Re: PostScript Printing

Subject: Re: PostScript Printing
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- SIMPLYWRITTEN -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 11:53:14 -0500

Sorry to quibble, Barry, but I'm afraid that others on the list might not
catch this.

PostScript isn't compiled at all, neither at nor coming to the printer. In
point of fact, it's ASCII text that can be edited in any good programming
editor (use a programming editor to handle the ungodly number of lines).
Many advanced PDF writers do this to embed special PDFMark commands. It's
interpreted just like RTF is. RTF is also just ASCII text that can be edited
separately from a standard Windows tool.

You may be thinking of early Adobe PS fonts, which weren't compiled, but
encrypted. You may also be thinking of PDF, which isn't compiled so much as
encoded, but it's definitely not editable.

PostScript can be funny stuff for those unused to its quirks. For starters,
it's not built for display, but for printing, making it necessary to use
Adobe Type Manager to properly display many PS fonts, at least before ATM
was incorporated into so many applications. And yes, several companies
balked at paying Adobe to license the Adobe PostScript interpreter, often
called a "RIP", and wrote their own, often to their users' chagrin when
their PS files didn't print correctly.

For much more background, I recommend Thomas Mertz' horribly expensive but
unmatched books on PS and PDF.

Tim Altom
Adobe Certified Expert, Acrobat
Simply Written, Inc.
Creators of the Clustar Method for task-based documentation

>PostScript is a compiled language, RTF is an interpreted language.
>As an analogy this is the difference between C (a compiled language) and
>BASIC (an interpreted language).
>If you send a PostScript file to a non-PostScript printer, the
>non-PostScript printer will try to print out the compiled code.
>That is why you will see "%PS" followed by some ASCII code and many
>carriage-return-line-feeds (almost blank pages).
>This is why when you send a C program (.exe) to a printer you get the same
>results as sending a PostScript file to a non-PostScript enabled printer.
>PDF is based on PostScript because PostScript is owned by Adobe (as is
>PostScript is offered (as an option) by most printer manufacturers. (Apple
>only speaks Postscript.)
>Many printer manufacturers do not whish to pay tribute to Adobe to license
>PostScript and therefore write their own compiler. Kyocera, for example,
>uses KPDL, or Kyocera Page Description Language. For more information on
>printer languages see:

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