[OS X TeX] graphic conversion

Chris Goedde cgoedde at condor.depaul.edu
Mon Feb 14 18:13:59 CET 2005

On Feb 12, 2005, at 3:07 AM, Denis Chabot wrote:

> I still find it amazing that there would be no converter from pdf to 
> pict that could preserve vector objects. Maybe I'll fire back old 
> Classic, where QuickDraw is the native engine, and see what I can get.

I agree this is frustrating, but it's not so surprising if you think 
about what pdf (and its ancestor, postscript) are: they are output 
formats, not document exchange formats. A pdf document is really a 
program for drawing marks on a surface (real or virtual) that needs to 
be interpreted. There aren't really that many independent interpreters 
on the planet, and most are focused on rasterization (i.e. actually 
running the program) rather than translation (rewriting the program in 
a new language). The translation of pdf <---> eps is fairly 
straightforward because of their close relationship, but translating 
pdf to pict is probably a very different story (I know nothing about 
the pict format) due to differing models/capabilities of the pdf and 
pict languages.

One might think that it would be possible to just pick out the 
important bits of the pdf file without interpreting the whole thing, 
but due to the power and flexibility of pdf, this is not really 
possible. For example, in pdf (and postscript), it's possible to change 
the coordinate system in fairly arbitrary ways (scale, translate, 
rotate, skew), so a chunk of code that at first glance looks like a 
circle or a square may actually represent an ellipse or a rhombus.

So, the current situation is unfortunate and frustrating, but not 
entirely surprising.

Chris Goedde

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