What's the alternative to Adobe PostScript?
What do you think?
POST A COMMENT
By Laurel Brunner
28 November 2011
Jaws processes native PostScript and PDF data
Once upon a time there were many contenders for the crown that Adobe PostScript eventually won. The battle for page description language dominance is now no more than a footnote in the history of digital pre-press. But there was a time when customers could choose either the expensive and restrictive Adobe option or something from a dozen or so viable alternatives.
Competitors claimed to be able to match the performance of PostScript and offered more flexible and less expensive licensing deals. Gradually Adobe responded to market pressure following the defection of numerous customers to its more responsive competitors. But despite expectations the variety of competitors did not create a vibrant and dynamic market in page description languages. Adobe's dominance was assured because of changes in its competitors' markets, Adobe's control over other parts of the graphic arts supply chain, and because of PDF. Only a few of those early competitors are still visible. Global Graphics and GhostScript are the most relevant for the wide-format market.
Global Graphics started life as Harlequin and introduced its PostScript clone over 20 years ago. The company sells exclusively through OEM agreements, which is why its name is not particularly familiar in the market. But its technology can be found in pretty much all sectors of the printing industry, powering Raster Image Processors (RIPs) that drive everything from platesetters to machines for the sign and display market. There are two versions of the RIP, Harlequin and Jaws, both of which process native PostScript and PDF data. The Harlequin RIP is a more fully featured iteration designed for full support of all pre-press processes, so that they don't have to run on separate tools. This includes colour management, screening, trapping and imposition. The Jaws RIP is a basic interpreter that developers can customise for specific applications.
The other widespread alternative is GhostScript which is a freeware PostScript interpreter. The leading core developer of this technology is Artifex. This PostScript interpreter technology is widely used in wide-format printing applications, and is at the heart of many RIPs, for instance HP, Aurelon and Caldera. Artifex has developed a range of products for PostScript and PDF interpretation, such as GhostPDF, in addition to the core GhostScript product.
The clones from Artifex and Global Graphics are fully-fledged alternatives to Adobe PDF. Both are compatible with PDF 1.6 with full support for device N colours and direct rendering, so there is no need to convert the file to PostScript first. The companies behind these technologies have built their businesses on their responsiveness and commitment to the graphic arts, which is good news all round.
Comments in chronological order (Total 0 comments)
There are no comments yet for this article.