acroread 9.5.5 (linux) shows binary garbadge after page numbers

Harald Koenig harald at
Fri Aug 20 11:45:46 CEST 2021

Hi TL team,

I just notice that with TL-2021 pdflatex, I see binary garbage after page numners (see upper left in attached screenshot).

looking into the PDFs generated by TL-20 and TL-21 I see:

---8<---    TL-20  ---8<------8<------8<------8<------8<---
  /PageLabels <<
    /Nums [
        /P (1)
        /P (2)
---8<---    TL-21  ---8<------8<------8<------8<------8<---
/PageLabels <<
    /Nums [
        /P <feff0031>
        /P <feff0032>

so the new byte order mark are part of that problem (and of course crappy old and broken acroread for linux:-(

I also find byte order marks in some but not all of the PDF metadata (and only there and page numbers):

72 0 obj
  /Author <feff00200048006100720061006c00640020004b00f6006e006900670020>
  /CreationDate (D:20210820105934+02'00')
  /Creator <feff004c0061005400650058002000770069007400680020004200650061006d0065007200200063006c006100730073>
  /Keywords ()
  /ModDate (D:20210820105934+02'00')
  /PTEX.Fullbanner (This is pdfTeX, Version 3.141592653-2.6-1.40.23 \(TeX Live 2021\) kpathsea version 6.3.3)
  /Producer (pdfTeX-1.40.23)
  /Subject ()
  /Title <feff005300480045004...
  /Trapped /False

"fun" fact aside: acroread correctly displays the Author and Title in document properties:-(

so my more generic questions:

- why are byte order marks inserted for some trival 7-bit-ASCII strings like page numbers (1) (2) (3) etc ?
  here they're not needed for sure -- author names and titles are a different story of course...
- why do some PDF metadata not have byte order marks ?

- is this a problem for other PDF tools/viewers too ?

thanks for any comments (other than "don't use acroread" ;-)

at least for now I can continue using TL-20,
and I think about writing a small PDF editing/hacking script using

    sed 's/ <feff/ </g'


"I hope to die                                      ___       _____
before I *have* to use Microsoft Word.",           0--,|    /OOOOOOO\
Donald E. Knuth, 02-Oct-2001 in Tuebingen.        <_/  /  /OOOOOOOOOOO\
                                                    \  \/OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO\
                                                      \ OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO|//
Harald Koenig                                           //  /     \\  \
harald.koenig at                              ^^^^^       ^^^^^
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