Leonard Rosenthol on Thu, 11 Oct 2001 18:30:19 +0200

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Re: [PLUG] Postscript, Ghostscript, and pdf

At 11:54 AM -0400 10/11/01, gabriel rosenkoetter wrote:
I remember being shocked at how well ps2pdf worked when I used it
last, but I thought it was just because I'd never tried it before.
I think latex -> dvips -> ps2pdf now produces better output than
latex -> dvipdfm, but I haven't compared very closely just yet (nor
tried wacky page layout formats like slides).

It's gotten much better over time, BUT the BEST way to is to use either PDFTeX or Omega - a version of TeX that has integrated support for PDF generation as it will do a cleaner/nicer job. Also, such products have some neat features related to PDF generation, and even PDF import (using an existing PDF file as a figure/image in a TeX document).

Now, slow down a minute and think about what I was saying. There is
no piece of user-interfaceable that works directly with Postscript
within Mac OS or Windows.

Sure there is, depending on what you mean by "user-interfaceable" and "work directly".

 Which, imho, is totally ridiculous since
any printer worth its toner speaks Postscript.

I agree with you there, but unfortunately most printers sold today to the average user are either inkjets (that take rasters) OR they are cheap laser printers based on something like PCL. Postscript is expensive (even cloned-PS, and don't get me started on that!!) and most users don't see/know the benefit.

Moreover, I don't even really want to view the file. I want to be
able to print it. The fact that I can't drag a Postscript file onto
Mac OS's desktop printer and have it come out of the printer is
totally ridiculous considering all I'm trying to do is give the
printer precisely what it wants.

See my message to Walt for more details and other issues - but just drag & drop the PS file on the desktop printer icon and it will print ;).

And let's remember the fact that Postscript is really just g[l]orified
html (in the same way that TeX is glorified html; yes, I'm aware
that both predate html, I'm speaking to what the average populace
will have learned first).

Actually, PS is NOT glorified HTML (though TeX could be) for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, PS is a page description language, meaning that it explicitly places objects on the page rather than HTML which lets the brower/client choose where things go.

And Second, PS is a full blown programming language with variables, loops, conditionals, etc. That allows for some AMAZING dynamic processing that simply isn't possible with HTML (though DHTML/DOM/JavaScript start to close the gap).

> It's use on screen, and weird things like Display Postscript (DPS)
were hacks, more so than anything else.

Well. I'm rather affectionate of Display Postscript being as I have a pare of NeXT cubes, but I don't care to speak for or against its state as a hack.

Don't get me wrong, DPS was a VERY cool idea (in it's day) and definitely helped Steve sell cubes & pizza boxes. Unfortunately, it's the wrong approach to the problem (IMO) since using a programming language (PS) as your real-time screen display engine has too much overhead and potential security issues.

> Mac OS X takes the right approach, which is to use PDF as the
native metafile format, including on-screen print preview.

Well, where the right approach is defined as continuing to kowtow to Adobe, I suppose. :^>

Not at all (though that certainly helped ;).

Since PDF and Postscript share the same imaging model (modulo things in PDF 1.4 not present in PS3 like transparency), the move from Display Postscript to "Display PDF" in Mac OS X was the obvious choice. It preserves the benefits of DPS, while removing all the obstacles.

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Leonard Rosenthol      			Internet:       leonardr@lazerware.com
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