Replacing acroread with okular

As Adobe has decided to drop support for Linux, we saw how they ignore to make security update for Linux, so there is more importance to find a full replacement for acroread, sure you can choose to use which ever pdf reader and set up helper application to use this pdf reader when you download a pdf, it will not open in the browser window and you may get in some badly designed sites a empty tab/page opened and on some even worse sites you will not be able to download the pdf as you don’t have a plugin supporting PDF (some sites even look for the acrobat plugin as in HSBC online banking pages).

Don’t fear, there is a solution Okularplugin, this allows you to use Okular as a full replacement for acroread, you get the in-browser experience, and those sites which requires you to have a plugin will work and it’s possible to build so that it fakes itself as acroread, which makes sites as HSBC to work.

If your distribution don’t support this great plugin, then tell them about it and while you wait for them to add the support you can build it yourself by fetching the source code from github.

8 thoughts on “Replacing acroread with okular”

  1. Firefox has built-in PDF reader support from version 15 (just like SW Iron, Chromium, and Chrome).

    This means you can use your browser to read PDFs, in case you don’t want to add another software to your system.

    Here’s how to enable Firefox’s built-in PDF reader capability:

    In the address bar, type “about:config” and hit “Enter”. If this is the first time you have accessed these settings then you may be surprised by a pop-up message that will warn you about making any changes. Don’t panic, just click “I’ll be careful, I promise!”

    In the search bar type “pdfjs.disabled” and then right click this option. In the context menu choose “Toggle” to change the setting from “True” to “False”. You can alternatively double-click the entry.

    You have now enabled the the PDF reader in Firefox. Browse to a site that has a “.PDF” extension and try it out.

    You can also use Firefox to read any local PDF file on your system.

  2. This will only work for sites which don’t look for DOM object telling that you are using a PDF plugin and there are even those which checks that the plugin is Acrobat Reader.

    The okularplugin can be built with a different identifier so it looks like it’s Acrobat Reader and on top of that supports other document formats than just pdf.

    1. Since my internet banking site does request Acrobat Plugin activated, I decided to give this a go…

      I’ve been able to successfully build it from source, (since my current distro Linux Mint 13 XFCE does not have it on the repositories), but could not find any instructions on how to fake the Acrobat Reader identifier 🙁

      Can you point some directions on how to do it?

      1. It’s a quite small patch, changing the QTNPFACTORY_BEGIN, just download fake_adobe.diff.


        git clone
        cd okularplugin
        patch -p1 < ../location/to/the/fake_adobe.diff

        Then it should be possible to build a version which fakes itself as Adobe Reader, but without the bugs 🙂

        1. After applying the patch and recompiled the source, the okular Firefox Plugin now appears as Adobe Acrobat Reader 😉
          Here is the screenshot

          However my internet banking site still says

          I then tested the same site with Chromium, SW Iron, and Google Chrome.
          Google Chrome displays it fine (even with no okular or Acrobat Reader installed) but Chromium and SW Iron still fail to show the PDF 🙁

          I think I’ll try to contact the bank and report the problem… or do you think there’s something else I should try on my side?

          1. Of course you should report it to the bank, but don’t count on it that they will fix it, as it’s a bank and they are slow and lack many times the understanding of technological progress.

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