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I have a pdf that I was printing recently, and on the final printout there is a single character that doesn't print. It is the greek letter phi, and the pdf was built with pdflatex. The phi shows up in every pdf reader I have tried, and if I convert to a ps using pdftops before printing that solves the problem. Also, I sent the pdf to a buddy who has a very similar machine (Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit, with the same printer drivers), and he was able to print it (to the same printer) and the character showed up.

Clearly I have a workaround, but I'm more curious as to where I should be looking to figure out what is causing this bug? What is the printing "toolchain", and where could it be going wrong?

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It sounds like you're missing some font library/libraries on your local machine – p_strand Sep 26 '12 at 20:43
Agreed. What's the name of the font you wrote the character in? If you know that, you can find the package to install. – Kasius Sep 26 '12 at 20:52
I'll look into that... but why does it show up in the pdf readers, and how can pdftops convert correctly if I am missing fonts? – jarvisschultz Sep 26 '12 at 20:56
So to figure out what font that specific character was I recompiled the pdf using the same pdflatex preamble, but only left the single character in the document. The only font listed also shows up in the original pdf, thus I conclude that it is indeed the correct one. Anyway, it is listed as "StandardSymL-Slant_167" it is a Type 1 embedded subset font. – jarvisschultz Sep 26 '12 at 21:12
The fact that pdftops converts your document correctly is not strange at all since you can view the document in your pdf readers. Does this happen to every pdf document that has the phi character or is it only for this document? If it's just for this document, then maybe there's something wrong with the document itself. If not, then my guess is that gnome print cannot access the font library for some reason (permissions maybe?). That would be rather strange though but then again, I've never heard of this problem before. – p_strand Sep 27 '12 at 14:23

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