I have a PDF document (from the British Library via interlibrary loan) which is password protected via some sort of remote validation of the password. I tried to open it on Ubuntu 14.04, which failed.

It seems that the ADE (Adobe Digital Edition) is needed and not available for Linux. I will report on the problem and some attempted solutions.

The Problem:

  • Acroread (version 9.5.5) opens with a message "you need to be connected to the Internet" (which I am) and closes immediately.
  • Evince (version 3.10.3) asks for a password and has a console error "Syntax Error: Couldn't find the 'Adobe.APS' security handler". I suspect I am missing this "security handler".

What the instructions for the PDF say:

  • Can I read my documents on a different PC than the PC I downloaded it to?

    Yes, as long as the PC is activated with the same Adobe ID as the first PC you opened the document on. When you click your link, you are sent an acsm file which is a 'key' to download the PDF file from our servers. This acsm file is not the document itself. It can however be saved onto a memory stick and transferred to another PC for use. As with FileOpen, the other PC needs to have Internet connectivity. We would advise you not to take this approach and to simply click on the link you were sent on the other PCs on which you wish to open the document (remembering they must be activated with the same Adobe ID).

Attempted Solutions:


First download version 8 of Adobe Reader in your language from the archived ftp site (version 9 does not work):


Then download FileOpen plugin for Linux:


After extracting the archive, install using commandline_installer.sh (open terminal, navigate to folder, type ./commandline_installer.sh) or copy the FileOpen.AR7.api and FileOpen.AR8.api files to the Reader plugin folder with:

sudo cp FileOpen.AR*.api /opt/Adobe/Reader8/Reader/intellinux/plug_ins/

You should hopefully then be able to open the file.

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A more recent Reader (e.g. version 10) can be installed thanks to Wine. Worth a try. See https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=version&iId=27093

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I have chosen to bypass difficulties with Adobe reader on Linux by using Master PDF Editor. I routinely use it as my standard PDF viewer. There is a "free" version and a "paid" version. I believe that only the "edit" functionality is impacted if you use the "free" version.

The demo version allows you to try out all the features of Master PDF
Editor. There are no limitations except for the addition of a watermark
on the output file.

It's feature list includes:

View password-encrypted documents (password required).

See the product overview for more detail.

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