Introduction to fop

The FOP (Formatting Objects Processor) package contains a print formatter driven by XSL formatting objects (XSL-FO). It is a Java application that reads a formatting object tree and renders the resulting pages to a specified output. Output formats currently supported include PDF, PCL, PostScript, SVG, XML (area tree representation), print, AWT, MIF and ASCII text. The primary output target is PDF.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-8.0 platform.

Package Information

Additional Downloads

Recommended packages

fop Dependencies




JUnit-4.11 (to run tests), X Window System (to run tests), JIMI SDK, XMLUnit, JAI Image I/O Tools, JEuclid, PMD (requires Jaxen), and Forrest (Forrest used only to build the documentation)

User Notes:

Installation of fop

Ensure $JAVA_HOME is set correctly before beginning the build. To build the JIMI SDK and/or XMLUnit extension classes, ensure the corresponding .jar files can be found via the CLASSPATH environment variable.

Installing Java Advanced Imaging (JAI) API components

Install the JAI API components. As the root user:

case `uname -m` in
    tar -xf ../jai-1_1_3-lib-linux-i586.tar.gz
    cp -v jai-1_1_3/lib/{jai*,mlibwrapper_jai.jar} $JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/ext/
    cp -v jai-1_1_3/lib/             $JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/i386/

    tar -xf ../jai-1_1_3-lib-linux-amd64.tar.gz
    cp -v jai-1_1_3/lib/{jai*,mlibwrapper_jai.jar} $JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/ext/
    cp -v jai-1_1_3/lib/             $JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/amd64/

Installing fop Components

The javadoc command coming with OpenJDK 8 has become much stricter than before regarding the conformance of the Javadoc comments in source code to HTML. The FOP documentation does not meet those standard, so the conformance checks have to be disabled. This can be done with the following command:

sed -i '\@</javad@i\
<arg value="-Xdoclint:none"/>\
<arg value="--allow-script-in-comments"/>' build.xml

Then, compile fop by running the following commands:

patch -Np1 -i ../fop-2.1-listNPE-1.patch &&

ant compile &&
ant jar-main &&
ant javadocs &&
mv build/javadocs .

To test the application, run ant junit-all. The hyphenation tests will fail. To see a list of other test targets, use ant -p. You must run the tests from an X-window using a GL-aware Xorg server or some of the JUnit tests will hang.

Now, as the root user:

install -v -d -m755 -o root -g root          /opt/fop-2.1 &&
cp -v  KEYS LICENSE NOTICE README            /opt/fop-2.1 &&
cp -vR build conf examples fop* javadocs lib /opt/fop-2.1 &&

ln -v -sf fop-2.1 /opt/fop

Command Explanations

sed -i ... build.xml: This adds two switches to the javadoc command, preventing some errors to occur when building the documentation.

patch -Np1 -i ../fop-2.1-listNPE-1.patch: This patch fixes a bug leading to segmentation faults when processing some inputs.

ant target: This reads the file build.xml and builds the target: compile compiles the java sources, jar-main generates jar archives, and javadocs builds the documentation.

ln -v -sf fop-2.1 /opt/fop: This is optional and creates a convenience symlink so that $FOP_HOME doesn't have to be changed each time there's a package version change.

Configuring fop

Config Files


Configuration Information

Using fop to process some large FO's (including the FO derived from the BLFS XML sources), can lead to memory errors. Unless you add a parameter to the java command used in the fop script you may receive messages similar to the one shown below:

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space

To avoid errors like this, you need to pass an extra parameter to the java command used in the fop script. This can be accomplished by creating a ~/.foprc (which is sourced by the fop script) and adding the parameter to the FOP_OPTS environment variable.

The fop script looks for a FOP_HOME environment variable to locate the fop class libraries. You can create this variable using the ~/.foprc file as well. Create a ~/.foprc file using the following commands:

cat > ~/.foprc << "EOF"

Replace <RAM_Installed> with a number representing the amount of RAM installed in your computer (in megabytes). An example would be FOP_OPTS="-Xmx768m".

To include the fop script in your path, update your personal or system-wide profile with the following:



Running fop can be somewhat verbose. The default logging level can be changed from INFO to any of FINEST, FINER, FINE, CONFIG, INFO, WARNING, SEVERE, ALL, or OFF. To do this, edit $JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/ and change the entries for .level and java.util.logging.ConsoleHandler.level to the desired value.


Installed Programs: fop
Installed Libraries: fop.jar and numerous support library classes located in /opt/fop/{build,lib}; JAI components include, jai_codec.jar, jai_core.jar, and mlibwrapper_jai.jar
Installed Directory: /opt/fop-2.1

Short Descriptions


is a wrapper script to the java command which sets up the fop environment and passes the required parameters.


contains all the fop Java classes.

Last updated on 2017-02-23 08:49:09 -0600