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

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Thu Dec 21 09:40:09 EST 2006

On Dec 21, 2006, at 9:22 AM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> 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 fonts:
> - 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  
> quality.
> William, in case you're listening, is this true?

Yes. In particular, PK fonts allowed one to optimize for whether a  
laserprinter was ``write black'' or ``write white'' (toner adhered  
where the laser imaged, or was repelled).

There is a feature w/in PostScript to help with this as well, but it  
wasn't much used even when it was useful --- realistically, it's not  
very useful these days --- on a 600dpi or higher device, the degree  
of change at such resolutions is less than the effect of using a  
different paper w/ a different surface / sizing.


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

Frank Siegert's Pstill, available from www.pstill.com has some direct  
support for using pkfix, so is nice for this sort of thing --- not  
sure if Frank improved it beyond that or no.


(who licensed the NeXTstep version when it first came out, but still  
needs to arrange to send Frank a bottle of whiskey for his work on  

William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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