[Desktop_printing] Re: xpdf renders inkscape generated pdf badly

Hin-Tak Leung hintak_leung at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Apr 10 17:44:02 PDT 2006

Derek B. Noonburg wrote:
> On 11 Apr, Hin-Tak Leung wrote:
>> Hmm, strangely enough, I don't think Derek (author of xpdf, and the
>> pdftops backend used by cups) was in the desktop_printing list nor invited
>> to the summit currently going on at Atlanta?
> Actually, Michael Sweet invited me, but I don't have the time to attend.

That makes sense - I would be a bit surprised if nobody had involved you
as the whole of Wednesday morning is to be about pdf printing!

>> http://groups.osdl.org/apps/group_public/download.php/2078/printingsummit.pdf
> The text in that PDF file has all been vectorized, which is a bad idea
> for a couple of reasons: display performance (fonts are faster because
> they can be cached), and the file is no longer searchable or indexable.

I don't have first-hand knowledge about the internals of inkscape, but
from what I heard of it being SVG driven, it probably inherits SVG's model
on fonts and glyphs, which is as you said, not searchable nor indexable.
(the latter is not strictly true, but from my reading of the SVG spec
- a few years back, haven't touched it for some years - fonts in SVG
are just indexed vector drawing of glyphs; while XML itself has
unicode capability, the equivalent of pdf's tounicode cmap is not part
of SVG - font *encoding*, i.e. "giving meaning to the glyphs" is not
part of SVG, or the last I read of it a few years ago - it may or may
not have changed since).

I suppose SVG fonts can also be cached, if one has a reliable way of
recognizing repeatedly occuring glyphs for what they are, rather than
individual drawings?

> That said, the next release of Xpdf will have anti-aliasing for vector
> graphics, which will at least make the file look better (though it can't
> address the performance or text extraction issues).

That sounds great. Looking forward to the next version :-).


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