debian/control and PDF

Sean Wheller sean at
Fri Dec 24 20:38:51 UTC 2004

With reference to discussion on #ubuntu-docs

I asked if we need PDF.

The response was mixed.

I see in debian/contol the following statement which indicates that PDF is a 
"The handbook can be viewed using Yelp the GNOME help browser, or
 stand-alone in HTML or PDF format."

My solution for transformation to PDF is to use Apache FOP [0] as this is the 
simplest extension to the current Docbook Toolchain at Ubuntu. This will look 
something like this:
xsltproc, docbook dtd, docbook xsl, apache FOP
The transformation for pdf will be short:
xml > xsl:fo > PDF

Apache FOP is Java
Java is not included in Ubuntu dist
Apache FOP is not included in Ubuntu dist (Apache License)
Apache FOP requires Java 1.2.x or later Runtime Environment

It is unlikely that users will need to transform to PDF. They will use it for 
reading and printing.

For users that want to transform to PDF require download and install of J2SE

Package GCJ [1] with Ubuntu it is already in Debian.

We will hover have to test Apache FOP with GCJ.

Feedback, ideas, thoughts, musings and flames, all welcome.

Sean Wheller
Technical Author
sean at
Registered Linux User #375355
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