Posts Tagged ‘swftools’

Installing swftools and pdf2swf on Ubuntu Linux

February 23, 2010 52 comments


I’ve been using swftools, mainly pdf2swf functionality, for a while now and installation always sucked. Google usually provides good results for common problems, but lack of a step-by-step installation guide is lacking.

Main site,, has pretty good wiki for documentation and a tidy installation walkthrough. Unfortunately for me I had a ton of problems getting pdf2swf to work properly on Amazon’s AWS Ubuntu server (ami-5059be39 – ubuntu-intrepid), but fortunately for you I finally got it working and also put together this guide, which will hopefully save you some time.

Note: swftools version that comes default with aptitude would not work for me hence the need to compile from source.
Note2: this guide assumes the distro is up to date and all system libraries have been installed from Installing RoR on Ubuntu post

Get necessary libraries and extract

tar -zvxf swftools-0.9.0.tar.gz
tar -zvxf jpegsrc.v7.tar.gz
tar -zvxf freetype-2.3.12.tar.gz

Note: v8 produced errors in swftools install so I grabbed v7, which worked wonderfully.

Now order of install. First we install jpeg:

cd jpegsrc.v7
sudo ./configure
sudo make
sudo make install

Freetype is a little trickier. For install you have to reset cache, set flags, run ranlib (not sure why but it wouldn’t work without for me, if you know I’d love an explanation)

cd freetype-2.3.12
rm -f config.cache
sudo ranlib /usr/local/lib/libjpeg.a
sudo ldconfig /usr/local/lib
sudo LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/lib" CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include" ./configure
sudo make
sudo make install

If you want to be able to convert pdf files into text you have to install xpdf. Fortunately aptitude does provide us with the right libraries this time.

sudo apt-get install xpdf-reader

And now for the final step:

cd swftools-0.9.0
sudo LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/lib" CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include" ./configure
sudo make
sudo make install

Big thanks to swftools for making this possible.


Edit (3/3/2011): Updated code formatting.

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