PDF Renderer for Ubuntu Touch

Registered by Till Kamppeter

One important part to make printing on mobile devices work is a PDF renderer/rasterizer. As resources on mobile devices are limited, there should be once only one PDF renderer on the system, for both printing (https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/client-1305-printing-stack-with-mobile-in-mind) and screen display (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/CoreApps/DocViewer) and the one PDF renderer should not be too resource-hungry.

Candidates are Poppler, which was used as screen displayer on the standard desktop all the time and MuPDF, a lightweight, color management-aware renderer from the upstream developers of Ghostscript, who are experts in printing and color management.

Ghostscript is too resource-consuming, is centered in the PostScript interpreter which we do not need here, and its PDF interpreter is mostly written in PostScript, so Ghostscript is not the right thing for mobile.

For writing up ideas and discussion, go to our Wiki page: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/PDFRenderer

Blueprint information

Not started
Sebastien Bacher
Till Kamppeter
Needs approval
Till Kamppeter
Series goal:
Milestone target:

Related branches



tkamppeter, 2013-05-29:

Poppler also allows filling and saving forms. In Raring it has a bug which prevents this, in Saucy this will be fixed (new upstream version of Poppler).

Additional advantages of Poppler:

- Poppler exists for longer time, so more bugs of the type "File XXX does not display" are fixed.
- Poppler is already in use in the standard desktops of Ubuntu, so for convergence it is better to use Poppler in Ubuntu Touch.
- Better accessibility (screen reading) support.

tkamppeter, 2013-05-17:

We should make this decision already for the first version of Ubuntu Touch also when the printing will only come in the second, so that we do not need to switch over when the other one is better for printing.

Advantages MuPDF:

- Probably more lightweight as it is developed with low resource consumption in mind
- Filling forms and saving the file with the filled form content works, no other free PDF software is capable of this
- Written by the printing-oriented Ghostscript developers, so better quality for printing expected

Advantages Poppler:

- In use for much longer time than MuPDF, so probably less problems of the "File XXX does not display" kind.

Wiki page added: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/PDFRenderer


Work Items

Work items:
Decide whether Poppler or MuPDF should be used as PDF renderer in Ubuntu Touch: INPROGRESS

Dependency tree

* Blueprints in grey have been implemented.