[OS X TeX] (OT) converting old ps to pdf

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Thu Dec 21 09:22:20 EST 2006

Le 21 déc. 06 à 14:48, Victor Ivrii a écrit :

> this is a purely
> academic discussion now; at least I have not seen bad ps files
> produced lately).

That's because back then in 1998, communication was essentially based  
on printouts. And I have often read (not being a specialist myself)  
that using PK fonts produces better printed quality, compared with PS  

- At the time MetaFont is run to produce a PK file (actually a GF  
file, turned by gftopk into a PK file), a number of settings can be  
performed, optimizing the output for a specific printer. The file / 
usr/local/TeXLive/texmf.texlive/metafont/misc/modes.mf contains such  
presets for a number of printers.

- By contrast, PS fonts are turned into bitmaps internally by the  
printer CPU, which may not provide the same level of control and  

William, in case you're listening, is this true?

Now, in the 21st century, communication is more and more based on  
reading electronic documents on a desktop or laptop, and for this PS  
fonts produce optimum quality and maximum flexibility.

I guess, accordingly, that back in 1998 TeX distributions were  
configured by default to use PK fonts whenever available, and that  
now they are configured by default to use PS fonts whenever available.

> However  another issue is relevant: ps2pdf converts these files much
> better than Preview. Are there still better utilities?

Adobe Acrobat Professional?

Better I don't know, but it provides a number of settings you may  
want to play with, when producing a PDF file: whether included JPEG  
files must be compressed, which resolution the output should be  
optimized for, and so forth.

As for myself, I'm perfectly happy most of the time with Preview,  
TeXShop, pstopdf and ps2pdf to produce PDF files from PS files. On  
the very rare occasions I had to use Acrobat, I've found the number  
of settings it provides more overwhelming for a novice than really  


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