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pdftk hard masked? :(
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Tux's lil' helper
Tux's lil' helper

Joined: 07 Sep 2003
Posts: 98
Location: Zürich, Switzerland

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:20 pm    Post subject: pdftk hard masked? :( Reply with quote

[Moderator note: this post and the first response were originally attached to the four year old topic splitting a pdf file in its pages [SOLVED]. Although linked by their mutual interest in pdftk, these threads are otherwise independent. -Hu]

Pardon me for digging this one up from the grave, but there seems to be a somewhat-recent change in status of pdftk; it's become hard-masked, at least in the following profile:
# cat /usr/portage/metadata/timestamp.chk
Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:30:01 +0000

# eselect profile list
  [19]  default/linux/amd64/17.0/desktop/plasma (stable)
  [20]  default/linux/amd64/17.0/desktop/plasma/systemd (stable) *
  [21]  default/linux/amd64/17.0/developer (stable)

# eix pdftk
* app-text/pdftk
     Verfügbare Versionen:   [M]2.02
     Beschreibung:           A tool for manipulating PDF documents

I really liked pdftk. Perhaps enough to pay for it. Can anyone offer some perspective as to why this might have happened?

I hesitate to install a hard masked packages on my system without really deep knowledge about the origin, so it's now time to evaluate whatever alternatives exist...

I found a substitute ghostscript command for one of the main functions that I used pdftk for:

Concatenate a series of individual PDF pages into a single PDF document:
# gs -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -q -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=outfile.pdf *.pdf

However, I don't have solutions for my other use cases at the moment:

  • Encrypting the PDF in a way that the proprietary PDF readers can decrypt it with a pre-shared password/key
  • Decrypt ones with standard encrypting and a pre-shared password/key
  • Break (burst) a single PDF in to many individual PDF's, 1-page-per-file

pdfshuffler looks interesting and is not masked, but it's described as a GUI app and I need something scriptable, without any GUI dependencies

I see that a dependency of pdfshuffler is PYPDF2:
# eix pypdf
* dev-python/PyPDF2
     Verfügbare Versionen:   1.26.0 {examples PYTHON_TARGETS="python2_7 python3_4 python3_5 python3_6"}
     Beschreibung:           Python library to work with pdf files

It also seems to handle the encryption and decryption of some set of formats. ...but a Python library is a bit low-level for what I'm trying to accomplish. I just want pdftk.
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Joined: 13 Mar 2009
Posts: 234
Location: Utrecht

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know there are two possible main reasons for this kind of masking:
- The program is no longer maintained, so no updates on upcoming issues can be expected and possibly one has come up.
- There is no longer a Gentoo package maintainer for the program

So I suggest to first take a look at the program home site.

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Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 16487

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not get the canonical answer?
# emerge -pv pdftk

These are the packages that would be merged, in order:

Calculating dependencies... done!

!!! All ebuilds that could satisfy "pdftk" have been masked.
!!! One of the following masked packages is required to complete your request:
- app-text/pdftk-2.02::gentoo (masked by: package.mask)
# Andreas K. Huettel <> (1 Dec 2017)
# The following packages require GCC 5 or earlier and are therefore
# masked in the 17.0 profiles.
The solution is that someone needs to address whatever issue(s) cause this package not to work under gcc-6, at which point it can be unmasked. Unfortunately, according to =app-text/pdftk-2.02 calls gcj directly, comment #12:
James Le Cuirot wrote:
It is very telling that upstream promised a non-gcj version some two years ago and still haven't delivered. No wonder Fedora stopped packaging it. I know this software is quite unique but be prepared to let it go if upstream don't deliver.
I read this to mean that the fix is non-trivial, upstream promised to deliver it, and has not made good on that promise despite considerable lead time. It is therefore unlikely that this package can be saved, at least in the short term.
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Joined: 08 Mar 2003
Posts: 25158
Location: here

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also see
Questions are guaranteed in life; Answers aren't.
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