Advertising for proprietary software

I have noticed that Open Journal Systems software is advertising a proprietary software program. In the present case, we are advising users of this software to download the proprietary PDF reader Acrobat Reader from Adobe, for example on Expanding Critical Communities of Practice: CESJ as Exemplar | Hinchey | The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy . Here is the issue: > The PDF file you selected should load here if your Web browser has a PDF reader plug-in installed (for example, a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Even though this program is gratis it is advertisement for a certain company, like advertisement for a gratis test drive with a car is advertisement for the manufacturer. So with this advertisement we favour one company and its software over everyone else in the market, distorting the competition in the software market.

One solution to this is to remove the advertisement from the software. On you can find a list of organisations, companies, and individuals who support this request by signing the “Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software Advertising On Public Websites”. By adhering to the Open Standard PDF, you make sure your documents can be opened by all programs that implement the PDF standard, no matter from which vendor. If we want to provide the visitors guidance, it’s recommended that we list several PDF readers, by saying something like “to open this PDF file, you need a PDF reader. You can download one of the following programs (list is not exhaustive)”. Both alternatives are much fairer than recommending just one reader made by one company.

On you can find some examples of PDF readers which we could point to on our software. All readers listed there are Free Software, which means that everybody is free to use them for any purpose, study how they work, share them either gratis or for a fee, and improve the
program. These readers are vendor-neutral, and every company can sell the program, adapt it for their own solutions, or make the software a part of the services they offer.

Kind regards,

Erdener TUNA

Hi @erdener,

We support a number of ways of embedding PDFs and have refined this over the years with changing technology – going from iframes to <embed> to the PDFObject library and now to a mixture of options configured as plugins.

The best way to embed PDFs is to use the PDF.js plugin which ships with recent releases of OJS, but other ways (currently PDFObject and Google Viewer) are also available. Each option has its own compatibility and accessibility implications and it’s up to the end user which they want to use.

When using the preferred PDF.js viewer, OJS does not recommend proprietary software in the article viewing area. The language explicitly naming Acrobat is mostly a legacy consideration – this is a 10-year-old codebase – and we’ll be removing it entirely from OJS 3.0.

Alec Smecher
Publc Knowledge Project Team