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MollyM/CA
December 9th, 2005, 10:03 AM
Almost every time I try to view a .pdf file I get a message that says "file does not begin with %pdf. This affects downloads as many "download" links open the .pdf file.

Is this an Adobe problem or a Mozilla problem, does anyone know? Is there a fix?

davidh
December 9th, 2005, 11:39 AM
Almost every time I try to view a .pdf file I get a message that says "file does not begin with %pdf. This affects downloads as many "download" links open the .pdf file.

Is this an Adobe problem or a Mozilla problem, does anyone know? Is there a fix?

I don't know about your particular symptoms described. But I do often have problems viewing PDF files in Mozilla Firefox. For that reason I often download them and manually open them with Acrobat Reader.

IIRC there is some kind of Firefox extension to fix or reduce such problems, but I have never tried it. I try to follow the policy of "if it ain't broke bad, don't fix it".

David H.

Judy G. Russell
December 9th, 2005, 11:42 AM
What version of Adobe Reader; what version of Mozilla?

ktinkel
December 9th, 2005, 11:46 AM
Almost every time I try to view a .pdf file I get a message that says "file does not begin with %pdf. This affects downloads as many "download" links open the .pdf file.

Is this an Adobe problem or a Mozilla problem, does anyone know? Is there a fix?Sounds as if the PDF was transmitted as ascii rather than binary data. For some reason some systems strip that %PDF out of the text in ascii format.

If you are sending PDFs to recipients whose software and expertise are unknown, it is safest to send a PDF as a .zip file, which will protect the contents (though it probably will not reduce the size as PDF is already a compressed format). However, I realize you are not in control of these PDFs.

Suppose it could be something that Mozilla is not doing. I download PDFs all the time with Firefox (and Eudora, for that matter), and have not seen that error which was common in old CIS mail for years.

You may be able to open one of these PDFs with a good text editor and add %PDF in the very first line. Then save it as .pdf and see if it works.

Or wander over to DTP and ask the PDF boffins there.

Lindsey
December 9th, 2005, 11:46 PM
Is this an Adobe problem or a Mozilla problem, does anyone know? Is there a fix?
I don't normally have problems viewing PDF files with Mozilla, but I ran into that identical problem trying to view some PDF-format manuals on IBM's support site. Some manuals there I could view, others gave the same error message that you are seeing. And I got the same error when I tried to use IE to view them. I e-mailed the contact address on the web page, but I never heard anything back from them.

I see Kathleen has suggested what the problem might be, and that sounds like a reasonable hypothesis to me. Maybe I'll try the IBM site again and give them that information if I still have a problem. Maybe, if I'm feeling generous.

--Lindsey

MollyM/CA
December 10th, 2005, 05:01 PM
What version of Adobe Reader; what version of Mozilla?

Why after all these years can I never remember to include versions.

Adobe 7.0.5

Mozilla 1.7.8

Sometimes, but not always, I get a message from the firewall to "allow" some communication from Adobe, and just set it to 'always allow,' but allowing it after the fact doesn't help. I can't tell if that message pops up after the attempt to open fails or before.

For some of you others, the problem with this is that often --almost invariably, lately-- when you click on a link to 'download' a .pdf file, it's really a link to open the file, so "download the file before opening" isn't really an option. You have to let it open, supposing it would, then "save a copy" from within the Reader.

I absolutely don't understand the prevalence of the .pdf format. The program is a pest to use to read a document and on both my systems not any too stable, and a nuisance to produce a decent document with, as far as I can make out from what I read. Not entirely virus-safe for the reader, not entirely impossible to copy and revise a document (using capture utilities if necessary), though not so easy as with a Word file.

Lindsey
December 10th, 2005, 05:23 PM
For some of you others, the problem with this is that often --almost invariably, lately-- when you click on a link to 'download' a .pdf file, it's really a link to open the file, so "download the file before opening" isn't really an option. You have to let it open, supposing it would, then "save a copy" from within the Reader.
Most of the time (thought not always), you can right-click on the link with Mozilla and choose "Save link target as...". If the link actually leads to a script that launches the download, though, that won't work. I think the IBM site I was having trouble with was set up that way. Or maybe I did try the separate download and ended up with the same error--I can't exactly remember. I just remember that I could not manage to work around it.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
December 10th, 2005, 06:52 PM
There's a new version of Mozilla (1.7.12) available for download [url=http://www.mozilla.org/releases/mozilla1.7.12/]here[/[url] but I doubt that that's the problem. More likely it's that the PDF file is coded wrong. Lindsey's solution to right click and choose Save As is the best bet.

ktinkel
December 11th, 2005, 10:34 AM
I absolutely don't understand the prevalence of the .pdf format. The program is a pest to use to read a document and on both my systems not any too stable, and a nuisance to produce a decent document with, as far as I can make out from what I read. Not entirely virus-safe for the reader, not entirely impossible to copy and revise a document (using capture utilities if necessary), though not so easy as with a Word file.It is the only way to distribute formatted documents across platforms and systems. It is rapidly becoming the way most printed things are produced the printer or output person need not worry about fonts, colors, having the creating application, or any of the other problems that have been plagueing the publishing industry since it was forced onto the desktop.

Making a good PDF does require some thought (it contains a lot of details, some of them critical). It is often misused, and I hate being surprised by a PDF opening in a browser window. PDFs made by printing any old file to PDF are usually dogs. And the Acrobat application is more useful than Reader (and Acrobat is costly).

But PDF (or something just like it anyway) is necessary and here to stay.

How is Acrobat unstable on your system?

davidh
December 11th, 2005, 12:34 PM
Almost every time I try to view a .pdf file I get a message that says "file does not begin with %pdf. This affects downloads as many "download" links open the .pdf file.

Is this an Adobe problem or a Mozilla problem, does anyone know? Is there a fix?

Perhaps there is a way to find the actual URL of the file and download it?

For example, one might search on Google with search restricted to the particular domain where the file is hosted and also add the word "PDF" into the search query?

Or perhaps there is some "properties" item or other in some dialog box in the Reader that one can click to see the URL and then highlight and control-C to capture it?

Once you have the URL you can use it download the file with utilities like WGET.EXE or HTGET.EXE, I think. Or you might have to make a small HTML file with a link to the URL, open the HTML file in your browser, and then DL the file. PITA, really, but I did it once on some file or other because I couldn't figure out another way to get the file.

David H.

davidh
December 11th, 2005, 01:02 PM
Oh, now I remember what it was. A multi-megabyte PDF file containing state environmental regulations or something. Apparently my PC had too little memory to load the file AND have both browser and acro reader running simultaneously.

So it was easy to get the URL with Firefox, but I still had to run Netscape Composer to rig up a little HTML file to put the URL link in to DL the file then with FF.

Still easier than if the link had actually been a javascript.

Not a lot of fun anyway you slice it.

David H.

davidh
December 11th, 2005, 01:13 PM
PDFs made by printing any old file to PDF are usually dogs. I tried out a RSS reader recently that had the options of outputting blog posts in MS DOC or in Adobe PDF format. I can't remember if I actually tried the PDF option, but seems like a useful idea to me. Otherwise one might have to save the HTML file together with all the images, so one then ends up with an HTML file and a folder full of images, style sheets and whatnot. Then I still have to create a separate folder for the HTML and its associated folder full of images, etc., just to keep all the junk glued together in one place so that I don't accidentally erase the HTML or the images folder before I'm all done using it and ready to throw it in the trash.

David H.

ktinkel
December 12th, 2005, 11:56 AM
I tried out a RSS reader recently that had the options of outputting blog posts in MS DOC or in Adobe PDF format. Sounds good, but I would try it first with a smallish batch to see (a) how well it works in the first place; and (b) how large the file could be.

I could envision a behemoth from some blogs!

MollyM/CA
December 12th, 2005, 02:09 PM
How is Acrobat unstable on your system?

On both systems an attempt to view a .pdf from the Net --for instance one of the ones whose link says "download" and means "view"-- will often result in a screen around a currently open file --for instance a Word document. I think it's some kind of loop because the CPU usage goes up and up and up, and then finally the whole computer is locked --sometimes can be rescued with ctrl/alt/del; sometimes not.

Other times the inadvertent attempt to download a .pdf file just locks the system.

ktinkel
December 12th, 2005, 04:32 PM
and then finally the whole computer is locked --sometimes can be rescued with ctrl/alt/del; sometimes not.

Other times the inadvertent attempt to download a .pdf file just locks the system.Now that does sound nasty. But I do not think it is common, though I realize that provides no satisfaction for you.

Unfortunately, there can be so many villains: the maker of the PDF, the browser, the OS, the conditions of your system, and, of course, as you suspect, the PDF format itself.