DjVu Plugin 3.5.500 Reviewed
A review by James Rile, PlanetDjVu, September 16, 2002

The DjVu Web Brower Plugin 3.5.5 for Window was compiled on 7/9/2002 by LizardTech and was posted in July as Version 3.5.500 on the LizardTech website.

In this month of September, LizardTech has re-numbered the downloadable version of the plugin from "3.5.500" to just "3.5", dated 9-1-2002, and the autoinstall version is now numbered as 3.5.300, with no date.  It was also this way for the 3.5.400 release. It reports that the installer is 743 Kb when it is actually 1,991 Kb.

However, in each case what you are installing is version 3.5.500, compiled on 7/9/2002.  Once you have installed, you can open the readme.txt file in the plug-ins folder of your web browser, or after opening the DjVu plug-in, right click and select "About DjVu", to verify that you do indeed have the 3.5.500 version.

These version numbering conflicts were also present in previous releases made this year by LizardTech.  The conflicts were pointed out here at PlanetDjVu, but obviously the message is not getting accross.

Test Results - Previous Problems:

When we reviewed the 3.5.300 release, we reported that we were unable to disable the Zoom and Rotate tool buttons using CGI arguments.  When we reviewed the 3.5.400 release, we reported that these problems were still present.  Now in the 3.5.500 release, we observe that we can disable the Rotate tool button but still not the Zoom button.

When we reviewed the 3.5.300 release, we reported that we could disable the Search and TextSel buttons, but this was not documented in the Help file.  When we reviewed the 3.5.400 release, we reported that these will still not documented in the Help file.  Now in the 3.5.500 release, we observe that the Search button disabling is documented, but still not the TextSel button.

Test Results - New Problems:

As reported by a user in the Forum of PlanetDjVu, we have verified that this release of the DjVu Plugin consumes GDI resources as DjVu files are viewed.  As you open succeeding DjVu file, the number of bitmap handles and font handles always increases.  If you open enough DjVu files, you can cause your system to run out of GDI resources.

A bigger problem is a memory leak when you print.  As you print, memory is consumed but is then not released.  You cannot print more than about 10 pages before your computer starts running out of memory.  We suggest that you print a long DjVu document in page-ranges of 10 or less, to minimize this memory leakage.  This memory leakage can also be described as "memory conusmption".  It appears that the consumed memory is released when you close the plug-in.  Check for yourself if you like.

See GDI-Resource Hogging and Memory Leakage for yourself:

You can download and run this tiny utility program for Windows that will show you the problems:

If you do so, then please report your findings in the Forum Thread about this subject.

Reported Fixes in Version 3.5.500:

The following is reported in the readme.txt file for this version:

Corrected support for rotated images (created using Editor 3.5):
       a. Annotations (highlight areas, hyperlinks) are rendered with correct orientation.
       b. Images are printed with correct orientation.

I assume that by "Editor 3.5", LizardTech is referring to "Document Express Desktop Edition" and "Document Express Professional Edition", and not "DjVu Editor 3.5".  There was a product called DjVu Editor 3.1, which disappeared without notice last June along with the other DjVu products.

We have asked LizardTech about the availability of the DjVu Editor product, but have not received an answer.

If you are a Mozilla for Windows User...

We reported earlier that you could copy the Netscape version of the DjVu Plugin to the Mozilla plug-in folder, and it would work.  With the latest DjVu Plugin release, this is no longer true.  Don't know why, sorry to say.

If you are a Linux or Unix user...

Users have reported that the Open Source plugin from DjVuLibre is now more advanced than the one from LizardTech, so you are advised to click the DjVuLibre Plugin link on the home page of PlanetDjVu.

If you are a MAC user...

Dunno for sure.  I still hear of problems, but have not tested myself.  If you are a MAC user, please report your findings in the Forum of PlanetDjVu for the benefit of other DjVu users.

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