[newbie] Printing

Richard A. O'Keefe ok at atlas.otago.ac.nz
Thu Sep 14 01:28:12 UTC 2000

I wrote:
	>Is it any wonder that I'd rather have Postscript than PDF?
"Billy" wrote:
	PDF is too complicated, and PS is even worse -- the only reason PS is more
	generally useful is that it's much older.
Yes and no.  Except for Postscript generated by Microsoft programs,
Postscript is significantly more *reliable*.  Just yesterday I tried
to print the file "pierce.pdf" (Alice in a Squeak Wonderland).  I can
view it on-screen fine, but when I print it, Acrobat Reader downloads
a ton of fonts and then says
	The document could not be printed.
	Postscript error (-8133)
without printing anything.  (This is on a MacOS 8.6 system.)

If Adobe themselves cannot generate correct Postscript from PDF,
there is something worse than mere newness about it.

	I'd rather have a documentation format which was designed for online
	documents.  It should allow the author to specify things like margins,
	gutters, columns, tables, footnotes, page numbers, and so on; but it
	shouldn't require the author to know the page size, since it's a safe bet
	that most people reading it will have different page sizes (for example,
	when reading onscreen my "page size" is as big as my window).
DSSSL or XSL Flow Objects?

	TeX is close, but takes far too long to render to be useful, and
	of course there are no readers which really support it for
	simple reading, except maybe IBM's TeX browser plugin.

By the time Microsoft Word has stopped twitching and condescended to
show some text on the screen, OzTeX has finished.  That's not to say
that TeX couldn't be faster.
There is a basic problem I see with TeX and PDF.
TeX allows you to read and write files, and to pass \specials
through to the driver.  That makes it a security risk.
That also applies to Troff, which is pretty fast.
PDF (at least according to the fragments of the PDF 1.3 spec I have
been able to coax Acorbat Reader into printing) allows a PDF document
to contain Javascript code, even more notorious for security holes.

Does anyone know anything about SPDL (Standard Page Description Language)?

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