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Current HOWTO: Printing-HOWTO

How to generate something worth printing.

14. How to generate something worth printing.

Here we get into a real rat's-nest of software. Basically, Linux can run many types of binaries with varying degrees of success: Linux/x86, Linux/Alpha, Linux/Sparc, Linux/foo, iBCS, Win16/Win32s (with dosemu and, someday, with Wine), Mac/68k (with Executor), and Java. I'll just discuss native GNU/Linux and common Un*x software.

14.1. Markup languages

Most markup languages are more suitable for large or repetitive projects, where you want the computer to control the layout of the text to make things uniform.


This was one of the first markup languages on the original version of Unix. Man pages are the most common examples of things formatted in *roff macros; many people swear by them, but nroff has, to me at least, a more arcane syntax than needed (see Figure 12), and probably makes a poor choice for new works. It is worth knowing, though, that you can typeset a man page directly into postscript with groff. Most man commands will do this for you with man -t foo | lpr.

Figure 12. Example of roff Input

.B man
is the system's manual pager. Each
.I page
argument given to 
.B man
is normally the name of a program, utility or function. 
.I manual page 
associated with each of these arguments is then found and
displayed. A 
.IR section ,
if provided, will direct
.B man
to look 
only in that
.I section
of the manual.

TeX, and the macro package LaTeX, are one of the most widely used markup languages on Un*x systems, although TeX did not originate on Unix and is available to run on a wide variety of systems. Technical works are frequently written in LaTeX because it greatly simplifies the layout issues and isstill one of the few text processing systems to support mathematics both completely and well. TeX's output format is dvi, and is converted to PostScript or Hewlett Packard's PCL with dvips or dvilj. If you wish to install TeX or LaTeX, install the whole teTeX group of packages; it contains everything. Recent TeX installations include pdfTeX and pdfLaTeX, which produce Adobe PDF files directly. Commands are available do create hyperlinks and navigation features in the PDF file.

Figure 13. Example of LaTeX Input


Each real server is assigned a different IP address, and the NA
implements address translation for all inbound and outbound

  \item[Advantage] Implementation simplicity, especially if we
already implement other NAT capabilities.

  \item[Disadvantage] Return traffic from the server goes through
address translation, which may incur a speed penalty.  This
probably isn't too bad if we design for it from the

  \item[Disadvantage] NAT breaks the end-to-end semantics of normal
internet traffic.  Protocols like ftp, H.323, etc would
require special support involving snooping and in-stream
rewriting, or complete protocol proxying; neither is likely
to be practical.

There is at least one free SGML parser available for Un*x systems; it forms the basis of Linuxdoc-SGML's homegrown document system. It can support other DTD's, as well, most notably DocBook. This document is written in DocBook-DTD SGML; see Figure 14 for an example.

Figure 14. Example of DocBook SGML

There is at least one free SGML parser available for Un*x 
systems; it forms the basis of Linuxdoc-SGML's homegrown 
document system.  It can support other DTD's, as well, most
notably DocBook.  This document is written in DocBook-DTD 

14.2. WYSIWYG Word Processors

There is no shortage of WYSIWYG word processing software. Several complete office suites are available, including one that's free for personal use (StarOffice).


This full-blown office suite has all the features you'd expect, including both import and export of Microsoft Office file formats (including Word documents). There's a mini-HOWTO out there which describes how to obtain and install it. It generates PostScript, so should work with most any printer that works otherwise on GNU/Linux.


Corel distributes a basic version of WordPerfect 8 free for GNU/Linux, and sells various packages of Word Perfect Office 2000 (which includes WordPerfect, Corel Draw and Quattro Pro Versions 9). The Linux WordPerfect Fonts and Printers page has information about configuring WordPerfect for use with either Ghostscript or its built-in printer drivers (which are apparently identical the DOS WordPerfect drivers, if your printer's driver isn't included in the distribution).


Applix is a cross-platform (eg, various Unices, Windows, and others) office suite sold by the Applix company. Red Hat and SuSE sold it themselves when it was the only game in town; now sales have reverted to Applix. This is the only native Unix-style application suite; it probably fits in better with the Unix way of doing things.


AbiWord is one of several GPL WYSIWYG word processor projects; this one has produced a very nice word processor based on an XML format. It is capable of Word file import. AbiWord is still a work in progress, although it is useful for small things now.

Figure 15. AbiWord


LyX is a front-end to LaTeX which looks very promising. See the LyX Homepage for more information. There is a KDE-styled version of LyX, called Klyx; the author of LyX and the instigator of KDE are the same person.

Figure 16. LyX


Maxwell is a simple MS RTF-format based word processor which started as a commercial product but is now distributed under the GPL.

Other vendors should feel free to drop me a line with your offerings.

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