Wednesday, December 5, 2007

True Adobe PostScript

Back in the late eighties, PostScript clones entered the market with a bang. An attempt to avoid Adobe’s then stiff licensing fees, there were many flavors of them, and for a while they all had various oddities, shortcomings, and downright bugs. Over the years, Adobe moved to Level 2 (1991) and finally PostScript 3 (1997). The clone makers hustled to catch up. But the stability of PostScript 3 since 1997 has meant that they’ve had a long time to fix bugs.

Generally speaking now, we don’t see any real difference between real PostScript clones and genuine Adobe PostScript, especially when we are talking about normal office printing. It’s been years since we’ve head of any office users complaining about problems caused by using, say, Brother's, Lexmark's, or Konica Minolta’s clones.

One area where it may make a difference is in high-end printing, and there is comes up in two issues. One is in color calibration, where vendors like EFI, say that the Adobe version it has better built-in tools for color control. This isn’t a particular issue for most office printing, where color need only be good enough. The second area in which some problems come up with users of Adobe’s In Design software, which makes use of some Postscript features that other programs hadn’t, and thus test a feature which may not be implemented in some printers. There are also reported problems with an Adobe product called Multiple Master fonts that sometimes don’t work correctly with some clones.

These are issues likely to be found by high-level designers, usually proofing files to be sent to the printing press. Our view: don’t worry about PostScript for everyday office use; do get true Adobe PostScript for printers used by professional designers.

1 comment:

William James Croft said...

How does a customer buying a printer know whether the interpreter inside is using True Adobe PostScript or a Clone PostScript? Is there a list somewhere of Manufacturers and what PostScript they use? Or alternately a PostScript language command that would dump this information out?