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Opinionated post alert! These are my personal observations, your priorities may differ:
Xpdf: very light weight, don't need Gnome/KDE libraries to run it. But, very few features and a cryptic interface (can't adjust printing options from the program, for example). Rendering quality seems to be inferior as well (rough edges on the scaling).
Adobe Reader: This is the de-facto standard PDF reader (the Internet Explorer of the PDF world.) Bloated, slow, and has certain features that sometimes you wished it ignored, such as not allowing copy/paste because the author of the doc said so. No source code so you have to trust their packages and binaries. However, this one is good for filling out tax forms and the like.
GhostView: As I understand it, this is for PS so it converts the PDF over (although isn't PDF really closely related?). I haven't really used it much because it seems to have an abundance of weird rendering bugs and is broken half the time after I upgrade Ubuntu.. so I can't offer much on this one.
Evince: Has the basic features I use (text copy/paste, page previews, search, print settings..), renders nice, reasonably fast. My personal favorite.
Ghostview will open plain postscript files, adobe illustrator files and PDF files. It's part of the GhostScript project - if you have GhostView, then you have GhostScript as well. GhostScript itself is a quite powerful command-line tool, enabling you to converting between vector formats (postscript and PDF vice versa). It is also handy to merge different PDF files into a single PDF file.
Xpdf has once been the only option to read PDF files on Linux/UNIX systems (more than a decade ago). Nowadays there are many alternatives.
If you want to read encrypted e-books or PDF's that are protected/tweaked beyond sanity, then you will need Adobe's Reader. For plain PDF files you can stick with GhostView.
I sugest you install them all. You will find out for yourself, which one you use the most.
Why not try them out and see which one's better. Is it that hard to try out ?
I have! I don't see any difference beyond the ui. But, I didn't know if there was a difference in the internals that put one at an advantage or disadvantage.
Personally, I like the ui of Adobe Acrobat. But, since its fatter than stick of lard, both in shear program size and in startup time and memory consumption, it puts me off a bit. For that reason, I may prefer XPDF, since it is (as far as I know) significantly smaller in size.
I have used ghostview and gsview on solaris and windows to
view PostScript files. Now I have a fedora Core 9 machine, and there
is no yum available for either of these.
Evince will show postscript files, but I need the feature which
both ghostview and gsview have, that the position of the cursor is
shown (in pts) as you move it around in the window. As far as I can
tell, evince doesn't do that.
Can anyone help?