Index of /PublicDomain/doc/gs
Copyright (C) 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994 Aladdin Enterprises. All rights reserved.
This file is part of Aladdin Ghostscript.
Aladdin Ghostscript is distributed with NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. No author
or distributor accepts any responsibility for the consequences of using it,
or for whether it serves any particular purpose or works at all, unless he
or she says so in writing. Refer to the Aladdin Ghostscript Free Public
License (the "License") for full details.
Every copy of Aladdin Ghostscript must include a copy of the License,
normally in a plain ASCII text file named PUBLIC. The License grants you
the right to copy, modify and redistribute Aladdin Ghostscript, but only
under certain conditions described in the License. Among other things, the
License requires that the copyright notice and this notice be preserved on
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* This file describes version 3.12 of Ghostscript. *
******** An overview of Ghostscript ********
Ghostscript is the name of a set of software that provides:
- An interpreter for the PostScript (TM) language, and
- A set of C procedures (the Ghostscript library) that implement
the graphics capabilities that appear as primitive operations in the
How is Ghostscript licensed? Where can I find it?
Ghostscript is a copyrighted work (Aladdin Enterprises owns the copyright);
it is not shareware or in the public domain. Different versions of it are
distributed with three different licenses:
- Versions entitled "Aladdin Ghostscript" are distributed with a
license called the Aladdin Ghostscript Free Public License that allows free
use, copying, and distribution by end users, but does not allow commercial
distribution. You can always get the current version of Aladdin
Ghostscript with this license by Internet FTP from
where NNNN is the version number. If you do not have convenient access to
the Internet, Aladdin Enterprises can send you Aladdin Ghostscript on
PC-compatible diskettes for a small fee; please contact Aladdin for more
information. The address and phone number are given later on in this
document. Please note that this is not "commercial licensing"; you are
still getting free software, with no support and no warranty.
- Versions entitled "GNU Ghostscript" are distributed with the GNU
General Public License, which allows free use, and free copying and
redistribution under certain conditions (including, in some cases,
commercial distribution). GNU Ghostscript versions are released
approximately a year after the corresponding Aladdin Ghostscript version.
You can always get the current version of GNU Ghostscript by Internet FTP
or from any of the GNU distribution sites, such as ftp.uu.net:/systems/gnu
or gatekeeper.dec.com:/pub/GNU; you can also get GNU Ghostscript on tape
or CD-ROM from the Free Software Foundation. For a more complete list of
sites, including sites outside the U.S., send e-mail to
- Versions of Ghostscript are also available for commercial
licensing. See the next section for details.
Aladdin Ghostscript and GNU Ghostscript come with NO WARRANTY and NO
SUPPORT. If you have a question or a bug to report, please see the
section "If you need help" below for information about what to do.
The Ghostscript source code distribution includes a library written by the
Independent JPEG Group (IJG). This library does NOT fall under either the
GNU License or the Aladdin Ghostscript Free Public License; it comes with
its own license, which is less restrictive. For more information, please
see the README file in the jpeg subdirectory of the Ghostscript source
code. The executable versions of Ghostscript are based in part on the
work of the Independent JPEG Group.
What about commercial use?
GNU Ghostscript may not be incorporated into commercial products which
forbid copying or for which customers cannot obtain source code for no
more than the cost of reproduction, although it may be distributed
("aggregated") with commercial products; Aladdin Ghostscript may not be
incorporated into commercial products at all, and may only be distributed
commercially under extremely limited circumstances. However, Ghostscript
is also available for commercial licensing, which in addition to the right
to incorporate Ghostscript into commercial products includes support, a
limited warranty, high-quality fonts, and other benefits. For more
information about commercial licensing of Ghostscript, please contact
Aladdin Enterprises' commercial distribution partners, which are the only
entities legally authorized to distribute Ghostscript per se on any terms
other than the GNU or Aladdin free licenses:
In the U.S. and all parts of the world except Europe:
Director of Marketing
Artifex Software Inc.
454 Las Gallinas Ave., suite 108
San Rafael, CA 94903 U.S.A.
In Europe, as a representative of Artifex Software:
quick System Service
Sprockhoeveler Str. 55
Currently, Artifex does not offer commercial support as a separate
service; support is available only to OEM licensees. quickSys, however,
does provide commercial support for Aladdin and GNU Ghostscript in Europe.
What platforms does Ghostscript run on?
Ghostscript is written entirely in C (with some optional assembly-language
accelerators for MS-DOS platforms), with special care taken to make it run
properly on systems of either byte order and of various word lengths.
GNU Ghostscript is known to run on the following platform families:
- A wide variety of Unix systems using X Windows version 11,
release 4 and 5, including Sun-3, Sun-4, Sun-386i, Sun
SPARCStation 1 and 2; generic 80386 machines running 386/ix,
ISC Unix, and SCO Unix; H-P 9000/300 and 9000/800;
DECStation 2100 and 3100; VAX running Ultrix; Sequent Symmetry;
Convex C1 and C2; Tektronix 4300; SGI Iris Indigo;
- Sun workstations (Sun-3, SPARC, Sun-386i) running SunView;
- VAX or AXP systems running VMS with X11R4/5 and DEC C or gcc.
Aladdin Ghostscript is known to run on all of the above, and additionally
the following platform families:
- IBM PC and compatibles with EGA, VGA, SuperVGA, or compatible
graphics under MS-DOS 3.1, 3.3, 5.0, or 6.22, with or without
Microsoft Windows 3.0 or 3.1;
- IBM PC and compatibles under DR DOS 6.0;
- IBM PC and compatibles under OS/2 2.0 and 2.1.
It is very likely that Ghostscript will run under other versions of
MS-DOS, and other versions of Unix that support X11, but it has not been
tested in these environments. (Ghostscript does not run well on
PC-compatibles with Hercules display cards, since text and graphics output
interfere with each other, but you can work around this by redirecting the
text output to a file.)
Ghostscript has also been ported a number of platforms by users, who are
willing to be contacted regarding problems on those specific platforms:
- For information on a port to the Atari ST, contact Tim
- For information on a port to the Acorn Archimedes, contact
David Elworthy (David.Elworthy@cl.cam.ac.uk).
- For information on a port to the Apple Macintosh, contact
Martin Fong (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It is likely that Aladdin Enterprises will support a Macintosh version of
Ghostscript before the end of 1994.
******** Related work
We know of three freely available X Windows screen previewers based on
Ghostscript: Ghostview, GSPreview, and xpsview. For information on
Ghostview, contact Tim Theisen (email@example.com). For information on
GSPreview, contact Richard Hesketh (firstname.lastname@example.org). xpsview, which can
use either Ghostscript or Display PostScript as its imager according to a
command line switch, is available for anonymous FTP from
(the version number may be different) and on the Alpha OSF/1 freeware
CDROM; the author is Francois Bourdoncle (email@example.com).
There is a freely available MS Windows screen previewer based on
Ghostscript, called GSView for Windows, and a similar OS/2 previewer called
PM GSview. For technical information on GSview for Windows or PM GSview,
contact Russell Lang (firstname.lastname@example.org). These programs are also
available for commercial licensing from Artifex Software Inc.
A set of additions that provide a usable Kanji capability for Ghostscript
version 2.4.1 is available for anonymous FTP from
ftp.cs.titech.ac.jp:GNU/gs241j11.tar.Z. For more information, please
contact Mr. Norio Katayama (email@example.com). Mr. Katayama is
working on adapting this package for newer Ghostscript versions
(specifically, for versions 2.6.1 and 3.0), and expects to make the newer
version of the package available sometime in 1994.
******** Documentation overview ********
All the file names mentioned in the documentation, except for README,
are in lower case, which is the usual convention for Unix systems.
On MS-DOS systems, all file names are actually upper-case.
When you receive Ghostscript, you should start by reading:
> README - this file.
> current.doc - information about problems, and major changes and new
features in the current release.
If you have used a previous release of Ghostscript, you probably
should also read any more recent sections of:
> NEWS - a complete, detailed history of changes in the most recent
Especially for new users
If you are a new user of Ghostscript, you should read:
> use.doc - information about to install and use Ghostscript. This
information is also contained in gs.1 - a `man' page for Ghostscript.
> devices.doc - more detailed information about specific devices that
Ghostscript knows about.
> ps2epsi.doc, unix-lpr.doc - more detailed information about some of
the shell scripts and batch files distributed with Ghostscript.
If you are going to compile Ghostscript, rather than just use an
executable you got from somewhere, you should read:
> make.doc - how to install, compile and link Ghostscript.
If you run into any questions, or if you are going to be using
Ghostscript extensively, you should at least skim, and probably
> fonts.doc - information about the fonts distributed with
Ghostscript, including how to add or replace fonts.
> language.doc - A description of the Ghostscript language, and its
differences from the documented PostScript language.
> psfiles.doc - information about the .ps files distributed with
Ghostscript (other than fonts).
Especially for developers
If you are going to be writing a new driver for Ghostscript, you
> drivers.doc - the interface between Ghostscript and device drivers.
> xfonts.doc - the interface between Ghostscript and platform-supplied
fonts. (Read drivers.doc first.)
If you are considering distributing Ghostscript (either Aladdin or GNU
versions) in conjunction with a commercial product, you should read the
PUBLIC license carefully, and you should also read:
> commprod.doc - additional clarification of the circumstances under which
Ghostscript can be distributed with a commercial product.
If you intend to use Ghostscript in the form of a DLL under OS/2 or
Microsoft Windows, you should read:
> dll.doc - documentation on Ghostscript as a DLL.
> devarch.doc - notes on the architecture of device handling in
> ps2epsi.doc - documentation for the PostScript to EPSI conversion
> helpers.doc - a note of thanks to all the people who have helped with
> hershey.doc - information about the Hershey fonts, which are the
basis of some of the Ghostscript fonts.
> history.doc - a history of changes in older Ghostscript releases.
> humor.doc - a humorous comment on Ghostscript contributed by a user.
> lib.doc - information about the Ghostscript library.
> unix-lpr.doc - information about how to integrate Ghostscript with
Unix printer spooling.
******** If you need help ********
There is a Frequently Asked Questions file available for Internet anonymous
or, if this doesn't work, from
where NNN is a version number.
Aladdin Enterprises doesn't have the resources to respond to questions
from users of the freely available versions of Ghostscript. (Responding
to questions and bug reports is one of the benefits that Artifex Software
provides to commercial users in exchange for the licensing fee.) If you
have problems with Ghostscript, and you have access to Usenet news, we
suggest you post your question to one of the following Usenet newsgroups:
- If your question is about GNU Ghostscript (currently, versions
2.6.1 and below), post it to gnu.ghostscript.bug. If you have access to
Internet mail, but not news, send e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org, which is equivalent to posting to the
- If your question is about Aladdin Ghostscript (currently,
versions 3.0 and above), post it to comp.lang.postscript. If you have
access to Internet mail, but not news, send e-mail to
email@example.com, which is equivalent to posting
to the comp.lang.postscript newsgroup. (We hope to establish a separate
newsgroup for Aladdin Ghostscript in the future, since
comp.lang.postscript was not intended for Ghostscript discussion per se.)
There are hundreds of Ghostscript user sites all over the world, and often
another user will be able to help you. If you are having trouble with
a specific device driver, look in the file devs.mak and see if it is a
user-maintained driver. If so, please contact the person listed there
directly; please do not contact Aladdin Enterprises regarding
Aladdin Enterprises does want Ghostscript to be of high quality, so if you
have been running Ghostscript and encounter a problem, we encourage you to
post bugs to the newsgroups mentioned above. We will consider
investigating problems reported to those newsgroups if (and only if) the
posted report meets all the following criteria:
- You are using the most recent version of Aladdin Ghostscript.
- You obtained Ghostscript directly from Aladdin Enterprises, or
from the FTP or AFS site on the Internet mentioned above (i.e., not
from a bulletin board system or a commercial system such as
CompuServe or GEnie).
- You have installed Ghostscript successfully, and used it
successfully on other input data.
- Your problem is reproducible, and you can send us the input
data that evokes it (by e-mail, anonymous FTP, or PC diskette).
(But please do not send anything unless we ask you for it.)
- You post the bug report using the following form, completely
Where you got Ghostscript:
Hardware you are using:
Operating system you are using:
(If you compiled Ghostscript yourself)
C compiler you are using:
(Use as much space as you need for the remaining items.)
Suggested fix (if any):
Bug reports that include suggested fixes are especially welcome.
As time permits, Aladdin Enterprises may also respond to e-mail from the
following classes of users:
- Beta testers who have actually given us at least one report on
some beta version supplied to them.
- People developing drivers that are for, or applications that
are based on, Ghostscript and that will be made freely available.
- People who express serious interest in commercial licensing
Aladdin Enterprises owns or has access to the following hardware and
Pentium and 486 PCs with color SuperVGA displays;
Epson-compatible printer (the printer also is compatible with
the IBM Proprinter); various H-P printers; Canon BubbleJet.
These systems run both MS-DOS 5.0 and 6.22 and Microsoft Windows
3.1 with Borland C++ 3.1 (and several older versions), and Linux
SPARCstation, SunOS 4.1, cc and gcc, X11R5 and SunView;
both monochrome and color displays.
IBM RS/6000, Unix.
DEC AXP (Alpha), Ultrix.
If your problem turns out to be specific to some other hardware or
software configuration, it may take longer to track down, since we
will have to rely on other users to help.
Aladdin's contact information is as follows:
P.O. box 60264
Palo Alto, CA 94306
If you call on the phone, you will usually be talking to an answering
machine. In this case, please leave a message with your name and phone
number and the best time for us to return the call. Please do not call us
if all you want is help with the freely distributed versions of
Ghostscript! Ghostscript is free, but our time is not. If you call for
help, we will tell you politely that we cannot answer your question.
Ghostscript's documentation, while not of commercial end-user quality, has
been adequate for thousands of users (for many of whom English is a
foreign language), so the answer to your question is very likely in it
******** Things you can do to help ********
There are some projects that users could do that are somewhat
decoupled from the main body of the code, and that would help improve
- Someone is needed to take responsibility for texinfo and/or man
page documentation for Ghostscript. What this would involve is updating
this documentation during the beta test period for each release, and
sending it to Aladdin to be included in the final fileset. (Aladdin would
continue to supply the plain-text documentation as it currently exists.)
- Ghostscript needs some good, free, Type 1 (outline) fonts. Karl
Berry is working on this, but it might go faster if he got some
knowledgeable assistance. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help
- Adobe has donated the specification of the Display PostScript C
API to the X distribution, as well as the client-side implementation.
Modifying Ghostscript to interface with this code as a substitute for a
Display PostScript server might make Ghostscript a lot more useful, since
it would then be "plug compatible" with Display PostScript in an important
way. Contact email@example.com if you would like to help with this.
- Ghostscript should provide compression and decompression filters
that use the same algorithms as gzip. This would require restructuring
gzip to use Ghostscript's buffer-to-buffer model of stream processing, and
simplifying it so that the compression and decompression code could
reasonably fit in a single file. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you
would like to do this.
******** Acknowledgements ********
Ghostscript was originally created, and is primarily developed and
maintained, by L. Peter Deutsch, President of Aladdin Enterprises.
Special thanks are due to Russell Lang, for the GSview for Windows and PM
GSview programs and for contributing most of the code for the Microsoft
Windows and OS/2 environments; to Tim Theisen, for the Ghostview program
for X Windows and for major contributions to, and ongoing assistance with
support of, the code for the X Windows environment; and to the Independent
JPEG Group, for creating the JPEG DCT library that Ghostscript uses.
Special thanks are due to Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation
for originating the GNU License, for originally motivating the creation of
Ghostscript, and for being the primary distributor of GNU Ghostscript on
The file helpers.doc contains a list of the many other people who have
contributed significantly to improving Ghostscript.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
PostScript is a trademark of Adobe Systems, Incorporated.
Name Last modified Size Description
COPYING 15-Mar-95 13:57 1K
current.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 5K
devices.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 14K
drivers.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 32K
fonts.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 17K
gs.1 15-Mar-95 13:57 10K
hershey.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 10K
history.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 117K
humor.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 2K
language.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 16K
lib.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 4K
make.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 31K
NEWS 15-Mar-95 13:57 117K
ps2epsi.1 15-Mar-95 13:57 3K
ps2epsi.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 2K
psfiles.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 6K
PUBLIC 15-Mar-95 13:57 8K
README 15-Mar-95 13:57 20K
use.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 41K
xfonts.doc 15-Mar-95 13:57 7K