How to install Adobe Reader on Linux

There are several free PDF document viewers available on Linux, such as Okular, Evince, etc. When it comes to opening and viewing typical PDF documents, these tools are reasonably good: lightweight and fast.

Adobe maintains a Linux version of Adobe Reader, distributed as acroread executable. Compare to open-source alternatives, however, acroread is a bloatware which is extremely slow to load. Given the reasonably good open-source alternatives, why then would you install and use Adobe Reader on Linux?

For me, the only case I use acroread is when I need to open and view Adobe-certified PDF documents. Back in 2005, Adobe started to offer so-called the Certified Document Services (CDS) program, where Adobe offers to certify PDF documents for their authenticity. You must use Adobe Reader to open such secured PDF documents.

If you attempt to open a secured PDF document with free PDF viewers like Okular or Evince, you will see the following error, and fail to view it. This is because those third-party PDF viewers do not have Adobe Root certificate embedded in them.

Install Adobe Reader on Linux

In the following, I will describe how to install acroread on Linux.

To install acroread on Ubuntu, do the following.

$ sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ $(lsb_release -sc) partner"
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install acroread

Note: The above commands may not work on Ubuntu 13.10 because Canonical Partners" repository is not up-to-date with 13.10. Use an alternative method if you are using Ubuntu 13.10.

To install acroread on any other Linux distribution, download a package file from http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/, and install it manually. From Adobe site, you can download .deb and .rpm packages for 32-bit architecture.

To install acroread on Debian:

$ sudo dpkg -i AdbeRdr9.5.5-1_i386linux_enu.deb

To install acroread on CentOS, Fedora or RHEL:

$ sudo rpm -ivh AdbeRdr9.5.5-1_i486linux_enu.rpm

According to Adobe, the system requirements for installing these .deb/.rpm packages are as follows.

  • 32-bit Intel Pentium processor or equivalent
  • RedHat Linux WS 5, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10 with Service Pack 2, or Ubuntu 7.10; GNOME or KDE Desktop Environment
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 150MB of available hard-disk space (additional 75MB required for all supported font packs)
  • GTK+ (GIMP Toolkit) user interface library, version 2.6 or later
  • Firefox 2.x or 3.0
  • OpenLDAP and CUPS libraries

Once Adobe Reader is installed, you can open and view Adobe-certified PDF documents as follows.

Subscribe to Xmodulo

Do you want to receive Linux FAQs, detailed tutorials and tips published at Xmodulo? Enter your email address below, and we will deliver our Linux posts straight to your email box, for free. Delivery powered by Google Feedburner.

The following two tabs change content below.
Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of Xmodulo.com. He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.
Your name can also be listed here. Write for us as a freelancer.

3 thoughts on “How to install Adobe Reader on Linux

  1. I tried to install (actually re-install) acroreader iin uBuntu 13.10 following the instructions. I get:
    "Package acroread is not available, but is referred to by another package.
    This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
    is only available from another source

    E: Package 'acroread' has no installation candidate"

  2. Not much use now that Adobe have decided to abandon Linux as a platform. Acrobat Reader is still stuck at v9.5.x on Linux, while the MSWin version is 11.0. In mind, if Adobe wants to abandon Linux, then I'll quite happily abandon Adobe products.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *