postscript Getting started with postscript Installation or Setup


The authentic Adobe PostScript interpreters are available in high-end printers, the Display PostScript (DPS) product, and the Acrobat Distiller product. As authors of the standard, these products are considered "the standard implementation" for the purpose of describing differences among PostScript implementations.

The Standard interface to the interpreter defined in the PLRM is the program-stream which may be either text or binary depending upon the details of the underlying channel or OS/controller. Acrobat Distiller has a GUI front-end to select the input postscript program and render its output as a pdf. Distiller also has some limited support for using the output text stream for reporting errors and other program output. GSView provides a similar GUI front-end for a similar workflow using Ghostscript as the interpreter.

Ghostscript and Xpost both work in a command-line mode. The postscript program file to run can be mentioned on the command-line (gs or xpost which will open a graphics window to display the graphical output. Options may be used to render the graphics somewhere else like a disk file or suppress the graphics entirely and use postscript just as a text scripting language.

The various interpreters each have their own installation and setup instructions and it would be wasteful (and prone to falling out-of-date) to reproduce them here.

Freely-available PostScript interpreters

  • Ghostscript is available for all major platforms and Linux distributions, in source or binary form, under the GNU license or under other license arrangements with the authors, Artifex software. Ghostscript implements the full PostScript 3 standard.

  • Xpost is available in source form for all major platforms, under the BSD-3-clause license. It implements the Level-1 standard with some Level-2 extensions and some DPS extensions.