SUMMARY: Generating Office Documents/Mail Merge from Solaris

From: Tony Jenness <>
Date: Mon May 02 2005 - 17:05:59 EDT
Hi Managers.

Summary is a bit late bit but here goes.

People mentioned the following:

- Use LaTeX to design/layout your document then generate it from there.

- Use a PCL/Postscript converted, Ghostscript etc.

Tried ghostscript but the document was far too graphical, layout was well off
and had losts of graphical errors

- Use and XSL-Translation tool (

I did look at it and it looked to be far too much work for what I want to do,
plus I really hate java :)

- Use Htmldoc ( Layout the page in HTML then
turn that into Postscript

Haven't tried this yet, could be a possibility

- Print to an NT box with all the printqueues

Not possible for us as we have about 400 printers, there's already a huge
amount of duplication setting them up in Solaris & uniVerse.


The system I originally designed has been running ok for a month once I setup
some OO queueing. I'm using one instance of OpenOffice with sudo, not the best
at present but I plan to try out the following.

- Running OO in daemon mode.
- Calling the postscript generation from a small java app.

This in theory looks faster, however I believe it's not rock solid as OO can
crash after a while. I did however come across a python app,
( that controls anonymous office
workers for OpenOffice. It will handle a pool of them and terminate any that
crash. However it doesn't appear to be very well supported.

Thanks to all the people that responded.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tony Jenness
> Sent: Friday, 1 April 2005 11:40 a.m.
> To: ''
> Subject: Generating Office Documents/Mail Merge from Solaris
> Hi Managers.
> I have a rather unique and annoying issue that's causing us
> some grief. We currently have an application that runs on
> Solaris and is terminal based. We want to generate office
> documents from the data contained in the database and I have
> developed a system using Open Office, Xvfb and a few other
> bits and pieces however it is not optimal.
> The way it works now is that the database executes my script
> which reads in the config file. I use a Perl module, OODoc to
> parse the file and create a new OO document with the relavent
> data, so far so good. The problem comes to printing, the only
> way I seem to be able to print these documents is to use an
> OO Macro to turn the office document into a PostScript file
> which I then spool to the printer. This has a few drawbacks
> it either requires an OpenOfffice installation for each user
> (400+) or using sudo a single installation.
> Even then it isn't robust enough as the Macro looks like it
> hangs every now and again. I have a rudimentary  queueing
> system as it can't run multiple ones at once so if a large
> number of people want to generate the document it queues and
> turns into a rather large bit of system load as OO has to
> start/close constantly.
> The other issue is that, well, Solaris's printing isn't as
> simple as Windows. We print to a large amount of printers on
> our WAN that we don't control/own. Printers that do not
> support PostScript will not print the document. I can't
> easily convert it into PCL.
> I'm considering moving it over to a new server but I don't
> believe it will solve the OO Macro issues, nor the
> PCL/PostScript issue.
> What I'm after is a complete robust solution that doesn't
> specifically have to be Solaris based, although I'd prefer it.
> Any help would be greatly appreciated and I'll summarise.
sunmanagers mailing list
Received on Mon May 2 17:05:41 2005

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