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Chapter 1. Installing Publican

1.1. Linux operating systems
1.1.1. Fedora
1.1.2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
1.1.3. Ubuntu
1.1.4. Debian
1.1.5. OpenSuse 12
1.1.6. Docker container
1.2. Windows operating systems
1.3. OSX Lion

1.1. Linux operating systems

Important — Availability in repositories

The procedures documented in this section assume that Publican and its various dependencies are available in repositories to which your system has access.

1.1.1. Fedora

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Change to the root user: su -
  3. Run the following command to install the publican package and the publican-doc documentation package:
    $  yum install publican publican-doc
Several brand packages are available for use with Publican. Run the following command as the root user to install packages for building branded books:
$  yum install publican-brand
Replace brand with, for example, redhat, fedora, jboss, ovirt, or gimp. Refer to Chapter 5, Branding for more information on branding.

1.1.2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5

Important — Unsupported software

Publican is not part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution. Therefore, Red Hat does not offer support for Publican.

Important — Dependencies available only internally to Red Hat

Installing Publican on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 requires a number of dependencies that are presently available only in yum repositories that are internal to Red Hat.
  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Change to the root user: su -
  3. Run the following command to install the publican package and the publican-doc documentation package:
    $  yum install publican publican-doc
Several brand packages are available for use with Publican. Run the following command as the root user to install packages for building branded books:
$  yum install publican-brand
Replace brand with, for example, redhat, fedora, jboss, ovirt, or gimp. Refer to Chapter 5, Branding for more information on branding.

1.1.3. Ubuntu

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Run the following command to install the publican package:
    $ sudo apt-get install publican

1.1.4. Debian

This procedure will install the publican version that is in your default Debian repository. It will also install a large number of packages that publican depends on, like Java, XML and image processing libraries and many ancillary Perl modules.
  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Change to the root user: su -
  3. Run the following command to install the publican package:
    $ apt-get install publican
  4. Run the following command to determine what version of publican is installed:
    $ publican -v

Important — Installing more recent packages using Apt-Pinning

If you need a more recent release of publican than installed by the procedure above, you can query if there other versions available:
To date, there has not been any backport ( available for publican, so we need to use Apt Pinning
Alternatively, you could run Debian testing or unstable in a virtual machine, chroot or linux container.
Assuming there is a more recent version of publican available in the testing repository, and that you are running the current stable, then you can upgrade by:
  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Change to the root user: su -
  3. Open your /etc/apt/sources.list file in a text editor. For example, to edit the file in gedit run:
    $ gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
  4. Add the following line to the end of the file:
    #### testing  #########
    deb testing main contrib non-free
  5. Save the file and close the text editor.
  6. Open (or create) your /etc/apt/preferences file in a text editor. For example, to edit the file in gedit run:
    $ gedit /etc/apt/preferences
  7. Add the following line to the end of the file:
    Package: *
    Pin: release a=stable
    Pin-Priority: 900
    Package: *
    Pin: release a=testing
    Pin-Priority: 400
    Package: *
    Pin: release o=Debian
    Pin-Priority: -10
  8. Save the file and close the text editor.
  9. Run the following command to update the list of packages available to your computer:
    $ apt-get update
  10. Run the following command to try to install the testing version of publican package, and any updated dependancies:
    $ apt-get -t testing install publican
Because Apt Pinning mixes 2 different debian streams in an un-tested way, incompatibilities may happen. For example, you may get a warning like:
$ publican
Warning: program compiled against libxml 209 using older 208
Warning: XML::LibXML compiled against libxml2 20901, but runtime libxml2 is older 20800
Warning: program compiled against libxml 209 using older 208
Warning: XML::LibXSLT compiled against libxslt 10128, but runtime libxslt is older 10126
Can't open publican: No such file or directory at /usr/bin/publican line 430.
Which indicates that you might need to upgrade libxml2 and libxslt to the testing repository version too. This can be done by searching to find the likely library:
  1. $ apt-get search libxslt
    gambas3-gb-xml-xslt - Gambas XSLT component
    libidzebra-2.0-mod-alvis - IDZebra filter alvis (XSLT filter for XML)
    libidzebra-2.0-mod-dom - IDZebra filter 'dom' (XML DOM internal document model with XSLT)
    libical-parser-html-perl - generates HTML calendars from iCalendars
    libxsltc-java - XSL Transformations (XSLT) compiler from Xalan-Java
    libxml-filter-xslt-perl - Perl module for XSLT as a SAX Filter
    libxml-libxslt-perl - Perl interface to the GNOME libxslt library
    libxslt1-dbg - XSLT 1.0 processing library - debugging symbols
    libxslt1-dev - XSLT 1.0 processing library - development kit
    libxslt1.1 - XSLT 1.0 processing library - runtime library
    python-libxslt1 - Python bindings for libxslt1
    python-libxslt1-dbg - Python bindings for libxslt1 (debug extension)
    python-lxml - pythonic binding for the libxml2 and libxslt libraries
    python-lxml-dbg - pythonic binding for the libxml2 and libxslt libraries (debug extension)
    python-lxml-doc - pythonic binding for the libxml2 and libxslt libraries (documentation)
    python3-lxml - pythonic binding for the libxml2 and libxslt libraries
    python3-lxml-dbg - pythonic binding for the libxml2 and libxslt libraries (debug extension)
    php5-xsl - XSL module for php5
    libsp-gxmlcpp-dev - S+P C++ wrapper for Gnome libxml2/libxslt
    libsp-gxmlcpp1 - S+P C++ wrapper for Gnome libxml2/libxslt
    swfmill - xml2swf and swf2xml processor
    libxslthl-java - XSLT syntax highlighting
    (and the same again for libxml2)
  2. And then upgrading those packages to testing.
    $ apt-get -t testing upgrade libxml2 libxslt1.1

1.1.5. OpenSuse 12

Publican has not been usable on OpenSuse up until release 12.1. Certain dependencies were missing and could not be found in any known OpenSuse repository. This is not the case with OpenSuse 12.1 as all dependencies can now be found and installed.
The following instructions describe installing Publican from source because, as yet, there is no Publican RPM for OpenSuse 12.1. The version of Publican is 2.9 taken directly from the source repository - previous versions have not been tested but may work.
At the time of writing, Publican 2.8 was the release version and work on 2.9 was still ongoing. For this reason the following instructions are subject to change.
The OpenSuse install was a default one with the following software categories added at install time:
  • Technical Writing - for the Docbook tools etc.
  • Perl Development
  • Web and LAMP Server
The system used had KDE installed which shouldn't make a difference. The following KDE specific categories were also installed:
  • KDE Development
  • Desktop Effects
Finally, the entire Games category was removed.
After OpenSuse had completed installing, and all current updates had been applied, the following steps were followed to install Publican.
  1. Open a terminal session.
  2. Install the dependencies that are available from various online repositories - many of these are not present in the installation DVD repository.
    $ sudo zypper install perl-Config-Simple perl-DateTime \ perl-DateTime-Format-DateParse perl-DBD-SQLite perl-DBI \ perl-File-Find-Rule perl-File-Which perl-HTML-Format \ perl-Locale-MakeText-Gettext perl-Template-Toolkit \ perl-Test-Deep perl-Test-Pod perl-XML-LibXSLT \ perl-YAML liberation-fonts


    Liberation-fonts is most likely already installed, but it is required. Zypper will not reinstall it if it is already present.
  3. Use cpan to install the remaining dependencies which cannot be installed by zypper:
    $ sudo sh cpan File::pushd File::Copy::Recursive Locale::PO pp \ Syntax::Highlight::Engine::Kate XML::TreeBuilder exit 
  4. Download the source code:
    $ cd ~ mkdir -p SourceCode/publican cd SourceCode/publican svn checkout ./ 
  5. Build the Publican build script:
    $ perl Build.PL 
    If all the dependencies are installed, you should see the following:
    WARNING: the following files are missing in your kit:
     Please inform the author.
    Created MYMETA.yml and MYMETA.json
    Creating new 'Build' script for 'Publican' version '2.9'
    If not, then use cpan (as root) to install the missing modules and run the build again. Replace any forward slashes '/' by a double colon '::' and make sure you use exactly the same letter case, for example: If File/ is reported as missing, you would use this to install it:
    $ sudo sh cpan File::pushd exit 
    Assuming all went well, the Build.PL script will have created a new script named Build which we will use to create, test and install Publican 2.9.
    $ ./Build 
    There will be lots of text scrolling up the screen for a few minutes, you should eventually see the following:
    DEBUG: Publican::Builder: end of build
  6. Test the build:
    $ ./Build test 
    Again, lots of scrolling text at the end of which you may see the following:
    Test Summary Report
    t/910.publican.Users_Guide.t (Wstat: 256 Tests: 5 Failed: 1)
     Failed test: 5
     Non-zero exit status: 1
    t/pod-coverage.t (Wstat: 256 Tests: 9 Failed: 1)
     Failed test: 7
     Non-zero exit status: 1
    Files=10, Tests=68, 420 wallclock secs ( 0.31 usr 0.17 sys + 246.87 cusr 18.73 csys = 266.08 CPU)
    Result: FAIL
    Failed 2/10 test programs. 2/68 subtests failed.
    Don't worry. This is because of a missing wkhtmltopdf utility which is undergoing tests to be added to Publican in the future to replace Apache FOP as the pdf generation tool of choice. If Publican finds wkhtmltopdf it will use it, otherwise it uses FOP.
    Unfortunately, at the time of writing, because OpenSuse names one of the dependencies of wkhtmltopdf differently (ghostscript-fonts-std as opposed to ghostscript-fonts) wkhtmltopdf will not run even if force installed with no dependency checks.
  7. Install wkhtmltopdf.
    This step is optional. At the time of writing wkhtmltopdf did not work on OpenSuse 12.1 However, as the problems which prevent it working correctly from Publican may have been resolved, the following instructions give details on installing wkhtmltopdf.


    If you intend to create indices in your generated pdf documents, you are advised to use Apache FOP rather than wkhtmltopdf. With FOP you get actual page numbers which is better in a printed document.
    $ JFEARN= MYSYSTEM=i686 ## For 64bit system use MYSYSTEM=x86_64 instead. wget $JFEARN/$MYSYSTEM/wkhtmltopdf-qt-4.7.1-1.git20110804.fc15.i686.rpm wget $JFEARN/$MYSYSTEM/wkhtmltopdf-0.10.0_rc2-1.fc15.i686.rpm 


    If you use a 64 bit system, make sure to set MYSYSTEM appropriately.
    Once downloaded, install both rpms as follows:
    $ sudo sh rpm -ivh wkhtmltopdf-qt* rpm -ivh --nodeps wkhtmltopdf-0* exit 
    You have to use the option to ignore dependencies on the latter rpm due to the ghostscript-fonts problem described above.
  8. Install Publican.
    The final stage is to install Publican, even though the testing stage had a couple of sub-tests which failed.
    $ sudo sh ./Build test exit 
    The following steps are optional but it's a good idea to test that everything is working before you spend time on your own documents.
  9. Test the installed Publican build:
    $ publican create --type=book --product=testing --version=1.2.3 --name=TestPublican
      Processing file en-US/Author_Group.xml -> en-US/Author_Group.xml
      Processing file en-US/Book_Info.xml -> en-US/Book_Info.xml
      Processing file en-US/Chapter.xml -> en-US/Chapter.xml
      Processing file en-US/Preface.xml -> en-US/Preface.xml
      Processing file en-US/Revision_History.xml -> en-US/Revision_History.xml
      Processing file en-US/TestPublican.xml -> en-US/TestPublican.xml
    $ cd TestPublican/ publican build --lang=all --formats=html,html-single,html-desktop,txt,pdf,epub


    At the time of writing, creating epubs with Publican 2.9 on OpenSuse gave the following error:
    runtime error: file /usr/share/publican/xsl/epub.xsl element choose
    Variable 'epub.embedded.fonts' has not been declared.
     at /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.14.2/Publican/ line 915
    No epub file was created. The individual working files were however, and can be built into an epub book using Sigil, if desired.
    Using the Dolphin file manager, you can browse to SourceCode/TestPublican/tmp/en-US/ and view the various output formats that you find there.

1.1.6. Docker container


This installation procedure assumes you have already installed a working docker (see environment.
Docker is a lightweight Jail (currently using LXC) that allows you to install and run publican without installing your main Linux installation with all its dependencies.
  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Download and install the svendowideit/publican container from
    $ docker pull svendowideit/publican
    This will take some time, as it downloads a fedora based container, and then the dependencies needed for publican
  3. Add a publican bash alias to simplify your usage:
    $ echo 'alias publican="docker run -t -i -v $(pwd):/mnt svendowideit/publican"' >> ~/.bashrc
    This alias assumes that you are running publican in the documentation root directory (the one with the publican.cfg file in it.
  4. now you can use publican as per the documentation:
    $ publican --version 

1.2. Windows operating systems

  1. Download the Publican installer from
  2. Browse to the folder to which you downloaded Publican-Installer-version.exe.
  3. Double-click the Publican-Installer-version.exe file.
  4. The installer presents you with a series of license agreements. All of the files that constitute a Publican installation are available under a free license. However, because different licenses are more suitable for certain parts of Publican than others, the Publican files are not all available under the same free license. Each license grants you a different set of rights and responsibilities when you copy or modify the files in your Publican installation. We chose this combination of licenses to allow you to use Publican as freely as possible and to allow you to choose whatever license you prefer for the documents that you publish with Publican.
    Read the terms of the various license agreements. If you agree to their terms, click I Agree on each of them, otherwise, click Cancel.
  5. The installer offers to install several components: Publican itself (labeled Main in the installer window), a number of brands (including RedHat, JBoss, and fedora), and two DocBook components (the DocBook Data Type Definition (DTD) and DocBook Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) stylesheets). The three brands are grouped under the collapsible heading Brands and the DocBook components are grouped under the collapsible heading DocBook in the installer window. Refer to Chapter 5, Branding for an explanation of brands in Publican. Publican uses the DTD and the XSL stylesheets to render XML documents in other presentation formats (such as HTML and PDF). If you do not install these components, Publican must download this data from the Internet every time it processes a document, which creates lengthy delays.
    All components are selected by default. Click the checkboxes to deselect any components that you do not require and click Next to continue.
  6. By default, the installer software creates a folder named Publican within the %ProgramFiles% folder of your computer — typically C:\Program Files\Publican. You can manually edit the path displayed in the Destination Folder box to select a different folder.
  7. When you are satisfied with the destination folder, click Install.
    The installer displays a progress bar as it installs Publican. To see more detailed information about the progress of the installation, click Show details.
  8. When the process finishes, the installer notifies you with the message Completed.
    Click Close to close the installer.

1.3. OSX Lion

  1. Install Xcode from Mac App store.


    Xcode is about 4GB. Be prepared to wait. It has things you need, though.
  2. Install Macports from Everything you install with it goes into /opt/local, away from your normal OS files.
  3. Open a terminal.
  4. Install dependencies for publican, which are available as ports:
    $sudo port install docbook-xml docbook-xsl docbook-sgml-4.2 perl5 bash-completion p5-file-pushd p5-config-simple p5-file-find-rule p5-file-slurp p5-class-trigger p5-time-hires p5-list-moreutils p5-ipc-run3 p5-class-accessor p5-test-perl-critic p5-xml-libxslt p5-locale-gettext p5-image-size p5-file-copy-recursive p5-datetime p5-archive-zip p5-timedate p5-html-format p5-dbd-sqlite p5-xml-simple p5-devel-cover p5-test-pod p5-test-pod-coverage p5-template-toolkit
  5. Install CPAN modules for dependencies which can't be satisfied with ports. Note: this step will generate lots of messages, including warnings. Don't worry about them.
    $sudo cpanLocale::Maketext::Gettext Locale::PO DateTime::Format::DateParse Syntax::Highlight::Engine::Kate XML::TreeBuilder File::Inplace String::Similarity HTML::FormatText::WithLinks::AndTables
  6. Install FOP if you want PDFs to work:
    $ sudo port install fop
    $ echo "FOP_OPTS='-Xms50m -Xmx700m'" > ~/.foprc
  7. Check out Publican Main branch. This command should be run from your user home directory, for instance /Users/yourusername
    $ git clone git://
  8. Change directories:
    $ cd publican/publican
  9. This directory should contain a file named Verify that you are in the correct directory, then run the following command. Ignore all the messages you get.
    $ perl ./Build.PL
    $ ./Build
  10. Run the following command to install Publican and put all of its bits into /opt/local:
    $ sudo ./Build install

Procedure 1.1. Create and build a book

  1. $ publican create --name=testbook
  2. $ cd testbook
  3. $ publican build --formats=html --langs=en-US
  4. Open the tmp/en-US/html/index.html file in a browser to prove that it built correctly.

Procedure 1.2. Install a brand

  1. Fix the permissions of the Commons Brand. You have to do this only once. This is a bug that will be addressed eventually.
    $ find /opt/local/share/publican -type f |xargs sudo chmod 644
  2. Either check out the SVN for your brand, or get a pre-built brand from a friend.
    1. The SVN location for the brands supplied by Red Hat is
    2. If you use a pre-built brand, extract it as necessary.
  3. If you got the brand from SVN, build it.
    $ cd publican/publican-jboss
    $ publican build --formats=xml --langs=all --publish
  4. Install the brand.
    $ sudo publican install_brand --path=/opt/local/share/publican/Common_Content
    You can now use the brand in your books by editing your book's publican.cfg file or specifying the --brand option when creating your book.