Apparently, the LaTeX distribution and its associated classes and drivers, as well as files in one's Linux distribution can all affect the page size that is ultimately used for the output of
pdflatex, etc. Whether one converts a
.tex file to
.ps file can also affect the page size of the final document. I have encountered a number of sources on the web describing this problem and potential solutions (e.g., (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6)). There does not appear to be a standard solution.
My question is: how can I ensure that my document is being output to 'letter'-sized paper. Which parameters of which files affect the choice of paper size: document classes, device drivers, Linux-specific files, others? Which LaTeX packages influence the choice of paper size? Which parameters override other parameters if conflicting paper sizes are specified? Which parameters should be changed to alter the page size on a one-time basis? Which parameters should be changed to alter the default page size?