[Scribus] Postscript files

Craig Ringer craig
Wed Apr 11 01:26:51 CEST 2007

Craig Bradney wrote:

>> hovergo wrote:
>>> This may be off topic.
>>> My computer parts supplier is adamant that  new laser printers are non
>>> postscript, rather they use a new file format developed by Microsoft.

> perhaps GDI is exactly what he meant. its not uncommon

That's highly likely in low end to low-mid range laser printers.

To elaborate on Craig Bradney's response, AFAIK a "GDI printer" 
("winprinter") is a printer that uses a manufacturer-and-model-specific 
low level language for printer control. It relies on the Windows driver 
to perform essentially all printer functions using the low level control 
protocol. Printer output is produced by sending commands to the printer 
to reproduce the drawing commands sent to the driver by applications 
using the GDI / GDI+ APIs that're the standard Windows drawing interface.

Essentially all the rendering and control intelligence is in the driver, 
as opposed to PostScript and to a lesser extent PCL printers, which have 
much more capable RIPs built-in and can process jobs directly.

These printers are now very common in low-end laser printing and are the 
norm in anything but the highest end large format pro inkjets.

You can still get a PostScript printer, and I don't expect that to 
change for a long time yet. New PostScript printers usually understand 
PDF natively too, and they all tend to understand PCL. In my experience 
you'll only see PostScript support in network laser printers, and 
sometimes not even in low end network lasers. Actual good PostScript 
support (a genuine Adobe PostScript 3 RIP, a decent amount of RAM and a 
a reasonably fast processor) is usually higher end again.

Luckily, you don't need to worry. GhostScript is very happy with Scribus 
PostScript and PDF output, so you can send jobs through CUPS printing to 
basically anything gs can talk to. It can control a lot of printer 
types. Additionally, you can use Adobe Reader to print Scribus PDF 
output to anything your machine's printer drivers support. Finally, on 
win32, Jean Ghali has implemented GDI printing support for Scribus, so 
it can talk directly to a GDI printer driver.

Since Scribus's PostScript output is significantly inferior to its PDF 
and GDI+ drawing (in particular, it doesn't handle transparency well at 
all), you're better off avoiding it anyway. Given this, a PostScript 
printer suddenly seems less critical ... and while one that prints PDF 
natively is awfully nice, it's not actually all that important.

Craig Ringer

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