Is there a command line program for linux that will let me read the text of PDFs? I'll willing to live with a lack of pictures.
Howto Open a PDF file under Linux / FreeBSD (lower part of article give you the options you are looking for)
pdf2txt.py from the Python project PDFMiner.
zathura is the tool you are looking for => http://pwmt.org/projects/zathura/
For Ubuntu and Arch Linux, just use the package management tools
apt-get install zathura or
pacman -S zathura to install.
To view PDF in CLI/Terminals, just run
zathura depends on x11 client libraries, it cannot run without them. So if you ssh to a remote host and run
zathura on it, you'll have to do X11 Forwarding (which means you need to run a X Server - Ubuntu Desktop will do).
One can use
less PDFFILE.pdf, which shows the text of the pdf. It requires
xpdf. I think it works pretty well for pdf's with a lot of text.
Also if you want to be able to see the actual pdf file (in low quality) you can use the fbi, the linux framebuffer imageviewer.
sudo fbi PDFFILE.pdf
Small problem is that it needs root privileges.