[gs-devel] Changes to the Ghostscript PDF Interpreter

Chris Liddell chris.liddell at artifex.com
Wed Jun 2 07:00:58 UTC 2021

Hi Bruno,

This is not MuPDF, and is not related to MuPDF. MuPDF is a PDF
interpreter built on its own dedicated "fitz" graphics library "back end".

The new PDF interpreter that we are working on is built on the same
Ghostscript graphics library "back end" that Ghostscript itself,
GhostPCL and GhostXPS are built upon.

In addition, you cannot use MuPDF from Ghostscript, where the new
Ghostscript PDF interpreter will, obviously, be integrated into
Ghostscript, replacing the existing Postscript-based PDF interpreter.

I hope that clarifies it.


On 01/06/2021 23:16, Bruno Voisin wrote:
> Hi Chris,
> Following the announcement of this implementation on the Ghostscript blog, and given the importance of Ghostscript in the TeX world (more about this below for readers not familiar with TeX), I posted a secondary announcement a week ago on the mailing list of the main TeX distribution at
> https://tug.org/pipermail/tex-live/2021-May/047008.html
> The only answer I got so far is very short and to-the-point:
>> Artifex already distribute mupdf, a very fast PDF viewer
>> written in C. How will this be different?
> I couldn't really answer that, as I simply don't know. Is some convergence planned between GhostPDF and MuPDF?
> Bruno Voisin
> PS Regarding TeX and Ghostscript: TeX is a typesetting system with an inclination towards mathematical typesetting. Classical TeX works by outputting a device-independent (DVI) format converted to PostScript by a dvips utility, and the PostScript output is then converted to PDF using Ghostscript's ps2pdf. Over the years packages have been developed, like the very popular pstricks, that insert PostScript drawing code for transparency etc (based on Ghostscript's associated operators) directly in the process, before ps2pdf is applied.
> TeX is 8-bit based. There's an evolution called XeTeX which is Unicode-based. It produces output in extended DVI (XDV) format then applies a utility called xdvipdfmx to generate PDF output directly. Internally xdvipdmfx is able to call Ghostscript whenever needed, through a script
> rungs -q -dALLOWPSTRANSPARENCY -dSAFER -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dEPSCrop -sPAPERSIZE=a0 -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=%v -dAutoFilterGrayImages=false -dGrayImageFilter=/FlateEncode -dAutoFilterColorImages=false -dColorImageFilter=/FlateEncode -dAutoRotatePages=/None -sOutputFile='%o' '%i' -c quit
> There are now variants (the 8-bit pdfTeX and the Unicode LuaTeX) producing PDF output directly out of TeX code, but the use of the classical way involving Ghostscript remains widespread. Ghostscript builds are included in most TeX distributions, I think.

More information about the gs-devel mailing list