DjVu Plugin 4.0 Bitonal Printing Problem
(now up to 24 times slower)
a Report by PlanetDjVu, May 5, 2003

Update: 5-7-2003 We contacted LizardTech about this problem. They are now aware if it, and will attempt a cure in the next undate build of the plugin. Don't know when that will be, however.

On March 12, 2003, LizardTech released an upgrade to the DjVu Browser Plugin for Windows, Version This was an upgrade to Version 3.6.2.

The LizardTech download page lists the size of this plugin update as 1.7 MB, but this is not true. The actual size is 4.58 MB.

This plugin update, which is actually more than twice the size of the previous version, now installs Leadtools DLL files in the System32 folder of Windows, although LizardTech does not tell you that the plugin is doing this. The DLL files support the display of annotations in the new Version 24 of DjVu. LizardTech does not document version increments to the DjVu format, and you cannot turn to DjVuZone (which previously provided such documentation), as the site has now been frozen for 29 months.

From what we can tell, the only difference between Version 23 and Version 24 of the DjVu format is support for Leadtools annotations.

In this plugin update, support for bitonal print spooling has been dropped.

We ran a test in order to detail this problem for you.

We created a single-page bitonal DjVu file and printed it using the Version 3.6.2 plugin. The print spool size (the size of the temp file used for printing) was 1.01 MB. Then we installed the Version plugin and printed it again. The print spool size was now 24 MB (the size of an uncompressed color image). Not suprisingly, printing was much slower.

As a comparative test, we imported the same image into PDF and printed it. The print spool size was 1 MB.  Then we added a color annotation to the PDF and printed it again. The print spool size was still 1 MB, and it printed the color annotation IN COLOR. Acrobat does not need to promote the bitonal image to color in order to print color annotations over a bitonal page image.

Because of this printing problem, we recommend that you stick with the 3.6.2 version of the DjVu Browser Plugin.

You cannot get the Version 3.6.2 plugin from LizardTech anymore, because LizardTech does not publish an archive of previous versions.

You can get the Version 3.6.2 plugin using the links below, because we have kept an archive here at PlanetDjVu.

DjVu Browser Plugin 3.6.2:

If you have already installed the DjVu Browser Plugin Version 4, you can safely install Version 3.6.2. The plugin installer will uninstall Version 4 automatically. The installer will end when Versison 4 is uninstalled. Run it again to install 3.6.2.

Version 3.6.2 does NOT write files into the Windows System32 directory. The size of Version 3.6.2 is 2.52 MB.

Now that you are safely back to Version 3.6.2, there is one more consideration. Any DjVu files that were created with Document Express 4.0 Editor from LizardTech (Version 24 files) will display the following message when opened in the Version 3.6.2 plugin:

To correct this problem, save the DjVu file from the 3.6.2 plugin. It will be saved as a Verison 23 DjVu file, and the message will not appear anymore when the file is opened.

Because LizardTech has chosen to use third-party DLLs from Leadtools for Annotations in Version 24, they cannot be supported in the open source version of DjVu. The latest release of djview, the open source DjVu viewer, will suppress the upgrade message (above) when it encounters a Version 24 DjVu file, but it will not (and cannot) display annotations. This represents a break in compatability with open source DjVu. LizardTech did not consult the DjVu format authors who maintain open source DjVu before doing this, and they are not telling you, either. It would appear that LizardTech is attempting to make the DjVu format a proprietary format again, reversing the decision of two years ago (and by previous management) to put it into open source.

If you are Mac OS 9.2 or Mac OS X user, you have your own serious problem with the 4.0 plugin update from LizardTech. You cannot save files that are larger than about 15 pages. See the DjVu Plugin Help forum for more details. Sorry, we don't have the previous plugin version to offer you as a workaround.

We have said this before, and we will say it again:

If LizardTech would do QA and run a beta program, these problems would not make it into released software. But LizardTech apparently does not do QA, they certainly do not run beta programs, and they do not recognize PlanetDjVu or the concept of accountability to a DjVu user community. It was end-users who reported this printing problem in the PlanetDjVu forum two months ago, soon after LizardTech released the 4.0 plugin update.  Because nothing has been done about this problem, we now resort to publishing this news item, and recommend that you go back to the previous plugin version. What more can we do?

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