I don't understand what has happened to Acrobat (Adobe Reader) over the last few years.

It used to be quick, sleek and efficient.

Now it's a 60Mb download that on install pokes its fingers into IE, Word and Outlook (and other places I suspect) as well as trying to install toolbars and third party deadweight. It takes forever to start up and the first thing it does is phone home to try and install a few more add-ins.

I'm so over it. At least on my Mac the PDF reader capability is built into OSX and Apple have ensured that it's unobtrusive and efficient.

I'm actually not a huge fan of PDFs in the first place. Portable they may be, but the number of people who use them when a more efficient compressed format (PNG for instance) would have been more appropriate, or don't set them up correctly to be editable so you still have to print them, fill  them in by hand and rescan them (to a JPG!) before using them. For instance I had to fill in an application form for the bank recently... the PDF was only permitted read and print, no fill-in options so you could at least print out a typed document.

So it comes as a great relief to have discovered Foxit Reader. It's a 1Mb download. It doesn't need to be installed (working quite happily straight from a zip file or off a USB Memory Key), it does't try and hook into the registry, system startup or install any helper apps. It doesn't even check for an update (although it would be nice to have an option for it to do so).

Best thing is that like Adobe Reader it's free. And Foxit also have a bunch of other neat PDF creation and manipulation tools if you want to do more.

Of course with the integration of XPS into Windows Vista and Adobes intransigence regarding licencing PDF creation to Microsoft to include in Office2007 I wonder how long as a user I'll be seeing PDF files anyway. With a free, OS level alternative in wide-spread use the over-priced and overloaded Acrobat may well be due for retirement...