[gs-devel] Changes to the Ghostscript PDF Interpreter

Chris Liddell chris.liddell at artifex.com
Mon May 31 17:29:57 UTC 2021

Hello everyone,

For a while now, we (the Ghostscript development team) have been working
on implementing a new PDF interpreter implemented wholly in C, to
replace the existing one (implemented in Postscript). It is still
implemented to drive the Ghostscript graphics library and be integrated
with Ghostscript (as well available as a stand-alone binary).

There are a number of reasons for this decision, which I won't go into
here, but if you are interested you can read about them here:


Or here:


Needless to say, we're doing our very best to make the change as
seamless as possible for as many users as possible, but we are equally
aware that there are users out there driving the existing interpreter in
ways we probably haven't considered (nor even know about!).

As the link above implies, we did put up a *very* early alpha release
recently, which you can find here:


This isn't for "testing" as such (it is quite feature incomplete, and
buggy!), but more as an indicator of the direction we're going. We're
working through those bugs and missing features, but it would be good to
know if people are using Ghostscript in ways we haven't accounted for -
obviously, the sooner we know about them, the easier it will be to
either support the existing method or recommend a new (generally
better!) solution.

Given the nature of such things, there has been significant progress
even since that early alpha was created, so if you'd rather see
up-to-the-minute capabilities, you can check our development branch:


If you do find or suspect a problem with your usage of Ghostscript,
please do let us know, either on here (gs-devel) or head over to our
Discord or IRC channels (links below), and we'll talk it over.

Obviously, myself or Ken Sharp are happy to answer general questions or
discuss concerns, as well.




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