Checking Print Utilities

You probably also want to install the TEX formatting package. Even if you do not install the full TeX distribution, you should at least install the xdvi utility, in order to view TEX output and (processed) Texinfo files in an X window (unless you have installed the KDE Desktop Environment, which contains a more user-friendly replacement called kdvi). Other filters can process device independent (DVI) output into forms such as PostScript (dvips) or PCL (dvilj) if you have an aversion to the Ghostscript package or need to use native printer fonts for efficient data transfer and rapid printing.

The Lout package is also worthy of consideration as an efficient and compact package to format text documents for PostScript output. It supports Level 2 PostScript and the Adobe Structuring Conventions, takes comparatively little memory, and comes with good enough documentation to learn quickly. Lout doesn't create an intermediate output form; it goes directly from markup input to PostScript output.

To support graphics work and X Window System utilities, you probably want to install other tools, some of which probably come with your distribution. A collection of current versions of the most popular print support packages for Linux can be found at the Linux archive, in /pub/Linux/system/printing. The netpbm and pbmplus packages support a large variety of graphics file format conversions. (Such formats have to be converted to PostScript before you try to print them.) The Ghostview package provides display tools to view PostScript files in an X Window System environment, and also provides PostScript and PDF support for other packages, such as your web browser.

The ImageMagick package, described in Chapter 9, deserves special mention. It lets you display a large number of graphics formats in an X window and convert many file formats to other file formats. (It uses Ghostview and Ghostscript when it needs to display a PostScript image.) Most of the graphics files you can print you can also display using ImageMagick.

A "magic" filter package may also save you much grief in configuring and supporting different document output formats. We will touch on the APSfilter magic filter package, but you may prefer the Magic-Filter package instead. Both are available at the FTP archive. For more on magic filters, see Section 8.4.9 later in this chapter.

If you want to support fax devices, you can use the tiffg3 utility with Ghostscript to output Group III fax format files. To control a Class 1 or Class 2 fax modem on your Linux host, you can use the efax package, which is provided in many distributions, or you can install and configure the more capable, but more complex, FlexFax or HylaFax packages.

There are additional tools to support double-sided printing on laser printers, and packages that convert PostScript to less common printer-control languages to support Canon and IBM Proprinter devices, for example. There is a package to support printing in Chinese on laser printers and bitmap devices. Most of these packages don't directly affect management of print services, so we don't describe them in detail here, but this is a good time to install them if you wish to use them.

For the benefit of your users, make sure that all the manual pages for the packages you install are prepared properly when you complete your installations. Then run /sbin/mkwhatis (/usr/bin/mandb on Debian) to build the manual page index file that facilitates locating information online. Some packages, such as Ghostscript, also provide additional documention that you can print or make available on the system for reference. (Linux distributions tend to omit these documents, but you can FTP them from the sites where the software packages are developed and maintained. The GNU archives of the Free Software Foundation, for example, are accessed by anonymous FTP at

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