Linux, Unix, Solaris and other Non-Windows Platforms

Posted on | December 1, 2009 | No Comments

The platform where the transformation takes place is not as important as having an output file with 100% font fidelity, an index, individual PDF files for each document in a multi-document file, searchable text or other very important and overlooked transformation capabilities.  If you have very simple PCL, the PCL transformation products that run on Unix, Linux, etc. can usually get the job done. 

Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to convert complex or problematic PCL into PDF outside of a font-rich platform like Windows.  And, you usually have to extract text, split or otherwise manipulate the output PDF’s with other tools because those features are not prevalent in non-Windows based PCL transformation products.

If you find a vendor that has a non-Windows based version of a PCL transform – be sure that it converts EVERY character of every font and symbol set in your PCL file before you buy their product.  The PCL page description language has 5 different font formats, hundreds of character sets and thousands of fonts – which are not native to Linux/Unix.  So, most PCL font calls are mapped to a substitute font. 

We get a lot of clients from other vendors that come-up short on high ASCII characters like copyright, section symbols, foreign language characters, etc.  Also, make sure all the fonts that the vendor provides to import into their product are LEGAL… most are not.  And, to make matters worse, you are liable to MonoType, Bitstream and other highly litigious font foundries.  Ask to be indemnified if they are not legal.

We recommend to first, find the product that best converts, auto-indexes and bursts your PCL into individual PDF files based on text (ie. policy number, invoice number, etc.) inside it. Then, decide if running outside of Windows is as important as meeting all your transformation, font/metric compatibility, indexing, splitting, merging, editing, text extraction, file size and other requirements.

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