This time, it's the PDF reader.
I would be grateful for comment from those with experience of reviewing corporate PDF documents.
Is there a native Linux PDF reading app that: a) meets the range of functionality of Foxit PDF Reader for Windows; and b) is practically useable? Backstory follows.
PDF browsers are functionally very simple: they just need to do on-screen what we used to do straight onto paper in the 1970s: scrawl, scribble and overtype. Foxit PDF Reader for Windows does this fluently (allegedly so does Adobe PDF Reader for Windows, but it's so bloated, I tried to open it once in 2015 and it's still loading). For example:
- bookmarks, saved into the PDF so that the next user can see them;
- a variety of annotations, saved into the PDF so that the next user can see them;
- a typewriter function, saved into PDF so that the next user - typically a bank or government department - can see them (and, hopefully, pisses them off);
- a form-filling function, saved into the PDF so that the next user can see them;
- copy-text-paste-into-text-editor (where the PDF security settings permits it);
- export-form-data-to-XML and import-form-data-from-XML;
- nice to have: a secure e-signature;
- not really necessary: a cloud repository of PDFs;
- may be delegated to other apps: merge, split, encrypt/decrypt, rotate, etc
I've tried Okular briefly. I've found that, whilst it can read PDFs and permit a number of annotations, it has too many limitations to be useful in a multi-user or multi-instance environment. For example, the user can create bookmarks in Foxit for Windows, save the PDF file, another user can open the same file and see (and edit, and amend, and add to) the created bookmarks. Can't do that in Okular: the bookmarks appear to be stored in a cache exclusively for the local user. So the same user sychronising data between machines cannot see bookmarks created on a different machine (has Okular's team ever heard of an office server environment?). And yet, bookmarks created by Foxit Windows, saved in the PDF file, are viewable as "contents" in Okular.... Go figure.
PDF reader developers in Linux seems to have prioritised the need for splitting, merged and decrypting PDFs. These are useful objectives, but they serve a different need.
I've not yet decided whether I want to pour time into campaigning to Okluar's development team. My instincts tell me that it's unlikely to be worth the bother.