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

zsdc zsdc at wp.pl
Sat Jun 7 03:39:47 CEST 2003

William Adams wrote:

>>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)
OK, now I have somewhat better understanding of PDF. Someone once told 
me that PDF is basically PostScript + hyperlinks + DRM + compression, 
that's why I was wondering why it is used in preparing documents for 
printing instead of PS. I didn't know it was simplified.

>>A friend of mine has been sending his CV in PostScript and later started
>>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)
Actually, I don't know why most of the systems don't support PS, 
especially with Ghostscript available. Besides, the OS'es usually don't 
support PDF out of the box as well, most of people use Adobe's software 
for that anyway.

>>Are the scalable fonts always better than the bitmap 
>>fonts, or maybe I was wrong?
>They display better in most versions of Acrobat Reader.
Thanks. This was my main concern, as most of people use Acrobat.

>>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?
Yes, it's much better, indeed. :-)

>>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.
Actually, Lout also uses Knuth's algorithm from TeX, so the typesetting 
quality itself should be quite similar. But I started to read a book 
about Lout and I definitely don't like the syntax, so I will stay with TeX.

>>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.
What is better, using pdftex to produce PDF directly from TeX files, and 
then printing it on PostScript printer (converting PDF to PS), or using 
tex to produce DVI from TeX files and then dvips to convert DVI to 
PostScript? Either way there's a middle step, I wonder which way gives 
better quality or maybe has some other advantages.

>>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.
Thanks, now I understand it. That's why I started to wonder if using PDF 
is maybe a better idea, after all. By the way, is PDF a truely open 
format, with the full specs available, etc. like PS?

>>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.
Thanks a lot.


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