I have a PDF file (first link here) that when opened says:

The document you are trying to load requires Adobe Reader 8 or higher. You may not have the Adobe Reader installed or your viewing environment may not be properly configured to use Adobe Reader.

I have tried Document Viewer (evince), okular, xpdf, gv, qpdfview, mupdf as well as the built-in pdf viewers in Firefox and Chromium. They all show the same message.

The file works fine in acroread 9, but I know that is no longer supported for Linux, so I would like to have an alternative. In this case there is a plain pdf version of the file.


3 Answers 3


We can't get to the pdf in question directly and the page that offers it does not offer a direct link. That makes this question inconvenient for discussion.

The document in question is an Adobe LiveCycle Designer file, which in my opinion should not be labeled as a "PDF" file because it does not comply with the open standards for a PDF file. It is an XFA form document.

See here about the fact that XFA is not part of the open PDF standard, it is a proprietary Adobe hack that is now deprecated by ISO TC 171: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format

My instinct is to tell Adobe to jump in the ocean and forget about their stupid format, but if you are determined, it appears the best options are to run Adobe Reader DC inside Wine (or similar)


Or Use Adobe DC to convert that LiveCycle Designer file to a PDF:


However, this seems like a bad idea to me because we are forced back into a closed technology that Adobe owns and only Adobe can open. It is not a legitimate PDF, if PDF is still supposed to mean "portable document format". Which this LiveDesigner file is not.


Finally, there are some decent solutions to this for Linux users. They really should be known as XFA files, and calling them PDFs is pretty deceptive as noted in another answer.

As of October 2021, Firefox 93+ can open, fill, and print these files by default.

As of August 2021, Chrome 95+ also supports these files. However, to open them in Chrome, you'll need to go to chrome://flags, search for "xfa", and explicitly enable XFA support:



Recently encountered this issue trying to open PDF forms created by the Canadian Government, and can confirm that Master PDF, opens such PDF files on Ubuntu 20.20 and allow filling in the forms.

For reference, I've checked version 5.6.29 (both registered and unregistered), but it's quite possible previous versions work as well.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.