Whenever my Firefox freezes, I immediately check if Adobe Reader’s trying to open a PDF from inside the browser. More often than not this is the reason and killing the tab (which is not always a click-and-close process) makes the fox happy again. Adobe Reader is THAT bloated, well for me at least.
So it goes that one of the first things I do when I install any web browser is to set it to download PDFs and not try to open when I click on them. This week, I was browsing on a PC I don’t use very often and I encountered a Firefox tab that had a fully loaded PDF. I hadn’t experienced any momentary freezing so this made me stop. Umm, I mused, those Adobe fellows must have patched the reader with something that makes it open files without taking the browser down.
I was curious so I looked more closely. I was wrong. Adobe didn’t fix anything. Earlier in the week I’d installed Foxit Reader and set it to ‘own’ the PDF extension on this PC. Beautiful little piece of software. The slim reader is a free 5MB download and can be found here. It has a disk footprint of 9MB after installation (compare that to Adobe’s enormous 160MB) and opens PDFs like Notepad opens text files; something I’ve never experienced since I first encountered the PDF format.