Information specifically about Ghostscript 6.0

Table of contents

For other information, see the Ghostscript overview.

New features (since release 5.50)

(This is not a complete list of new features: see the news for details.)

Ghostscript now handles essentially all of PostScript LanguageLevel 3 and PDF 1.3 (Acrobat 4.x compatibility). See Language.htm for details.

The PDF writer now implements most of the Acrobat (TM) Distiller parameters for compressing and downsampling images.

The PDF writer now recognizes nearly all varieties of pdfmark, other than the Distiller 3.0 "named object" pdfmarks and the Distiller 4.0 "document structure" pdfmarks.

The PDF writer now handles text in all fonts, not just the 14 built-in ones, and implements the Distiller parameters affecting font embedding and subsetting. (It still usually converts double-byte fonts to bitmaps.)

16- and 24-bit X Windows displays are now fully supported.

You now need only the header files and shared libraries, not the source code, if you want to use precompiled versions of the jpeg, libpng, or zlib libraries.

The syntax %iodevice%filename is now supported with the -sOutputFile= switch, allowing you to send raster output to a piped command.

You can now use MMK or MMS to build Ghostscript on OpenVMS systems.

For driver writers, there are improved facilities for planar output, rasterizing directly into a driver-provided buffer, detecting bands that are all white or that only use a subset of the colorants, and providing CRDs from the driver.

The driver API now includes facilities for passing high-level text operations, completing the set of high-level operations (bitmap images and vector graphics were implemented in 5.50). See the documentation for details.

Ghostscript as a dynamically linked library is now supported on the Mac as well as on Windows.

GNU readline was supported in most of the beta distributions for 6.0, but was removed at the last minute because of objections from the Free Software Foundation. Please see here for more information.

Changes (since release 5.50)

Directories and build procedure

The files in the release now have a more complex directory structure. In the table below, top refers to the top-level directory, gsn.nn.

The top/ is where you create a link to the appropriate makefile in top/src/. On all systems other than MS Windows, the build procedure does not write into this directory.

The files included in the Ghostscript release now are found in five subdirectories.

The build procedure creates two additional subdirectories, top/obj/ (or debugobj or pgobj) and top/bin/. See the documentation on how to build Ghostscript for more information.

Other changes

If you are a developer working with the Ghostscript code in any way other than writing or modifying drivers, please read all of the "Incompatible changes" sections of the release news for important information.

Known problems

See the release news for details.


On a DOS system, interrupting the interpreter by typing control-C doesn't restore the display mode.


serialnumber returns the same value in all copies.

Some floating point exceptions terminate the interpreter, rather than producing a limitcheck error.

The DCTEncode filter disregards the Blend parameter, and uses different QuantTables and HuffTables from Adobe's.

The DCT filters do not support nonintegral sample ratios. Also, DCTEncode will not create files with Sum(HS×VS)>10 (regardless of the value of the Relax parameter) because they violate the JPEG standard; but DCTDecode will read such files.

The size of the execution stack cannot be changed dynamically. (However, the sizes of the operand and dictionary stacks can be changed.)

Separation and DeviceN color spaces are implemented, but devices that actually produce color separations are not supported: these color spaces always use the alternate space. The special color separations All and None, and the primary separations (Red, Green, etc.), are not supported.

execform and ucache are implemented, but they do not actually do any caching; setucacheparams and ucachestatus are dummies. (This only impacts performance, not functionality.)

The image operator honors the Interpolate flag in the image dictionary only for ImageType 1 and 3 images, only if the combined transformation (ImageMatrix + CTM) doesn't involve rotation, skewing, or X-reflection, and only for certain scalings and color spaces; imagemask doesn't honor Interpolate at all.

Some path-building operations that would generate a device coordinate larger than +/-2^19 will cause a limitcheck. However, the common ones ([r]moveto, [r]lineto, [r]curveto, closepath) will not.

Graphics bugs

There are no known graphics bugs in this release.

Non-graphics bugs

The definefont operator (Subrs (type 1 fonts)) expects arrays but won't accept packed arrays.

Syntax errors occurring within a binary token do not produce the error message specified by the Adobe documentation.

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Aladdin Enterprises. 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 the license contained in the file LICENSE in this distribution.

Ghostscript version 7.07, 17 May 2003