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.

Package Information

Additional Downloads

Required package

Choose the “Linux JDK Install” file after accepting the license agreement.

FOP Dependencies




libxslt-1.1.17, JIMI SDK, Batik and Forrest (only used to rebuild the documentation)

User Notes:

Installation of FOP



Ensure $JAVA_HOME is set correctly before beginning the build.

Some versions of tar will display a message similar to “tar: A lone zero block at 33476” when unpacking the source tarball. You may safely ignore this message.

Installing JAI



The $FOP_BUILD_DIR/jai-1_1_2_01-lib-linux-i586-jdk.bin command below installs the JAI components in the JDK tree. You will be required to view, and then accept (by entering a y keypress), a license agreement before the installation will continue. If you are scripting (automating) the build, you'll need to account for this. There is information about automating build commands in the Automated Building Procedures section of Chapter 2. Towards the end of this section, specific information for automating this type of installation is discussed.

Install the JAI components by running the following commands as the root user while in the root of the FOP source tree:

cp ../jai-1_1_2_01-lib-linux-i586-jdk.bin . &&
sed -i 's/tail +122/tail -n +122/' \
    jai-1_1_2_01-lib-linux-i586-jdk.bin &&
chmod 755 jai-1_1_2_01-lib-linux-i586-jdk.bin &&
FOP_BUILD_DIR=$(pwd) &&
cd $JAVA_HOME &&
$FOP_BUILD_DIR/jai-1_1_2_01-lib-linux-i586-jdk.bin &&

Installing FOP required components

Install FOP by running the following commands:

patch -Np1 -i ../fop-0.20.5-jdk_1.5.0-1.patch &&
./ &&
sed -i "s/build/lib/"

Now, as the root user:

install -v -d -m755 \
    /opt/fop-0.20.5/{bin,lib,docs/{general,lib,site}} &&
install -v -m755 /opt/fop-0.20.5/bin &&
install -v -m644 build/fop.jar lib/avalon-framework-cvs-20020806.jar \
    /opt/fop-0.20.5/lib &&
install -v -m644 docs/* /opt/fop-0.20.5/docs &&
install -v -m644 CHANGES LICENSE README ReleaseNotes.html STATUS \
    /opt/fop-0.20.5/docs/general &&
install -v -m644 lib/{avalon.LICENSE.txt,readme} \
    /opt/fop-0.20.5/docs/lib &&
cp -v -R build/site/* /opt/fop-0.20.5/docs/site &&
ln -svf fop-0.20.5 /opt/fop

Installing the Batik JAR

You'll need to install one additional Java class library to process SVG objects. This library is part of the Batik package, but is also included with the FOP package. If you have Batik installed, ensure the batik.jar library is included in your $CLASSPATH environment variable. Alternatively, create a symbolic link from /opt/fop-0.20.5/lib/batik.jar pointing to the full path of the installed batik.jar file so that the script will automatically pick it up.

If you don't have the Batik package installed, run the following commands as the root user:

install -v -m644 lib/batik.jar /opt/fop-0.20.5/lib &&
install -v -m644 lib/batik.LICENSE.txt \

Installing the Xalan-Java components

The components of FOP required to process FO files created by an XSL transformation engine (also known as an XSLT processor) is now complete. An XSL transformation engine (xsltproc) is included with the libxslt-1.1.17 package in BLFS. The FOP package includes components of Xalan-Java to accomplish XSL transformations. If you have the Xalan-Java package installed, skip to the next section.

If you wish to install the Xalan-Java components provided by the FOP package, run the following commands as the root user:

sed -i "s/build/lib/" &&
install -v -m755 /opt/fop-0.20.5/bin &&
install -v -m644 lib/xml-apis.jar \
                 lib/xercesImpl-2.2.1.jar \
                 lib/xalan-2.4.1.jar \
    /opt/fop-0.20.5/lib &&
install -v -m644 lib/{xml-apis,xerces,xalan}.LICENSE.txt \
                 lib/xml-apis.README.txt \

Installing the Jimi SDK JAR

If you installed the Java Image I/O class library (Jimi SDK) into the FOP source tree lib directory before building FOP (this will enable Jimi support), ensure you also install this JAR file into /opt/fop-0.20.5/lib.

Command Explanations

sed -i 's/tail +122/tail -n +122/' ...: The JAI binary file has a tail command imbedded in the file which uses obsolete syntax and causes the file to not unpack correctly. This command fixes the obsolete syntax.

$FOP_BUILD_DIR/../jai-...-jdk.bin: This command installs the JAI components into the JDK file structure. $FOP_BUILD_DIR is used as a reference point to the source executable and as a method to return back to the FOP source tree.

sed -i "s/build/lib/" ...: These commands modify the installed shell scripts so that the location of the installed fop.jar file is correctly identified.

install -v ...; cp -v ...: There is no installation script provided by the FOP package. These commands install the package.

ln -svf fop-0.20.5 /opt/fop: This 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 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 script. This can be accomplished by creating a ~/.foprc (which is sourced by the script) and adding the parameter to the FOP_OPTS environment variable.

The 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". For more information about memory issues running FOP, see

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



Installed Programs: and
Installed Libraries: avalon-framework-cvs-20020806.jar, batik.jar, fop.jar, xalan-2.4.1.jar, xercesImpl-2.2.1.jar, and xml-apis.jar. JAI components include, jai_codec.jar, jai_core.jar, and mlibwrapper_jai.jar
Installed Directory: /opt/fop-0.20.5

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 2007-01-28 13:22:28 -0600