Printing RFCs and Internet Drafts

The a2ps command line utility converts text files to PostScript which can then be sent to a printer. The resulting output contains all kinds of boxes and additional information which limits the space on the printed page to make your own notes.

Of course, this can all be turned off, but it requires quite a few command line switches to get rid of it all. Fortunately, there is the (undocumented) lp user option which tells a2ps to print like a good old line printer. User options are pre-configured profiles which can be enabled manually.

To print an RFC with two pages per sheet using the lp user option, use the following command:

    a2ps -o output.ps -=lp -2 rfcXXXX.txt

You can then print the resulting output.ps file using lpr. If you leave out the -o switch and its argument, the output is sent to the printer directly. If you don’t have a PostScript enabled printer, your local printing system should take care of converting it to your printer’s native format.

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