Open source supplies legacy tools for print translations

Legacy servers are brimming with text. Much of it flows from classic applications that create traditional reports. Characters, spaces, columns: there are all the kinds of things that live on the reports legacy managers know well.

The world has a deeper need for information exchange, though. While PDF is not among the world’s official protocols, it’s a file format that might as well be one. A tool that could carry those text-heavy reports to PDF would be handy. There’s a good one that dates back more than two decades.

TXT2PDF was first created by Sanface Software in the 1990s. The software lives on in open source mode today. TXT2PDF is one of the recent additions to the OpenVMS open source toolkit. The open source kit is a project now in progress at the Open Source and Freeware for OpenVMS project at SourceForge. Each month, a conference call updates the open source community about what’s new for OpenVMS sites to employ for production use.

Bill Pedersen, ringleader and moderator for the project, notes that Jouk Jansen now links to a TEXT2PDF version on Jansen’s webpage. “This was a very simple program to convert ASCII text to PDF that we found,” Pedersen writes.”It dates from the late 1990s, but is just what is necessary for some simple conversion processes.”

HP 3000 sites use the Perl programming language to generate PDF files, employing TXT2PDF. The program is in steady use on MPE/iX systems, ever since 2000. Users can specify environment variables, as well as create two-column PDF files, add page numbers, and create Web links within documents.


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