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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:03 am    Post subject: Minimal pdf viewers again: Zathura vs Mupdf Reply with quote

Zathura turned into split packages today (main program with plugins for pdf, postscript, djvu, etc.). It now offers you a choice of two plugins for pdf rendering:

a) zathura-pdf-poppler
b) zathura-mupdf

So I said, "Aahrrr! Bloatware!", and uninstalled it.

Since mupdf includes its own viewer, I replaced zathura with that. It seems very fast and light, and all its dependencies are already on the system.

Then I thought "what does mupdf use to render pdf files?" Most pdf viewers use poppler, but that's not a dependency of mupdf. So, if it's not using poppler, and is relying instead on its own internal code, that means I now have two pieces of redundant software -- mupdf's main library and poppler (which is unfortunately a mandatory dependency of CUPS, which you pretty much need if you want to print).

So, taking that redundancy into account (which probably doesn't bother most people) along with other factors, would one be better off running zathura with the pdf-poppler plugin or running mupdf?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on the other factors, I'd say. I would tend to use the pdf-poppler library since its proven and already there anyway.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

poppler descend from a fork of xpdf and inherited the shitty font rendering on screen, reading a pdf in evince is often difficult because the text appears blurry, acroread is better but mupdf renders fonts on the screen better than xpdf/poppler.
mupdf interface is minimal, if zathura (I haven't tried it) has a better interface and retains the better font rendering of mupdf it might be worth using it.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been waiting for this, but I can't find it, although I just synced, only got
Code:
[N] app-text/zathura ((~)0.1.1): A highly customizable and functional document viewer
[N] app-text/zathura-djvu ((~)0.1.0): DjVu plug-in for zathura
[N] app-text/zathura-pdf-poppler ((~)0.1.1): PDF plug-in for zathura
[N] app-text/zathura-ps ((~)0.1.0): PostScript plug-in for zathura
this right now.

I'm using mupdf for some years now and I'm quite happy, though in my case, zathura+mupdf might be a good way, since it's UI comes close to my browser (luakit) and it's sometimes nicer to me to use commands than just single button shortcuts.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, apparently we have no "zathura-pdf-mupdf" yet. I wonder why.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I found on the tracker, it seems to be related to this: https://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=407807 - we currently miss the shared libs in the way we build it.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't used Zathura much, and only for pdf viewing, but I don't miss anything when using mupdf. Conceptually, it makes more sense to have a viewer that can also look at ps, djvu, docbook, etc., but the truth is that I don't currently look at any of those.

If I'm reading what you linked to correctly, it seems like this "plug-in" based architecture is more flexible for end-users of binary distributions, but it creates problems for hardened.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spake up if you keep expecting Nietzsche.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
Spake up if you keep expecting Nietzsche.

:lol:

That's Zarathustra. This is Zathura (the Jumanji in Space book and movie).

Don't worry, now that you have a child, you will gradually get back in touch with the world as you share its experiences.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mupdf is a PDF (1.7) and XPS rendering lib written in C from the ground up (sort of... based off of libart). There are no plans to implement interactive features (form filling). It does have a minimal interface but it is actually intended as a library. It is developed by Artifex, the same guys responsible for GhostScript. Poppler is a PDF library that came from a fork of Xpdf and has been used all over Linux for years now for PDF handling. The code is a bit ugly and unwieldy.

The focus of MuPDF is on speed, small code size, and high quality anti-aliased rendering. Poppler, on the other hand, probably has wider PDF feature and edge-case coverage since it has been around so long and is and widely deployed.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, if Artifex is responsible for Ghostscript, when will we see libmupdf as an option to replace poppler as a CUPS dependency? Also, if Ghostscript (a dependency of CUPS) is capable of both postscript and pdf rendering, why does CUPS need poppler?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
CUPS ships a pdftops filter based on the /usr/bin/pdftops utility of Poppler. It produces DSC-conforming PostScript which can easily be processed by further filters.


At some point in time CUPS did use ghostscript as a filter but poppler did a better job as a PDF2PS filter. Poppler sucks really when rendering on screen, probably because fontconfig lcd-optimizations came out a long time after xpdf was written.

Open a file with mupdf, evince (or any poppler based viewer), xpdf and acroread, and look at the same page with all viewers, the page with copyrights at the beginning with all those small prints makes a good comparison. And the difference is noticeable. There is still a long way to go before free pdf libraries renders decently esp. on lcd screens.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
So, if Artifex is responsible for Ghostscript, when will we see libmupdf as an option to replace poppler as a CUPS dependency?

I'm not sure they're related. Artifex doesn't have anything to do with poppler or CUPS as far as I can tell. And I believe poppler does much more than just simple PDF rendering so it may not even be possible to replace it with mupdf.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input, guys.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:23 pm    Post subject: zathura-pdf-mupdf, or a bare mupdf viewer? Reply with quote

So, can we find a way of running Zathura with a mupdf backend? I would have preferred to use the mupdf viewer app itself, but I cannot find out what is wrong with it, you cannot use it in the most basic way you would use a pdf viewer - be able to read it from the beginning to the end just by consecutively pressing space. I cannot find a continuous viewing mode, and it is ok, but in its single-page mode, when you press space a couple of times and it finally goes to the next page, it leaves the page scrolled to the bottom, and in order to start viewing that next page from the beginning, you have to scroll up!! Is that I cannot find a kind of option that fixes this? or is it a default behaviour? In that case - what a deficiency!
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:59 pm    Post subject: Re: zathura-pdf-mupdf, or a bare mupdf viewer? Reply with quote

slpfrafjellene wrote:
So, can we find a way of running Zathura with a mupdf backend?

https://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=407807
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:46 pm    Post subject: Re: zathura-pdf-mupdf, or a bare mupdf viewer? Reply with quote

slpfrafjellene wrote:
So, can we find a way of running Zathura with a mupdf backend? I would have preferred to use the mupdf viewer app itself, but I cannot find out what is wrong with it, you cannot use it in the most basic way you would use a pdf viewer - be able to read it from the beginning to the end just by consecutively pressing space. I cannot find a continuous viewing mode, and it is ok, but in its single-page mode, when you press space a couple of times and it finally goes to the next page, it leaves the page scrolled to the bottom, and in order to start viewing that next page from the beginning, you have to scroll up!! Is that I cannot find a kind of option that fixes this? or is it a default behaviour? In that case - what a deficiency!

I don't have any of these problems with it. When I press space or right-arrow it immediately goes to the next page. It zooms in or out with remarkable speed. The clarity of the text is excellent. It has limited functionality, but I've never used a pdf reader so fast. I can open up The Illyad (640 pages), and page through it to the end, displaying every page, in less than one minute.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: zathura-pdf-mupdf, or a bare mupdf viewer? Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
I don't have any of these problems with it. When I press space or right-arrow it immediately goes to the next page. It zooms in or out with remarkable speed. The clarity of the text is excellent. It has limited functionality, but I've never used a pdf reader so fast. I can open up The Illyad (640 pages), and page through it to the end, displaying every page, in less than one minute.

But no continuous mode or ps support :? (deal-breaker for me)
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:20 pm    Post subject: Re: zathura-pdf-mupdf, or a bare mupdf viewer? Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:

I don't have any of these problems with it. When I press space or right-arrow it immediately goes to the next page. It zooms in or out with remarkable speed. The clarity of the text is excellent. It has limited functionality, but I've never used a pdf reader so fast. I can open up The Illyad (640 pages), and page through it to the end, displaying every page, in less than one minute.


I didn't say it is slow or something. I only said that it retains the scroll when you move across pages. I know it woks as you said if you zoom it so that it fits the whole page to the screen. But if you fit it to width, which is what I want most of the time, you have to scroll and you get something like this: if, for example, I'm reading page 20 while each page on my screen is displayed as two screenfulls, after I scroll down to read the end of the page and then press the right arrow button and go to the page 21, I see the lower part of that page, not the start. Are you saying that your mupdf viewer doesn't inhabit this behaviour?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I see what you mean. Yes, it does that. I hadn't noticed since I never zoom in that far. Whole pages seem quite readable on half of a 1920x1080 screen.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I want mupdf to be sane on my 1024x768 display, so I will get it :evil:
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:41 pm    Post subject: Re: zathura-pdf-mupdf, or a bare mupdf viewer? Reply with quote

-

Last edited by CeleryStrings on Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:45 pm    Post subject: Re: zathura-pdf-mupdf, or a bare mupdf viewer? Reply with quote

CasimirCelerity wrote:
slpfrafjellene wrote:

I didn't say it is slow or something. I only said that it retains the scroll when you move across pages. I know it woks as you said if you zoom it so that it fits the whole page to the screen. But if you fit it to width, which is what I want most of the time, you have to scroll and you get something like this: if, for example, I'm reading page 20 while each page on my screen is displayed as two screenfulls, after I scroll down to read the end of the page and then press the right arrow button and go to the page 21, I see the lower part of that page, not the start. Are you saying that your mupdf viewer doesn't inhabit this behaviour?

Use "." It'll scroll to the top of the next page

Ah, yes indeed. And so does Page Down. Nice tip. There are some other interesting key and mouse bindings in the man page. (You can also use the mouse to scroll the pages. If you're viewing a whole page, you only need drag the mouse about a couple of centimeters to go to the top of the next page. If you're viewing a partial page it has scroll momentum (like when you use your finger on a tablet), and when you do this, if you reach the bottom of one page it goes to the next. Shift+mousewheel also does this. Control+mousewheel zooms.)

It also appears to have a slide-show mode: if you use the '.' key when full page is shown, it uses a wipe transition and advances automatically (one assumes this must be configurable somewhere). Control+j or 'g' will jump to the first page. I wonder how many other undocumented features there are.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I see what's going on. Their new version (to be released this month, according to [url=http://mupdf.com/formstheir web page[/url]) has transitions, forms, and javascript.

Teh Bloat!! :o
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I'm a fan of the mupdf reader, because it is compact and fast and matches my VIM like behaviour. Now I noticed there is zathura. What does it do better when using mupdf as backend? Reading here that mupdf is mainly planned as library and there are no plans to extend the user interface, zathura might be the only way to continue using the fast mupdf rendering while having more advanced user interface?
Because there are of course some minor things I miss on mupdf: More advanced search for (regular) expressions, search history, extracting text to clipboard etc.
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