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Converting Word RTF to PDF on Debian

24 Sep, 2007

This is actually very easy. First install Ted, an old UNIX text editor with this command:

$ sudo apt-get install ted

You'll also need Ghostscript but this is probably already installed, if not run:

$ sudo apt-get install gs-afpl

Then download the rtf2pdf.sh script from ftp://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/editors/ted/rtf2pdf.sh and run this command:

$ sh rtf2pdf.sh file.rtf output.pdf

and that's it, very easy and it actually works. I've attached a text version of the rtf2pdf.sh script here as well.

Here's a very short program which uses this from Python:

import os

def convert(rtf, pdf):
    pipe = os.popen("sh rtf2pdf.sh %s %s"%(rtf, pdf), "r")
    error = pipe.read()
    if error:
        print "ERROR. An error occurred here is the description..."
        print error

if __name__ == '__main__':
    convert('test.rtf', 'test.pdf')

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