What is Acrophobia?

Acrophobia is a Linux-based network PDF printer. Acrophobia appears as a standard network printer. Any jobs printed to the Acrophobia 'printer' are converted to PDF and sent via e-mail back to the originating user.


Acrophobia is a project of the Open Source Software Peer Group of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA - formerly LawNet) , an association of legal technology professionals. This project was created in order to demonstrate the usefulness of open source technology within the law-firm environment.

Acrophobia has historically been, for all intents and purposes, an appliance – a dedicated PDF print server. The focus of the project has been reliability and ease of setup for those new to Linux. Acrophobia’s configuration routine automates the configuration of Samba and Sendmail, with the assumption that the box is dedicated to Acrophobia. The configuration may be incompatible with other uses of Samba and/or Sendmail.


Easy Installation

All it takes to get going is a fresh installation of Fedora Core 3*, a simple rpm install and a little tweaking for your network, and your users will be creating PDFs in no time.

* Fedora Core 1 or 2 will also work.


Acrophobia version 3.1 is available as an RPM and can be downloaded from SourceForge. Previous versions are also available:



Acrophobia was first introduced as an instructional whitepaper, published through LawNet. The whitepaper assumed no prior Linux experience and guided the reader through machine setup, RedHat Linux installation, Samba configuration, Sendmail configuration and manual input of a small script. Upon completion, the reader would have a ready solution for his or her firm’s PDF creation needs.

Acrophobia quickly became quite popular within the legal industry. At this point, the SIG’s goal of introducing Linux to the industry had been met. Thanks to the stability and functionality offered by Linux, Samba, Ghostscript and Sendmail, Acrophobia performed its function flawlessly. For these reasons, there was little public activity surrounding Acrophobia.

During this time, the author made a few improvements for use by his then-current firm. The whitepaper was updated for newer versions of RedHat Linux. Instructions for Suse Linux were added and the whitepaper was released as version 2.

Following version 2 of the whitepaper, the main script was re-written in Python and many features were added. A fundamental shift took place as Acrophobia evolved from an instructional whitepaper to a product in its own right. A configuration script was written to ease installation and Acrophobia was packaged as an RPM.