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PostScript 3 driver mulled

Published: 10th Dec 2006, 21:45:23 | Permalink | Printable

Months on the drawing board

Adobe PostScript 3 logoThe development of a PostScript 3 driver is currently being considered by two top RISC OS coders. The software is hoped to bring with it various fixes and updates to the PostScript printing system on RISC OS, including better handling of low depth sprites and support for true colour sprites with masks. It could allow applications and the printing system to produce PostScript documents in proper CMYK colour. PS 3 also supports better colour handling amongst other features.

It's understood Martin Wuerthner and John Tytgat are pulling together ideas and plans to produce the PS 3 driver for RISC OS. The project is said to be in its early stages, although the pair have spent several months discussing the driver after 'deciding to go for it'.

The existing PS level 2 printing system 'flattens' colours in documents to the RGB format, although packages, such as OvationPro, Impression and ArtWorks, can print CMYK bitmaps directly to PostScript.

On David Pilling's support mailing list, Gimp-Print developer Martin said: "As you are probably aware, the whole thing originated on this list a couple of months ago. After some discussions, John Tytgat and I have decided to go for it.

"That was many months ago already, but unfortunately, getting hold of the sources and sorting out the paperwork took rather a lot longer than expected.

"Hopefully, we will officially announce the project soon and ask for donation pledges as for Gimp-Print."


What is PostScript?

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This is good news. I bought my LJ6 when I believed that PS would be the *answer* to RO printing woes. Instead, it often fails to print anything from the PS driver and gets used in PCL mode instead. When it does manage to print from PS, the graphic quality is often better than the RO/PCL driver achieves; hence my enthusiasm for a new driver.

Now my HP (and many PS printers out there) is PS2, not 3. I presume that there is backward compatibility that will make it usable with my printer.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 10/12/06 10:12PM
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Perfect news, indeed! Espeically since the current PS drivers convert colour images in a manner that even professional PS RIPs tend can fail due to the way they are postscripped. The question arising is if that driver can be made to output PS2 as well since quite a few printers around are still PS2.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 11/12/06 5:24AM
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Great, I do a fair bit of graphic design / DTP stuff on RO so this is welcome news.

With Castle's SSI, I wonder if an open-sourcing of ROL's Printers could be on the cards again?

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 11/12/06 9:04AM
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ROL's open sourcing was only of the front end, what we really need is the back end opened up, to cater for requirements of more advanced printer drivers. Plus also to fully support UTF-8 text which is now used in a number of RISC OS 5 applications such as NetSurf.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 11/12/06 10:28AM
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I look forward to putting in my pledge of support for this.

 is a RISC OS UserEddie on 11/12/06 11:38AM
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So do I.

 is a RISC OS Userdelink on 11/12/06 2:05PM
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Re: Unicode does it come with some decent unicode fonts, I gather they are difficult to source. also IIRC no printer driver has support for the desired Unicode fonts, has that situation changed?

 is a RISC OS UserCJE on 11/12/06 2:49PM
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CJE: the issue isn't the fonts we already have those. Unicode support is about being able to access the all the available glyphs rather than being restricted to one character set encoding.

Most printer drivers being raster based, don't need to know anything about Unicode, the PrinterDumper just needs to be changed so it passes through the appropriate flags to allow it to be rendered in to the output bitmap by the Font Manager. The exception is Postscript printers which deal with directly with the text, but as Postscript level 2 and later support Unicode, all that is needed for the back end to pass on the encoding in use, so the correct postscript can be output.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 11/12/06 4:17PM
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PostScript Level 2 does not support Unicode as font encoding just as-is. It is unfortunately not as simple as that.

 is a RISC OS Userjoty on 11/12/06 4:39PM
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Unfortunately, the article fails to mention the main points of the whole project, and these are the atrocious output of the current level 2 driver for sprites with 256 colours or less (as mentioned briefly by hzn) and the inability of the current driver to print true colour sprites with masks.

The CMYK support would just be a byproduct and is not part of the planned core improvements. It would also require specific application support, in contrast to sprite printing, which would be much improved for all applications when using the level 3 driver.

Oh, and the issue started on the David Pilling list, not on the TechWriter list to which the articla incorrectly attributed my quoted comment.

Finally, this is not exactly news. John and I will officially announce the project when its time has come.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 11/12/06 7:40PM
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Ok, I've tweaked the article.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 11/12/06 11:32PM
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