Mozilla included a built-in PDF reader as a default feature in Firefox 19. How does it work, and is it safer than other PDF readers like Adobe Reader or Foxit?
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Mozilla introduced a built-in PDF reader, in part, to reduce the need for plugins with proprietary source code that, according to Mozilla, "could potentially expose users to security vulnerabilities." Another initiative to tackle plugin security issues is its Click-to-Play feature. By default Click-to-Play restricts all browser plugins, except the latest version of Flash, from loading until a user gives it permission.
Mozilla's reader is certainly faster than a plugin reader, as the user doesn't have to download the content to read it in Foxit or Adobe Reader, or fire up a plugin. It also means less reliance on Adobe for security updates, which is a good thing! However, be forewarned that some PDFs don't display properly or at all. You may want to look at the integrated document reader in Windows 8, Modern Reader, as another alternative. Users running Linux have even more choices when it comes to free PDF viewers, some of which can handle other document formats.
This was first published in June 2013