reader the old-fashioned Windows waygo to the official web site, download the software from there, and install it.
First, visit the official Acrobat Reader page at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readermain.html. Click the Get Acrobat Reader graphic. This page lets you choose language, connection speed, and platform options. If you use an RPM-based distribution, choose Linux (.rpm) as your platform. Otherwise choose Linux (.tar.gz) and submit your information. Click the download link on the next page and download the .rpm or .tar.gz file to your home directory.
If you chose the .rpm file, use your standard package installation tool to install the RPM or become root and type:
# rpm -Uvh AdobeReader_enu-7.0.0-2.i386.rpm
If you chose the .tar.gz file, extract the file and then execute the install script inside as root:
# tar xzf AdbeRdr70_linux_enu.tar.gz # ./AdobeReader/INSTALL
For either method, all of the Acrobat Reader files will be installed under /usr/local/Adobe and a symlink to /usr/local/Adobe/bin/acroread will be placed under /usr/bin. You can type acroread from the command line to launch the full Acrobat Reader at this point.
One final step is involved to install the Acrobat Reader plug-in for Mozilla. Adobe includes a basic install script that automates the process. As root, type:
# /usr/local/Adobe/ Acrobat7.0/Browser/install_browser_plugin
When prompted, tell the script to perform a global installation, and then point it to your browser install directory (usually /usr/lib/mozilla). The plugin is copied to the plug-ins directory. Restart your browser if it is running and then browse to a PDF on the Web. If you use Konqueror, you might need to first scan for the new plug-in. To do this, launch Konqueror and click Settings Configure Konqueror. In the window that appears, scroll down and select the Plugins option from the list on the left and then click "Scan for New Plugins." Click OK to close the settings window. When you open a PDF from your browser window, Adobe Acrobat will launch inside the browser pane just like on Windows and Mac OS X.