More Vertical Software Woes

A person for whom I installed Linux contacted me about being unable to complete a fillable PDF form. This person has a dependency on Quicken and tax software.

Fillable PDF forms use a technology called XML Forms Architecture (XFA). The XFA technology is proprietary and controlled by the Adobe folks. Thus the only PDF viewer that fully supports XFA is Adobe Reader. At one time the Adobe folks supported Adobe Reader for Linux, but they gave Linux folks the finger and ended support a few years ago.

XFA is classic vendor lock-in.

This user is not a geek. Not even close. Support for fillable PDF forms is a hole in the Linux world. This person does not know about the technical details. Or the security issues. Or the ideology. The person does not care. The person only wants to get work done. To be productive.

Yeah, I am aware of various solutions such as using GIMP or LibreOffice. Classic WTF geek poop.

I informed the person about running Windows in a virtual machine to run vertical software. I am to the point of accepting the silliness of doing this. The person needs to start the computer, boot into Linux, then start the virtual machine to run several apps. All of which are crucial work flow apps. The silliness is “Why not just run Windows?”

I have no answer to that question. I recommended the person return to Windows.

Posted: Category: Commentary, Usability Tagged: General, Windows

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