I am a new user of groff and want to generate pdf files with it. I know that the basic syntax is as follows:

    groff -ms inputcode.ms -T pdf > outputfile.pdf

But, when I try it, I get the following error message:

groff: can't find DESC' file groff:fatal error: invalid device pdf'

Having done a great deal of research, I realized that I need a pdf driver, a basic package that was lacking in my installation of groff (I've installed groff it using apt-get). I have no idea why the driver was not included!!! Anyway, I would like to install such driver. I have searched for ways to do this, but have not found any. How do I do this?

PS: Groff must recognize the installed driver/package.


You have only a basic groff installation. You can see this by finding the full pathname to the groff command:

command -v groff

It says /usr/bin/groff. Use this to find which package it came from:

dpkg -S /usr/bin/groff

It says groff-base. Look for other packages:

apt search groff

You just have to install the listed full groff package, which is just called groff:

sudo apt install groff
  • It's worked perfectly and I have learned a lot about how to manage packages ( I know it's simples, but...). Thanks a lot! – Daniel Bandeira Dec 10 '19 at 22:16

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