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I have some old workstations with WindowsXP that I can install pretty much anything on, an office with about 80 people, a wintel environment, an existing Server 2003 file/printer server, and everybody wants to be able to print PDFs, preferably in color, and preferably with the option to add password encryption to those PDFs. Oh, and license costs for Adobe's PDF print server are prohibitive.

I'd rather not have to write code, I'm more of a scripter than a programmer in capability. So PHP or Perl based solutions would probably be a preference, though I'm willing to try anything a few times.

Optimally, I'd like a system where the PDF processing is handled by one (or more) of these old workstations. A shared PDF Printer on the print server that anybody could install would direct jobs sent to it to this old workstation which would process the files, creating the PDF and adding security if so requested, and then drop the resulting file out into the personal network directory of whoever printed the file.

File names aren't important, to prevent dealing with duplicates I'd rather they simply be a string based on date and time.

What sort of libraries or scripts are out there that I should look at? If you've done something like this, how'd you do it? What should I stay away from and why?

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Using software would be a good idea. pdffactory.com.au for example is network ready. –  mailq Oct 4 '11 at 19:25
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To the off-topic voter: This is dealing with setting up a server and integrating with a server, therefore it does not belong on SU. –  music2myear Oct 4 '11 at 19:29
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can install PDFCreator on one of the computers, then share it out. The other computers will have to Connect to the Shared Printer (which can be done by script or GPO, or manually). Install it in the Server mode, it will walk you through most of the configuration. And it's free (beer).

Configure Auto-Save with the network directory you want the files dumped to (unless you want the user to have to choose a location every time). You can also configure Save settings to give it a unique name (lots of other settings too, but these two are the most important IMHO).

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PDFCreator would be an easy option, that's very true. However, due to the legal environment of my company, it would be easier to use scripts and some code to cobble something together than it would be to get the necessary permissions to acquire licenses of an established product. –  music2myear Nov 2 '11 at 17:13
    
@music2myear PDFCreator is Open Source Software, which I mentioned in my Answer. Please do not waste out time asking Questions if you're not going to bother taking the Answer seriously. –  Chris S Nov 2 '11 at 18:19
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I'm not wasting time not taking the answer seriously. I'm giving a reason why, in my particular environment, this answer is not optimal. I do this so that if you happen to have an alternative that fits within my specific requirements, you may provide that alternative and still possibly get points and satisfaction for answering my particular question. –  music2myear Nov 2 '11 at 19:02
    
The GPL has no legal requirements for simply using the software. Either you don't understand the GPL or there are other requirements you're not telling us about. In either case, I can't imagine a good justification for wasting your time cobbling together unsupportable scripts to accomplish something a free software package already provides. The PDF format is binary and very complicated. Though it's technically possible for you to write your own script, you'd almost certainly be incorporating other's works in your script, works which come with licenses, and you're right back to square one. –  Chris S Nov 3 '11 at 0:38
    
I'm no longer working at this company (thank goodness) and now every computer has FinePrint apps installed for PDF creation. They need some of the advanced paper features of the FinePrint apps as they use CAD apps and such. So I'll mark this as the answer. I maintain it would not have been acceptable in my previous position. But I'm simply glad to not be there any longer. –  music2myear Jan 27 '12 at 15:14
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We use PDFCreator here as well, although rather than installing it as a shared printer I have made it part of our standard machine image, partly because it's more convenient for the laptop users.

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PDFCreator would be an easy option, that's very true. However, due to the legal environment of my company, it would be easier to use scripts and some code to cobble something together than it would be to get the necessary permissions to acquire licenses of an established product. –  music2myear Nov 2 '11 at 17:14
    
@music2myear, PDFCreator comes under the GPL. Surely that can't be a problem, as there is nothing too acquire. –  John Gardeniers Nov 2 '11 at 22:07
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I understand and empathize. However, the GPL does have legal requirements that make most open source software persona non grata. Unfortunately. I can get around it mostly by using scripts that I cobble together. But if it's a coded program it's unlikely to get around the scrutiny. Frustrating? Yes. But it gives me a challenge and it's a challenge I'd like to be able to rise to. –  music2myear Nov 2 '11 at 22:43
    
@music2myear, I'm using fpdf (www.fpdf.org) to generate PDF reports from a web app, so you may wish to check that out, although I don't know if it will meet all your needs. –  John Gardeniers Nov 2 '11 at 23:27
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For future readers, if a commercial product is an option for this scenario, Amyuni PDF Converter Terminal Server Edition is a PDF printer that can be used as a printer server in Windows OSes. It allows encryption, watermarking, sending the resulting file as email, etc. It can be fully controlled programmatically using power-shell through a .net assembly or using vbscript through an activex control.

usual disclaimer applies

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