Poppler is a fork of the xpdf PDF viewer developed by Derek Noonburg of
Glyph and Cog, LLC. The purpose of forking xpdf is twofold. First, we
want to provide PDF rendering functionality as a shared library, to
centralize the maintenence effort. Today a number of applications
incorporate the xpdf code base, and whenever a security issue is
discovered, all these applications exchange patches and put out new
releases. In turn, all distributions must package and release new
version of these xpdf based viewers. It's safe to say that there's a
lot of duplicated effort with the current situation. Even if poppler
in the short term introduces yet another xpdf derived code base to the
world, we hope that over time these applications will adopt poppler.
After all, we only need one application to use poppler to break even.
Second, we would like to move libpoppler forward in a number of areas
that doesn't fit within the goals of xpdf. By design, xpdf depends on
very few libraries and runs a wide range of X based platforms. This is
a strong feature and reasonable design goal. However, with poppler we
would like to replace parts of xpdf that are now available as standard
components of modern Unix desktop environments. One such example is
fontconfig, which solves the problem of matching and locating fonts on
the system, in a standardized and well understood way. Another example
is cairo, which provides high quality 2D rendering. See the file TODO
for a list of planned changes.