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Re: current thoughts on PDF back end

From: bln
Subject: Re: current thoughts on PDF back end
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 11:58:42 +0200
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Hi everyone,

On Sun, May 13, 2001 at 10:45:56AM +1100, Jeff Kingston wrote:

> Can I have people's current throughts on the need for maintaining
> a PDF back end.

It seems that I'm in a minority position here. I chose Lout over
TeX because of its small footprint and its capability to generate
PDF, which can be viewed with lightweight tools.

I make heavy use of the PDF back end to preview my documents.
Only when the document is finished do I render it into PS to be


To view PDF documents, I need only one tool: xpdf. xpdf is a
relatively small binary which doesn't require support files.
Although X fonts don't look particularly nice, it is a very good
tool for previewing and reading PDF documents.

Look at GNU Ghostscript on the other hand. The executable is
large ( > 1M, stripped, with only a few selected drivers compiled
in) and it also needs a large support tree. (Note that ps2pdf is
nothing more than a wrapper script around GS.)

Why can't we just convert Lout's PDF output to PS with pdf2ps?
Yes, that tool exists too. In fact, you can choose to use pdf2ps:
the GS wrapper, or pdf2ps: the standalone tool. The latter is
included with (I believe) xpdf and is a small binary without need
for support files.

I say we fix the PDF back end and drop PS support completely. PS
is old-fashioned, dangerous and bloated. To turn PS into PDF, a
full-fledged PS interpreter is required. Making PS out of PDF
requires only a (relatively) simple tool.

Need graphics? Use ps2pdf to turn your EPS files into EPDF files
(if such a thing exists) and make Lout support those.

Want to print your document? Use pdf2ps to convert it. Use
Ghostscript's built-in PDF support. Use a printer which supports
PDF natively. There are plenty of options.

"So", might some of you think, "what do I care about a small
footprint? If I need more space, I'll buy a cheap new 30+ GB

Well, some of us simply don't have the resources to buy a new
drive. Also, laptops and laptop drives really don't come that
cheap yet. Then there are those silly people who believe that
"Smaller Is Better(TM)".


In conclusion, dropping the PDF back end will greatly reduce
Lout's advantage over other document formatting systems when it
comes to size and speed.

- --
Regards,                                                        /\
=Martin=                                                        \/
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From: address@hidden
To: address@hidden
Subject: Re: current thoughts on PDF back end
In-Reply-To: <address@hidden>; from address@hidden on Sun, May 13, 2001 at 
10:45:56AM +1100
X-S-Issue: address@hidden 2001/05/14 11:52:58 cc53dd11472690c799db2525bb1274fd
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Comment: For info see http://www.gnupg.org


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