How to Prepare a Ghostscript Release
Table of contents
- Release numbering
- Making distributions
- After releasing
- GPL Ghostscript releases
For other information, see the Ghostscript overview and the instructions on how to build Ghostscript.
This document describes the process for making new Ghostscript releases. Please note that while the the license allows anyone to prepare and distribute releases in accordance with its terms and conditions, this document is really meant only to document the process used by Artifex Software, Inc. However, the eventual purpose of this document is to describe Ghostscript release procedures in enough detail that someone who knows little about Ghostscript but is generally familiar with the platform on which the procedure is being carried out can execute the procedures correctly. So if you add or changing anything to/in this document, be sure to specify all command lines, file names, etc. in explicit detail.
If you do plan to make your own distribution, please be aware of some items you will want to change.
- If you make any significant changes, please edit
GS_PRODUCTfrom "GPL Ghostscript" to something else, in order to avoid confusion with Artifex releases.
- In the same file, you may also want to edit
GS_COPYRIGHTto add your own copyright notice (although you must not remove any notice that is there).
- You will almost certainly want to edit
version.makto change the revision date,
- If you want to change the release number, you must change it in all the places listed under "Release numbering" below.
The GPL Ghostscript files are maintained on sites accessible to the public. One specific site hosts the active SVN repository for code, data, and documentation, and the bug report data base; several sites offer distributions with release numbers, intended for wider distribution.
Development sources and bug reports
The primary repository for GPL Ghostscript is ghostscript.com. Please check there first for any news about releases or current work, and for information about where to download ghostscript and how to access the mailing lists. Development source access is through svn.ghostscript.com.
It may also be helpful to read the SourceForge Ghostscript home page (http://sourceforge.net/projects/ghostscript/).
Stable, beta, and development releases are all available from
Ghostscript uses a two-part (major.minor) release number. The second part of the release number is a 2-digit decimal fraction: it counts 00, 01, 02, and so on through 99.
- Release numbers N.0x and N.5x indicate stable versions.
- Successive increments generally indicate bug fixes and minor enhancements.
- Development, testing and beta releases generally begin with a minor release number that is a multiple of ten and increment from there.
Release numbers appear in the following places in the Ghostscript files:
Resource/Init/gs_init.ps, as an integer (release number x100) at the beginning of the file just after the initial comment blocks.
base/version.mak, split into 3 lines.
doc/News.htm, in the two headers and their labels and at the very end in the copyright footer.
- At the foot of most documenation files. However, these are updated mechanically from the value
News.htmas part of the release process and do not need to be maintained directly.
Before a release
The current release number in the development code must be set to the desired value. The increment from just after the previous release (see below) is sufficient for minor updates. In the case of major changes or a new stable release, the number will need to be bumped; this is generally done as the first step of preparing a new release.
After a release
After making a release the release number in the repository is incremented. Thus versions built from svn are always marked with a future (or unused) release number to avoid confusion.
Additionally, After an N.00 or N.50 stable release, a branch is made in svn so that development can continue independently of changes to the stable series. When this happens, the minor release number is incremented by 10 (or 20) on the development branch (and by 1 on the new stable branch, as above) to avoid collisions.
While incrementing the release number after making a release may seem counter-intuitive, it ensures that, at any given time, the version number alone is sufficient to distinguish between the current SVN state and a numbered release.
This document only discusses source distributions. Source distributions currently can only be made on Linux systems (but it probably wouldn't take much work to support other Unix systems). Ghostscript as distributed also often includes executables or other packages for the Windows and MacOS environments, but upstream does not always produce these, and this document does not discuss them.
To make a source distribution, you will need the scripts and data files in
toolbin/ directory. The instructions below generally
assume that you're invoking the relative to the top level of the source
To run the scripts, you will need reasonably current versions of Tcl,
freely available from Scriptics
Python, freely available from http://www.python.org.
The instructions below also refer to some files that are deliberately omitted from the public distribution, because they are not freely redistributable. You will need to provide similar files for your environment.
data/*/*.ps(PostScript files) - needed for smoke testing
Preparing the source code
If necessary, update the release number by incrementing it as described in Release numbering above.
Update references to the date for release:
version.mak, the numeric date.
doc/News.htm, in two places, skipping the Id: line. That is, in parentheses after the VERSION X.YY heading, and in the copyright footer both the year and the release date.
psi/winint.mak, update the year in the embedded copyright notice.
We recommend using a UTC release date to avoid timezone skew.
doc/News.htm, update the number of the highest
closed bug and the list of open bugs.
gscdef.c that the definition of
GS_PRODUCT includes the appropriate one of "DEVELOPMENT
RELEASE", "BETA RELEASE", or neither, and does not include "SVN PRE-RELEASE".
Run the source-consistency checks from the test suite:
Where the argument of --gsroot is the path to the top level of the source tree. Fix any problems it indicates, and commit them to svn.toolbin/tests/check_all.py --gsroot=.
Check for patched configuration parameters,
version/date inconsistencies, and mismatches between the working directory
and the SVN repository by running:
This program compares the result of various greps against a check file,
writing the results of grep on one output file and the differences from the
check file on another. See the source code for the default file names. The
important one is the check file,
pre.tcl also verifies
right information is in the following places:
- release number in
- revision date in
- copyright year (if necessary) in
- third-party library version number in
If necessary, run
to update the version and revision date in the doc files, and then run
again. To confirm that everything is updated. You may have to commit to svn after the update to satify the script that all the dates are correct.
Check the consistency of the source code with the makefiles by running:
This script assumes the top level makefile is named 'makefile'.toolbin/gsmake.tcl check
Fix any problems and commit to svn.
Edit your top-level the Makefile to set
This will help catch compilation problems.
rm obj/* make -j2 >& make.log
and look for warnings and errors in the log file.
Do a smoke test, updating the example paths as necessary:
unset GS_DEVICE GS_FONTPATH GS_LIB GS_OPTIONS ./bin/gs -I./lib -I./fonts -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH toolbin/smoke.ps ./bin/gs -I./lib -I./fonts -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=bitcmyk\ -sOutputFile=/dev/null -r600 -dBufferSpace=200000 toolbin/smoke.ps
This reads files named
toolbin/smoke.ps to use other test sets.)
Watch for crashes, unusual error messages, or anomalous displayed output.
If there are any problems, start over from the beginning of the process.
to ensure the repository is up to date.
Updating the changelog
Create a new changelog by running
where rev is the revision number of the branch point for the previous release.svn log -rHEAD:rev --xml --verbose > doc/changelog.xml
This consolidates all the commit logs since the previous release in a readable format. You may also wish to remap user names in the <author/> tags of the output to the real names of the developers.
Create the html-format changes and details documents as follows:
cd doc ../toolbin/split_changelog.py changelog.xml Changes.htm Details.htm cd ..
The xml changelog file can now be deleted.
Copy the contents of News.htm and Changes.htm into a new section in History8.htm, and News.htm and Details.htm into Details8.htm. Then update the hyperlinks in History8.htm to point to Details8.htm instead of Details.htm so these remain valid after the next release.
As of Ghostscript 9.02, to reduce the pointless duplication of information, Changes.htm and Details#.htm have been deprecated. Copy the contents of Changes.htm into a new section in History9.htm, and ensure the links in News.htm are updated to reference the new section in History9.htm.
again to check in the Changes and history files.
Making the source distribution
First, tag the versions of the files in svn with the release version number.
If you've already tagged this release (e.g. in making an earlier release candidate) you'll need to svn rm the old tree first. We recommend just appending 'rcn' to the end of release candidate tag names, or a '.n' tiny release number to post-release fixes.svn cp svn+ssh://svn.ghostscript.com/svn/ghostscript/trunk/gs \ svn+ssh://svn.ghostscript.com/svn/ghostscript/tags/ghostscript-#.##
Pull a fresh copy for distribution from the repository:
svn export http://svn.ghostscript.com/ghostscript/tags/ghostscript-#.##
Generate the text versions of the README document:
cd ghostscript-#.## lynx -dump -nolist doc/Readme.htm > doc/README
Add copies of needed third-party libraries for the release. Versions of the normally required ones are included in the repository so this is only needed when doing special feature releases.
For the unix source distributions only, generate the configure scripts. From the top level directory, run
This should create links to configure.ac and Makefile.in in the top level directory and invoke autoconf to create the configure script../autogen.sh make distclean
Also run make distclean in the jasper subdir to clean up any incidental config there. If you get a warning, for example if the build files think they need updating and not all the tools are available, be sure to run autoreconf && make distclean to avoid version skew issues. You may also need to manually remove the autom4te.cache directory.
Move back to directory containing the distribution code and make the source archives with:
tar cvzf ghostscript-#.##.tar.gz ghostscript-#.##/* zcat ghostscript-#.##.tar.gz | bzip2 -c > ghostscript-#.##.tar.bz2
This creates the files
The important issue is that the tarballs unpack into a directory of the same name, and that the code be a pristine copy without build or .svn housekeeping files.
It is also customary to make a gs###src.zip archive for the convenience of windows developers. See below.
Testing on Windows
For Windows testing, you will need, in addition to the files listed under "Preparing the source" above:
The following procedures rely on a large number of MS-DOS batch scripts that are not discussed here: they are unlikely to be generally useful.
Mount the Windows partition on
/c, and create the
/c/work directory if needed.
Make the zip archive of all files needed for a Windows build, and copy it to the Windows partition:
toolbin/makewin cp gs###.zip /c/work
Boot into Windows. Unpack the archive:
cd \work unzip -oq gs###.zip gs###
gs###.bat script creates some necessary directories,
GS_LIB for testing, and
gs#.## directory current.
Build with the Borland compiler:
config bcwin32 copy /y /b ..\gs\makefile erase obj\*.* make > bc.log
Smoke test the executables (both
gswin32c), as described above for source distributions.
Then build with the Microsoft compiler:
config msvc32 copy /y /b ..\gs\makefile erase obj\*.* nmake > msvc.log
Smoke test these executables too.
Building with the Watcom compiler doesn't work, because the
wmakel program runs out of memory.
However, if it did work, this is how to do it:
config watcw32 copy /y /b ..\gs\makefile erase obj\*.* wmake -u > watc.log
Boot back into Linux. If testing in Windows revealed problems, edit the source files as necessary, and go back to "Preparing the source code."
Building the Windows distribution
Extract the sources from
then repackage in a zip file as follows:
Unzip converting the line endings to CRLF:
zip -r temp.zip gsN.NN/LICENSE gsN.NN/doc gsN.NN/examples gsN.NN/icclib gsN.NN/ijs gsN.NN/jasper gsN.NN/jbig2dec gsN.NN/jpeg gsN.NN/lib gsN.NN/libpng gsN.NN/base gsN.NN/psi gsN.NN/Resource gsN.NN/zlib
Then finally zip up the sources to the distribution file:
unzip -a temp.zip
This method is reasonably portable, and does not convert binary files such as
zip -9 -r -X gsNNNsrc.zip gsN.NN
The directory must be named
Extract the fonts
into a directory
fonts adjacent to the
The fonts are needed in this location for building
the distribution archive later.
You will need the command line Info-Zip zip program available from
Alternatively, the command line version of WinZip
wzzip.exe) can be used by replacing the
Info-Zip command line options
-ex -P in
You will need WinZip Self-Extractor for building the
self extracting archive. This is commercial software.
You may need to update the path
Unzip the jpeg, libpng and zlib libraries, then make ghostscript as documented in Make.htm.
Run the command
nmake archive. This builds the distribution
gsNNNw32.exe and an ordinary zip file
gsNNNw32.zip in the parent directory.
If you do not have WinZip Self-Extractor, you can use
nmake zip to make
Starting with Ghostscript 9.x (Summer 2010),
nmake nsis (msvc)
make nsis (Borland) builds an nsis-based installer
gsNNNw32.exe. This requires
Nullsoft Scriptable Install System.
You may need to update the path
ghostscript-#.##.tar.* to SourceForge (by anonymous
/incoming), and then post it using the "File Release"
facility in the Ghostscript project. Put the release in the appropriate
package, usually "GPL Ghostscript".
If you are adding executable builds or source archives for other
platforms to an existing source release, please use the same release
date as the source release, not the current date.
Do the steps for distributions in general.
Do the steps for distributions in general.
- MS Windows source and executables:
- Third-party libraries, as links (upload these if not installed), where
$$$et al. refer to the version number of the library, which should be the latest compatible release of the library and should be consistent with the values of and version numbers specifically listed in the makefiles.
In any case, the names of the links in the distribution directory should reflect the original name of the upstream file.
- Fonts, where
$.$$refers to the most recent version number of the fonts:
(Note that the link names are somewhat inconsistent: some of them retain the version number of the file being referenced, and some of them use the Ghostscript release number. This is a historical artifact that might be changed someday.)
E-mail the release announcement using:
Also update the documentation snapshots on the website.
Update the release number by incrementing it as described in Release numbering above.
gscdef.c, edit the definition of
GS_PRODUCT to include "SVN PRE-RELEASE".
doc/News.htm to remove all the content.
Artifex Software, Inc. distributes a package of the base 35 PostScript fonts, and a package of other miscellaneous fonts.
These are included in the Ghostscript release archive.
Copyright © 2000-2021 Artifex Software, Inc. All rights reserved.
This software is provided AS-IS with no warranty, either express or implied. This software is distributed under license and may not be copied, modified or distributed except as expressly authorized under the terms of that license. Refer to licensing information at https://www.artifex.com or contact Artifex Software, Inc., 1305 Grant Avenue - Suite 200, Novato, CA 94945, U.S.A., +1(415)492-9861, for further information.
Ghostscript version 9.55.0, 27 September 2021