geekery 

in the end, the printer failed and started to throw ink-poo all over sheets of paper, so we sent the pdf to printshop nearby

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geekery 

essentially, the 'document viewer' was unable to print a pdf - albeit 7Mb big, 250pages - it just died after few pages. i'm not sure what went wrong there, but I tried on another computer, converted pdf to postscript (700Mb) and then tried to print it using commandline tools. the biggest problem was scale-to-page which just didn't work whatever I did. at the end I realised that pdf->ps conversion already created A4 pages with smaller page on them without scaling. so...

geekery 

... the crucial part was

-paper A4 -expand

options to pdftops command.

after that i was able to print using pretty much this kind of command

cat FILE.ps | lp -d "printername"

(obtain printername with lpstat -p -d)

the most cpu intense process was pdftops.

in any case, FUN TIMEZ WITH UNIXEZ

huge thanks to people on stackexchange and other forums leaving helpful tricks laying around.

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