[Desktop_printing] Agenda proposal: Replace PostScript by PDF asjob transfer format

Ralph Giles giles at ghostscript.com
Mon Jan 9 16:01:57 PST 2006

On Mon, Jan 09, 2006 at 03:00:32PM -0800, Bastian, Waldo wrote:

> So far the case for PDF seems to be rooted in a vague notion that xpdf
> is better maintained than ghostscript.

I don't think this is a good way to state the case. As a Postscript 
interpreter and rasterizer, Ghostscript is *extremely* mature, and 
Adobe is not longer updating the Postscript specification, so there is 
little actual need for code updates. As you suggest, I think the 
argument is actually in the other direction from a security and code 
stability point of view.

But if we were happy with code stability, we'd still be using lpr. :)

No, I think the case for migrating the print workflow to PDF rests 
entirely on its features. In my view, the most important aspects of
this are:

 a) better colour accuracy, especially with deep images and ICC profile
    support. This is essential for graphic arts work, and helpful for
    just printing people's digital photos.

 b) native support for transparency, which greatly improves both file
    size and scalability with resolution over Postscript for transparent
    sources. Vector graphics with transparency are coming into 
    increasing artistic use and it is important to support them well.

 c) portability. PDF is designed as a portable format much more than
    Postscript is/was and that makes it a more natural format for
    applications and drawing libraries to produce, and one of the
    major document formats users will want to print. Very, very
    few new users are working with Postscript files directly.

That's why we at Ghostscript believe it's important to switch, despite 
the pain of new code and chasing Adobe's updates to the standard.


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