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Stephen Shankland


Adobe Systems has released version 7 of its Acrobat software for creating PDF files, with upgraded collaboration features and a beta version of its free Adobe Reader 7 for Linux.

Acrobat Version 7, released Wednesday, comes in two versions, the $299 Standard edition for most people who want to create a PDF, or portable document format, files, and the $449 Professional edition with some higher-end features. In addition, Adobe changed the name of Acrobat Reader to Adobe Reader.

With version 7, the free Acrobat Reader software can be used to add comments and make modifications to PDF files–as long as the original PDF creator permits it and uses the Professional version. The idea is to make Adobe’s software a more useful tool for exchanging electronic documents such as forms or purchase orders.

Acrobat 7 Professional also includes upgrades for publishing technical documents such as architectural and engineering documents. That’s an area where the company faces a challenge from drafting-software maker Autodesk.

Also Wednesday, Adobe released its LiveCycle Policy Server software, which lets organizations govern which users may read, modify, print, save or e-mail PDF files. The software costs $50,000.

The Linux beta version for Adobe Reader 7 isn’t a surprise. Adobe is becoming more active in desktop Linux. The San Jose, Calif.-based company had released a version of Acrobat Reader 5 for Linux but skipped version 6.

Adobe said it addressed one major Adobe Reader complaint: the long delay loading PDF files within Web browsers. “It does load significantly faster than Adobe Reader 6 did,” within one to two seconds for most people, spokesman John Cristofano said.

Adobe Reader 7 now comes with a new Adobe-branded version of the Yahoo toolbar that blocks pop-up ads and offers a search option to users of Internet Explorer. Adobe and Yahoo announced their partnership in October.

The full version of Acrobat Reader 7 is a 19.8MB download. The Yahoo Toolbar adds another 0.5MB, and an option to download Adobe’s Photoshop Album 2.0 Starter Edition for organizing digital photos adds another 6.5MB.