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Eagle Project Workbook is exclusionary

Regarding Foxit Reader, the OS Feature Matrix https://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf-reader/comparison.html shows that “Form Filling” is not supported on Linux, and there is no Android client.

Yep, and it could even be something like Google Docs/Sheets: browser-based, thus cross-platform. (And free.)

Yeah. BSA should put some of their developers on it. It could be an extension of scoutbook.

Since it would only be used by 4% of all Scouts, such a program, to replace a simple form, may not be a good use of limited resources. Very few Scouts or adults in Scouts use Linux. So, this affects even less than 4%.

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It would make it easier for scouts so hopefully it might increase that number. Plus it would be extremely easy to program.

Also about 8% get Eagle now due to lower membership numbers and easier requirments.

Maybe, but probably not. The total usage for Linux in the US in 2020 is a bit under 2% of all installed systems. The chances that any Scout or Scouter has access to a Linux system and ONLY a Linux system is pretty, pretty low.

I agree this is a topic for the development wish list, but I can’t see it getting worked on ahead of some of the other things that have been requested over and over (and over and over…)

As I have said before, the BSA does not monitor these forums. If you want to make suggestions for improvements to the Eagle forms, send an e-mail to advancement.team@scouting.org. The forms are owned by Advancement, not BSA IT. They are the ones that would be directing any changes.

I installed the current version of FoxIt reader (for “64-bit Linux”) on Debian 10.3 64-bit. When I open the “512-927_fillable.pdf” file with it, I get the “Please Wait…” message:

If this message is not eventually replaced by the proper contents of the document, your PDF viewer may not be able to display this type of document.
You can upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader for Windows®, Mac, or Linux® by visiting http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.

Of course, I get the same message with the distribution-provided tools “xpdf” or “evince”.

However, in my case, I also have access to a computer that dual-boots Linux and Windows Enterprise 7 (out of support), and on the Windows partition we have Adobe Reader IX Pro installed (also out of support). (In fact, that’s the computer that my Life Scout son primarily uses). I was able to open the workbook in Reader, print it using the “CutePDF” driver, and create a PDF/A version of the workbook. (Except it seems to be black-and-white rather than color; but the text s all there.) Here’s the result, in case it helps anyone. 512-927_flattened.pdf (892.2 KB)

Yes your correct. Many more pressing matters with BSA I.T. stuff.

So here is the rub and time to consider real costs? Should the BSA be spending any money on maintaining the workbook?? As long as they are using Acrobat there is a very real cost even if not a developer cost. We will start with a very real software cost. Even if Adobe is giving this to the BSA there is an IT support cost just to have it on the right person’s machine. Now add in that you have consigned the updates to a professional.

The mostly volunteer committee decides an update is needed and now a professional will modify the form and send it back to the volunteers. They will then look it over and then it gets published. Make the change and it becomes the volunteers update the list of headings and it gets published.

Not sure about the Android version of Adobe Reader DC, but for sure the iOS version can’t open the workbook form. If you try, it refers you to the window/MacOS version of the product.

Opens fine on my iOS with Acrobat - on my iPhone - forms work
EDIT: no I did the Application that worked - you are right the Workbook failed

One workaround is to have the Scout use the “print to Microsoft PDF” printer device selection and print out the Workbook as a new file. It flattens it and you can’t edit it, but at least you can then email it around for review as it can be opened in the iOS (& I assume Android) Acrobat Reader apps. Not elegant and not a great long term solution, but it’s a workaround. I’d guess that you could open it in any Linux PDF reader but am not a Linux person so have no means to try. Am attaching such a PDF file created that way for you to try out on Linux.

Also, here’s what the print dialog looks like and the printer selection to look for in Reader DC:


test print to pdf workbook.pdf (3.6 MB)

Yea, I think because the Workbook has some use of forms edit controls and macros that the iOS/Android versions don’t support, but if you do a Print to Microsoft PDF first, the resulting flattened file can be read.

Thank you for posting this issue - I would have thought I was the only one with this problem. My son is having the same issue and volume of comments speaks for itself. I have just spent two hours working through this issue on a nice summer night. The Eagle workbook is just one of many broken things in BSA right now.

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The issue with this is that the signature pages are not included. My District/Council requires the proposal to be signed by the Scout, Unit Leader, Committee Chairman, and Beneficiary Representative prior to submission for Council approval. That would need to come as a separate document, which often gets lost, because “wet signatures” are required (exception being those submitted during the pandemic but that is temporary).

I don’t think the problem is so much that the document is in PDF format, but that the active elements in the workbook only work in Adobe’s application for reading/modifying PDFs. Several of the other PDFs distributed by the BSA are fillable in other applications (such as Preview or macOS) without the issues being discussed in this thread.

I’ve tried transferring it to another platform but as long as the file has some secret-double-handshake with Adobe Acrobat DC I can’t get any copies to open on Preview (Mac), Printing it and scanning it requires a scanner for each person sending it. Many of our Scouts barely have computers (usually school-issued Chromebooks) and a printer. Asking families to also have a scanner is too much. Also, on the Mac version I have not been able to sign a document on the app.

I wasn’t buying the standard Linux argument, but this argument I like. We many scouts now having school issues chromebooks, and standards compliant (and this maybe less rich) pdf is a must. Thanks for sharing as you have changed my position with your points.

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