[Desktop_printing] Microsoft XPS specification

Giuseppe Ghibò ghibo at mandriva.com
Thu Apr 20 14:33:21 PDT 2006

Raph Levien wrote:

 >>Thanks - the last time I read of metro, I thought it was some vapourware
 >>to spit adobe.
 > It isn't exactly vaporware, although I have little doubt that the
 > primary purpose is to spit adobe.

Probably they want to do what done with WMA/WMV for Real Video.
It was not the best format,
but it's the one for which they where giving
authoring tools, so mostly every site is using them.

 > I believe Microsoft intends their XPS viewer largely to displace
 > Acrobat largely as a tool for reading documents posted on the Web.

sorry but wasn't that the CHM format which is used for ebooks?

 > Thus, I would tend to guess that a lot of the initial movement from
 > the free software community would come from the Web browsers. That
 > community has, to our frustration, never integrated any Ghostscript
 > technology, and the Gnome viewer space has also forsaken Ghostscript
 > in favor of various forks of xpdf. This experience has left me less

What do you mean as integration?

IMHO is fine to have two engines (one based on XPDF and/or its
forks [poppler, cairo, etc.]) and one based on ghostscript,
but I've not yet seen any browser which has native capability to view PostScript
or PDF files natively (AFAIK mozilla can call viewer for PS or PDF trough
mozplugger or nppdf.so, while konqueror if I remember
right calls kghostscript or kpdf internally) like it for instance
it's possible to do for PNG files.

Regarding XPS, indeed for other free format, it comes to my mind
the .DVI (the format used in TeX) format which was existing
even before PostScript and PDFs.

IMHO what instead we've not yet seen is a free graphical tool for Linux
capable of editing (and modifying) EPS and PDF files or doing distilling
(with a graphical interface) as "distiller". AFAIK right now for the first case
only one capable is Adobe Illustrator, while for the latter it shouldn't
be too difficult to write a graphical frontend for doing PDF/PS manipulation
and page rearranging using ghostscript as engine (indeed for
Windows there were FreePDF as frontend).
BTW, speaking of ghostscript, why when converting PDFs to PS the
Type1 fonts are not preserved, so to allow to further
reconvert back to PDF without loosing fonts integrity? As right
now one have to convert the PDF to PS using "pdftops" from XPDF
(or "acroread -toPostScript"), then back to pdf with ps2pdf.

 > than wildly enthusiastic about expecting positive results from a
 > collaboration, but if somebody in the viewer/browser space wanted to
 > work with us and would hold up their end, we'd be happy to work with
 > them. In any case, there isn't any _hurry_ for the free software
 > community to respond to XPS, but it's definitely worth learning more

Regarding viewers, we have right now:

- ggv (GPL, call "gs" executable)
- gv (GPL, call "gs" executable), old, but still widely used.
- gsview (AFPL, libgs?)
- kghostscript (GPL, call "gs" executable)

- xpdf
- kpdf
- gpdf
- evince (GPL, calls "gs" executable for PS, poppler for PDF).

Regarding engines/distillers, other than ghostscript (GPL/AFPL) there
is pstill (which is not OSS) but which if I remember right was
initially based on Adrian Aylward's Amiga "post.library" (PD sources).


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