[Printing-architecture] On the Continued Need for PostScript Workflows

Ira McDonald blueroofmusic at gmail.com
Tue Jun 18 00:45:07 UTC 2013

Hi James,

I sympathize with your concerns, but...

(1) PostScript filters aren't going to be maintained in CUPS in the future
(as far as I know)

(2) PWG IPP Everywhere (the only open standard mobile printing protocol)
abandons PostScript entirely and requires PDF

(3) Of the recent printers that I'm aware of, more are supporting native PDF
than native PostScript

(4) PostScript is deservedly disliked by government standards agencies
around the world because of how easily it can be exploited for security

I agree that PostScript files won't go away, but they are being increasingly
converted at the *source* content provider to PDF for interoperability.

- Ira

Ira McDonald (Musician / Software Architect)
Chair - Linux Foundation Open Printing WG
Secretary - IEEE-ISTO Printer Working Group
Co-Chair - TCG Trusted Mobility Solutions WG
Chair - TCG Embedded Systems Hardcopy SG
IETF Designated Expert - IPP & Printer MIB
Blue Roof Music/High North Inc
mailto:blueroofmusic at gmail.com
Winter  579 Park Place  Saline, MI  48176  734-944-0094
Summer  PO Box 221  Grand Marais, MI 49839  906-494-2434

On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 8:14 PM, James Cloos <cloos at jhcloos.com> wrote:

> I've been trying for months to write a whitepaper on this subject, but
> haven't been comfortable with the tone I end up with.  This is getting
> more important, though.  So I'll try to be succinct, even if that might
> come off as blunt.  Apologies in advance for feather ruffling.
> *Any* conversion of PostScript into PDF in the print work flow -- ie, in
> the cups filters -- is broken and unacceptable.
> PostScript files exist; they do not magically disappear just because PDF
> is available.
> PostScript printers are still more common than PDF printers.  And they
> have *long* lifetimes.  (In the US, printers have a five-year depreci-
> ation schedule and one can expect a much longer service life.)
> When printing an existing ps file -- including when printing from
> programs which can generate ps but not pdf -- the postscript MUST be
> modified only by pstops when sending on to a ps printer, or MUST be
> rendered directly to a raster format when printing to printers which
> require raster input.
> Conversions can only cause damage.
> Artifex refuses to ensure that gs' pdfwriter generates device indepen-
> dent colour when given a source file with device independent colour
> (evidently it is a large job for which they do not have a paying
> customer).  Cf the relevant WONTFIXes.
> And it is not always even possible to convert jobs which use postscript
> as a language into equivilent PDF.  The formats are just too different.
> It is perfectly OK -- even welcome -- to prefer PDF when the original
> file is not already in a page description format or language.
> But the only molestation a postscript file should endure is that
> specified by the ppd and user-selected options.
> -JimC
> --
> James Cloos <cloos at jhcloos.com>         OpenPGP: 1024D/ED7DAEA6
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> Printing-architecture at lists.linux-foundation.org
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