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DocBook XML to PDF on Debian Lenny

by Sander Marechal

I have recently been writing some documentation in DocBook XML format that I wanted to convert to PDF. Debian has a really useful package called xmlto that you can use for this, but it did not work for me. The xmlto tool converts DocBook to PDF through LaTeX and I was getting all kinds of errors. Instead I opted to use the DocBook-XSL stylesheets to convert DocBook to fo and use Apache fop to convert it to PDF.

DocBook-XSL and Apache fop work wonderfully well but there were a couple of bumps that I had to sort out before everything worked as it should, especially regarding the Java setup and getting images to work correctly. Here is how I set up my DocBook toolchain on Debian Lenny.