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1 Introduction

This document describes GNU a2ps version 4.12. The latest versions may be found on the @pack home page.

We tried to make this document informative and pleasant. It tries to be more than a plain reference guide, and intends to offer information about the concepts or tools etc. that are related to printing PostScript. This is why it is now that big: to offer you all the information you might want, not because a2ps is difficult to use. See section A Glossary, for technical words or even general information.

Please, send us emailcards :). Whatever the comment is, or if you just like a2ps, write to Miguel Santana and Akim Demaille.

1.1 Description

a2ps formats files for printing on a PostScript printer.

The format used is nice and compact: normally two pages on each physical page, borders surrounding pages, headers with useful information (page number, printing date, file name or supplied header), line numbering, pretty-printing, symbol substitution etc. This is very useful for making archive listings of programs or just to check your code in the bus. Actually a2ps is kind of bootstrapped: its sources are frequently printed with a2ps :).

While at the origin its names was derived from "ASCII to PostScript", today we like to think of it as "Any to PostScript". Indeed, a2ps supports delegations, i.e., you can safely use a2ps to print DVI, PostScript, LaTeX, JPEG etc., even compressed.

A short list of features of a2ps might look like this:

1.2 Version Numbering Scheme

a2ps is alive. To let you know its status, the version numbers are structured a` la Linux.

What is to be understood in `a2ps version x.y.zt'?

1.3 Reporting Bugs

We try hard to make a2ps portable on any Unix platform, and bug free. But sometimes there can still be bad surprises, even after having compiled and checked a2ps on several very different platforms.

You may encounter some of these problems yourself. In any case, please never abandon without giving us a chance. We need information from everybody so that mistakes get fixed as fast as possible.

So, if you have a problem (configuration error, compilation error, runtime error, documentation error or unclear), first check in the FAQ (see section 10 Frequently asked questions), then on the page Known @pack Bugs if the issue has not been addressed yet. If it is not the case, but it appears that the version of a2ps you have is old, consider upgrading.

If the problem persists, send us a mail (bug-a2ps@gnu.org) which subject is `a2ps version: short-description' and which content mentions the name of your machine and OS, the version of a2ps, every detail you have on your compiler, and as much traces as possible (the error messages you get on the screen, or the output of make when it fails etc.).

Be sure to get a quick answer.

1.4 a2ps Mailing List

There is a mailing list in which are discussed various topics around a2ps: a2ps@gnu.org. There are also announcements about the version in alpha testing, requests for comments, new sheets, etc.

To subscribe to the list, send a mail to a2ps-request@inf.enst.fr, with `subscribe' in the body.

Please, note that the mailing list is by no means a bug reporting address: use bug-a2ps@gnu.org instead.

1.5 Helping the Development

If you like a2ps and if you feel like helping, there are several things you can do.

Testing
You just can't imagine how hard it is to make sure that the program that works perfectly here will work on your machine. Actually, in general the last weeks before a release are mostly dedicated to (Unix) portability issues. So we need beta-testers! To be one is fairly simple: subscribe to the mailing-list where the betas are announced and distributed.
Translation
The interface of a2ps is under GNU gettext which means that all the messages can be translated, without having to look at the code of a2ps: you don't need to be a programmer at all. All the details are available on the a2ps translation page.
Style Sheets
Since a2ps is evolving and getting more powerful, the style sheets should be checked and improved. There are too many so that the authors work on them. Therefore if you feel your favorite language is not honored as it should be, improve the style sheet! (see section 7 Pretty Printing for details.)
Encodings
a2ps is wide open to any 8-bit encoding. If your language is not covered today by a2ps, you can easily provide the support yourself. Honestly, the trickiest part is to find correct free fonts that support your mother tongue (see section 6.2 Encoding Files, to know more).
Fonts
There are still some characters missing in Ogonkify. See the list of missing characters and the Ogonkify home page for details.
Documentation
If you feel something is missing or is unclear, send us your contributions.
Porting
Porting a program to special architectures (MS-DOS, OS/2 etc.), or building special packages (e.g., RPM) requires having an access to these architectures. If you feel like maintaining such a port, tell us.
Features
Well, if you feel like doing something else, go ahead! But contact us, because we have quite a big stack of things we want to do or have started to do, and synchronizing might be useful.

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