[texhax] TeX -> PostScript, but in a resolution-independent manner

William Adams wadams at atlis.com
Wed Jun 4 17:24:26 CEST 2003

I'd said:
>> (bitmap font rendering gets a lot nicer w/ Adobe / Acrobat 6 though)

and Peter asked:
>Nicer than Type 1 fonts?

I don't know---nothing I have supports Acrobat Reader 6's steep software requirements.

>By the way, is it true that the Adobe's Acrobat Reader, which most of 
>people are using to read PDF files, has some problems with PostScript?

Adobe Acrobat Reader doesn't parse PostScript, but PDF, which is a
separate specification (though essentially a flattened / simplified PostScript)

>A friend of mine has been sending his CV in PostScript and later
>to send it as PDF, because most of people have told him, they couldn't 
>read it, but they probably just didn't know what to do with the .ps 
>file, I guess. 

Very few commercial operating systems are equipped out of the box to
handle a .ps file for direct display (NeXTstep, Solaris w/ Display
PostScript come to mind)

>Are the scalable fonts always better than the bitmap 
>fonts, or maybe I was wrong?

They display better in most versions of Acrobat Reader.

>dvipsone is not part of my teTeX distribution. Is it better than dvips?

dvipsone is the dvips program for Y&Y's commercial TeX implementation,
see www.yandy.com

> Thanks, I haven't heard about Lout before. I quickly read about it now 
> and what I've found out so far is that "Lout offers an unprecedented 
> range of advanced features" most of which, if not all, have been 
> precedented in TeX. But what are the things in which Lout is better than 
> TeX, other than the output format?

Processing .lout files?

> I've read that argument in favour of Lout is that it is smaller, faster 
> and easier to use, and the argument in favour of TeX is that it is more 
> popular. It doesn't metter much, as TeX is already fast and small enough 
> for me. But the most important thing is, what are the differences in the 
> typesetting quality itself (paragraph breaking, character positioning, 
> etc.)? Has Jeffrey Kingston really done a better job than Donald Knuth?

Not judging by the documentation which is rife w/ widows and orphans
(lout's successor nonpareil suffers from similar difficulties)

> It's not that I don't want to learn anything new only because I have 
> already devoted lots of time to TeX, but reading books and papers of 
> (and about) Donald Knuth, I started to realize how great he is in 
> computer typesetting and now I wonder if not using his man-years of 
> great work is really the way to go.

Adobe chose to use TeX's H&J algorithm (by way of URW's HZ algorithm) as
the basis for the multi-line composer in Adobe InDesign---hard to think
of a better compliment.

> By the way, I wonder why Knuth hadn't used PostScript instead of DVI as 
> a device-independent output. Was it only because of historical reasons, 
> or are there any strong technical reasons to use DVI instead?

PostScript wasn't available when TeX was first done. There's also a
philosophical reason as well---have one archival file format and make
special programs to support different output devices (dvilj, dvips, dvipdfm)

> I ask about it, because the main TeX target today is still DVI, but at 
> least the practical reasons today are strongly in favour of PostScript. 
> If I want to have something printed, my printing-office wants 
> PostScript, most of people I talked to haven't even heard what DVI is, 
> not to mention supporting it.

PostScript is the norm for outputting to high-end printers / imagesetters.

> I constantly see using PDF format everywhere where PostScript used to be 
> used before, but I have really no idea why is that happening. The 
> document has to be converted to PostScript before sending to PostScript 
> printer anyway, so why not store it as PostScript in the first place?

Because PostScript files require a PostScript interpreter, and can be
quite complex, or dependent on things which aren't included in them.
> Is there any reason for using PDF for things, which PostScript was 
> invented for?

PostScript was created to describe pages to print. .pdf == ``portable
document format'' and is more suited to display on screen or general
use. It's also far easier to examine a .pdf for completeness &c.

Take a look at www.planetpdf.com or www.pdfzone.com for more details on
this sort of thing.


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