Thursday, August 7, 2008

A new mysterious strain of PDF

Just to spice up my life and possibly yours too... here's this out-of-the blue surprise.

This looks, at the first glance, like a regular PDF file. file command on a Linux box identifies it as "PDF document, version 1.4". It opens fine in pretty much any PDF reader (Acroread, KPDF, evince, whatever). However, if you decide to print it then it becomes a whole different ballgame.

It prints very slowly when it does. From Acroread 8 it does not print at all. That was checked on both OpenSuSE Linux 10.3 and MS Windows Vista so I have reason to believe that the problem at hand is most likely OS-agnostic.

It does print using the system print (lp) on OpenSuSE Linux 10.3. It prints on OpenSuSE Linux in Acroread 7, CentOS 5 Linux under Acroread 5 as well as on MacOS 10 under Preview. When converted to Postscript via pdftops it yields a humongous (100+ MB) Postscript file which is quite impressive given that the PDF file being converted is only a less-than-a-megabyte 13-page document.

If you know what this mystery PDF file is about or have encountered this mutation of PDF yourself - shout, and together we shall prevail!