This post describes my efforts to run Adobe Reader in Linux Mint.
The first question was, which version of Adobe Reader? A Softpedia search produced links to Portable Adobe Reader 9.0 and also to the installer version. The latter’s download button opened into an Adobe page offering multiple versions, depending upon the operating system specified. For example, in my Cameyo explorations, I had gathered that version 11.0.08 was optimal for Windows XP SP3. The Softpedia download button likewise offered version 11.0.10, as well as several earlier versions. (See also OldVersion.com.)
Which of those versions was best for Linux? As discussed in another post, there appeared to be an ongoing need for relatively recent versions of Reader — for example, to handle increasingly complex tax forms generated in government offices where the latest version of Adobe Reader was assumed to be universally available. On the other hand, it seemed that Wine often worked better with somewhat older versions of various programs.
Success with Adobe Reader 9, Linux Version
At a certain point circa 2014, Adobe ceased to support Linux. There appeared to be reports that this meant the Linux versions of Adobe programs were no longer available for download from the Adobe website. If that was the case, it was no longer true as of this writing: I did find an Adobe download page for Reader version 9 (with versions 7 and 8 as alternatives). For the latest version offered on that page (9.5.5), I found .deb, .bin, .rpm, and .tar.bz2 options. I downloaded the .deb file and ran it. (Note additional commands recommended by AskUbuntu.) UbuntuMag said these commands would also work:
sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ precise partner" sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install acroread sudo add-apt-repository -r "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ precise partner" sudo apt-get update
But when I tried those commands, I got this:
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
acroread : Depends: nspluginwrapper but it is not installable
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.
nspluginwrapper had apparently been marked as obsolete, so it wouldn’t be coming back. Moving on, I ran sudo gedit /etc/gnome/defaults.list to open the list of default programs. In defaults.list, I looked for the line referring to “application/pdf.” Mine read, “application/pdf=evince.desktop;atril.desktop.” I changed it to read simply “application/pdf=acroread.desktop.” As UbuntuMag advised, I also added these lines to the end of the application section in defaults.list, after searching to verify that there were not already similar lines (referring to e.g., “fdf”) somewhere in defaults.list:
application/fdf=acroread.desktop application/xdp=acroread.desktop application/xfdf=acroread.desktop application/pdx=acroread.desktop
I also confirmed that there was no reference to Foxit, which I had already installed and used as a PDF reader. I saved and closed the defaults.list file. I saw that I had a new icon in my Start menu (that is, in what would be the Start menu in Windows: Start > Office > Adobe Reader 9. I clicked on that, went through the license agreement, and confirmed that Reader was able to open a PDF. It all looked good, like in Windows. Out in the Linux file explorer, a right-click on a PDF gave me a menu, with Adobe Reader at the top of the list. That worked too: the PDF opened.
Since Adobe Reader 9 for Linux was working, I did not need to explore the alternative of running the portable version (above) in Wine. But I tried anyway. I found that Portable Reader 9.0 for Windows did run and open a PDF.
Unfortunately, these steps were not enough to prevent Foxit Reader from continuing to act as the default PDF reader. I went into Foxit > Edit > Preferences > File Associations > uncheck “Always perform check when starting Foxit Reader.” There was no option to make Foxit anything other than the default PDF reader. Ultimately, I decided that I might solve multiple problems by just uninstalling Foxit. I had installed it with a .run installer, and now a search gave me the impression that uninstalling a .run file could be difficult. I started with a command recommended in an Ubuntu forum:
dpkg --get-selections foxit*
but that returned “dpkg: no packages found matching foxit*.” Phantaris said the uninstaller was in the installation folder, but I was not sure where that might be. I went to Start > Office > Foxit Reader > right-click > Uninstall. (There did not seem to be any Properties available by right-click for these menu items, so I was not able to obtain, there, a link back to the installation folder.) Clicking Uninstall brought up a message: “This menu item is not associated to any package. Do you want to remove it from the menu anyway?” I said yes. That message seemed to be incorrect: after that, Foxit no longer came up when I double-clicked on a PDF.
Trying Adobe Reader X and XI
(i.e., versions 10.x and 11.x) via Wine
I saw that CodeWeavers reported poor results with Adobe Reader X. My own attempt failed as well. The situation looked better with Reader XI. Recent entries in the WineHQ database indicated considerable success.
One WineDB entry reported that Reader 11 worked with Platinum (i.e., the best possible) results just by running it directly. I tried that. In the Linux file manager, I right-clicked on Adobe Reader 11.0.10.exe and chose Open With > Wine Windows Program Loader. That ran the setup program but terminated in an error: “Setup was interrupted before Adobe Reader XI (11.0.10) could be completely installed.” That was the error I had received when trying Reader X as well.
Another Platinum entry said Wine worked only in 64-bit mode. But as noted in my Acrobat exploration, the weight of experience seemed to favor the conclusion that 64-bit Wine was problematic. I was not inclined to take the 64-bit route.
I noticed that the test results in the WineHQ database seemed to be improving over time. Nobody reported results better than Silver before Wine version 1.7.30, whereas nobody reported results worse than Silver after Wine 1.7.37. Starting with version 1.7.55, all results were Gold or Platinum. This seemed to justify my decision to go with 1.8.2, the latest stable version at this writing.
The details of some of those success stories eluded me. For example, a CentOS user described how he had built his own version of Wine, but did not explain how he had used it to run Adobe Reader 11 successfully. I tried my interpretation of suggestions offered by others, but without success. I did not try the suggestion to run a newer version of Winetricks.
As discussed in another post, I had tried producing a portable version of Adobe Reader 11.0.8. The resulting Cameyo package ran well in Windows, but not in Linux. Perhaps further explorations with other newer versions of Adobe Reader, or with a packager other than Cameyo, would have yielded better results for the portable approach.
Adobe Reader DC via PlayOnLinux
Results of a search suggested that PlayOnLinux (available through Synaptic after enabling repositories that I had already enabled) was also enjoying success in running newer versions of Adobe Reader. For example, one PlayOnLinux webpage said that Reader DC (the latest version) would run on Linux, with a few limitations that most users would find unimportant, as long as the user selected “Always open with Protected Mode disabled” on first run.
I tried that. I started by going to Start > Games > PlayOnLinux. That opened a “PlayOnLinux first use” wizard. I went through that and took its advice to install ttf-mscorefonts-installer. That seemed to be the end of the wizard. Now I was looking at the PlayOnLinux frontend for Wine. As advised by the PlayOnLinux wiki, I hit Install > Office > Adobe Acrobat Reader DC > Install. This popped up a warning:
Please read this
When PlayOnLinux installs a Windows program:
– Leave the default location
– Do not tick the checkbox ‘Run the program’ if asked.
The first of those two instructions presumably meant that I should not have anything open in the target folder (which, as I would be told a moment later, was /home/ray/.PlayOnLinux//wineprefix/AdobeAcrobatReaderDC).
I clicked OK. Next, I got the Welcome to PlayOnLinux Installation Wizard. It gave credits to the creator of Adobe Reader and to the person who developd this installation program. I went to Next > Use a setup file in my computer (the alternative being to Download the program) > browse to the Adobe Reader DC 2015 file that I had downloaded > Next. PlayOnLinux said that it was downloading Wine 1.9.0, which was a newer and supposedly less stable version than I had installed. As with my own Wine installation, it then installed versions (probably newer) of Gecko and Mono. It then stated that it was installing a virtual drive, and reported a 316MB download of what might have been a Windows XP update (I caught “windowsxp-kb936929-sp3” at the start of the name of this file). It downloaded another file or two, and then reported an error:
PlayOnLinux has encountered an error. If the program you are installing does not work correctly, it might be the cause of the problem. Visit http://www.playonlinux.com to get further information.
Error in FS_Check
The following file is located on a fuse filesystem.
It might prevent wine from working
/media/veracrypt1/Current/Materials for Linux/Cameyo Staging Sets/Adobe Reader/Adobe Reader DC 2015.exe
That message seemed to be saying that I should not have tried to run that Reader DC 2015 download from a Windows (NTFS) drive. I clicked Next. The Adobe Reader installer started up. I clicked Install. It ran and reported Setup Completed. It said, “Setup Completed,” and then I was back at the PlayOnLinux interface. There, I saw this: “NOTICE: Online updates and services do not work.” No surprise there. PlayOnLinux offered to let me report the error. I didn’t bother; it seemed they already knew about the situation.
Now I saw that Adobe Acrobat Reader DC was listed in the PlayOnLinux dialog. I selected it and clicked Run. It ran. Its menus were not as pretty as those in version 9 (above), which had been designed for Linux. But I was able to highlight some text, select bookmarks, and rearrange some menu items. “Open with Adobe Reader 9” (not DC) remained the context menu item, when I right-clicked on a PDF in the Linux file manager. And that was OK. I preferred the look and feel of Reader 9. I also didn’t want to have to run PlayOnLinux to gain access to my program icons, and at present that was the situation with this Reader DC program that I had installed in PlayOnLinux. But at least I had Reader DC now, for any instances when I might need that latest version.