Have a Linux machine :-)

So I finally made my backup laptop (bought used) a Linux machine (Mint Xfce). Since I have been away from practical Linux usage for so long, this thread will be about finding ways to make it my primary go-to laptop. (Eventually, it will be the primary because I can no longer tolerate random crashes of the ancient one, which I put up with for more than a decade…)

To start off the discussion, I was wondering what your go-to PDF editor is. My requirement is to have combine/merge, comparison and accessibility tools. (I am aware of Scribus.)

1 Like

The little PDF work I do nowadays
is handled by PDF arranger and The Gimp.

Ha, I didn’t know what I use, had to go look… :crazy_face:

Evince is what seems to have installed by default with Ubuntu. I just read 'em, so I don’t know about specific capabilities…

To elaborate, PDF comparison would be helpful because we can’t use plaintext tools without having to parse and correct poor re-flow due to PDF-isms. That is a lot of work just to make the comparison work properly.

Merging PDFs can cause accessibility issues. I need tools to check them so people with disabilities and/or using assistive tools won’t have a hard time.

uh i think pdf editing like this is a black spot in open source software…

i’m in the happy situation that my pdf are mostly latex generated, so i can even generate diff pdf by using some latex/git scripts.

for merging/simple things i use commandline pdftk and for detailed editing inkscape (does not scale to many pages very well).


:thinking: There is an inelegant paid one. I also tried GitHub - vslavik/diff-pdf: A simple tool for visually comparing two PDF files. It does highlight changed parts in the page thumbnails; however, it does this weird overlay in the preview where I can’t read either text.

Two very good pdf viewers are Okular (part of KDE Plasma but you should be able to install it on Xfce) and the Foxit Reader (closed source but there is a free version). Not sure though if you can compare pdfs with them. There is also PDFsam Basic for splitting and merging, but probably you can do that faster in the terminal. I don’t know, maybe not what you are looking for.

1 Like

I am aware of

and others. Gimp and Inkscape PDF support is comme ci, comme ça.

This would be the best workflow but I am so far removed from latex/git that it would take some time getting used to again. The only issue is that it would only help with PDFs generated by me with latex, so not a swiss army knife by any means.

How are you comparing/editing pdfs on Windows?

Adobe Acrobat Pro obviously. Got it from the City but blocked it from phoning home to continue to use it. Yes, I am a delinquent, which is why I want to reform and find alternatives. :stuck_out_tongue: ATM, it is one app I still appreciate from the Windows / Adobe side. The others I had to use begrudgingly because I have already been using better FLOSS software.

Ah, so it was the right question.

diffpdf is great (not to be confused with diff-pdf)

Thanks for clarifying. Previously, search showed a commercial product. I will give this diffpdf a try. A decent app would save me the trouble of programming something myself.

PS - Never mind, it looks like the same product but I wasn’t aware there was an Ubuntu package.

yeah diffpdf is available for free licensed with GNU GPL, also via ubuntu apt, but only in version 2.1.3. The newer versions are distributed commercially. So far, I have always been happy with 2.1.3 and don’t know what the commercial version would do better.

1 Like

I noticed an oddity. When scrolling in Firefox, I get a rolling shutter effect. I wonder what that is about. I could make some educated guesses but I would like to know your thoughts too.

Its an X11 thing.

1 Like

If you don’t mind paying for quality software, try PDF Studio Pro by Qoppa (www dot qoppa dot com) I work in an architectural firm and use advanced features like you mention and more. Yes, it costs a little but it is really, really powerful and well written software.

1 Like

As in, that is a thing and there is nothing I could do about it, or there is a solution somewhere?

I will take a look but I can’t afford anything nonessential. Welcome to the forum BTW!

Wayland isn’t necessarily any better in this regard. You could be having sync troubles all across the screen. My X11/Firefox is vsynced up.