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PS vs. PDF

From: franck
Subject: PS vs. PDF
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 14:30:25 +0100

I'm puzzled by this PDF vs. PS discussion where people seem to 
assume they are completely different things. It's a bit like 
keyword-based recruiters believing that "Linux" and "Unix" 
skills are as different as cooking and accounting.

Is it not the case that basically:

  PDF = PS - side effects + fonts

PS is inherently a poor distribution format, given that it's 
an incomplete description of a document without fonts. Of course, 
by using the default 12 fonts every 'printer' must have it's 
usable but that's mainly due to the fact document authors don't 
venture beyond those 3 font families (in the same way it took 
decades for an advanced fringe of TeX users to find out how to 
escape from Computer Modern). There seem to be cumbersome ways 
of bundling fonts into PS but that does not seem particularly 
straightforward, indeed isn't the cleanest way to bundle fonts 
with postscript, PDF?

Is there anything in the PDF subset of postscript that 
prevents doing the Lout diagrams or is it just harder to do 
in that subset?

As for the optional 'gzip' feature of PDF being built into the 
format, this is a benefit for distribution of having one compression 
format which can be largely available. If people were expected to have 
choice in compression, then readers would be expected to install 
19384 decompressors. Advances in compression tech are rare enough 
so that making a choice seems a good compromise. You can 
still turn a PDF file into an uncompressed PDF file and edit 
the postscript code to fix it if you like to do that.

Franck Arnaud ~ email: address@hidden

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