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The Icon Bar: News and features: PostScript 3 arrives for RISC OS

PostScript 3 arrives for RISC OS

Posted by Chris on 09:57, 14/10/2009 | ,
MW Software has released new PostScript 3 drivers. These had their debut at the recent London RISC OS show, and are now available for download and purchase. Alongside previous advances, such as PDF import/export in ArtWorks and the Gutenprint drivers, this marks a major update to RISC OS machines' printing and imaging capability.
It's interesting to see ongoing development in this important area, and the Iconbar spoke to Martin Wuerthner about this and other topics.

Printing woes

Until recently, printing on RISC OS machines has been extremely difficult. With the collapse of Acorn, drivers for popular, modern printers all but disappeared. Happily, however, this is no longer the case. If you use an emulator running on top of Windows, then technology such as UniPrint allows you to take advantage of the printer drivers on the host machine.
Even if you use a native box, things are much better than they used to be. Martin Wuerthner's post of the Gutenprint drivers has opened up the possibility of using a huge range of up-to-date printers direct from RISC OS. This does need a fairly powerful machine to make best use of, but its importance should not be underestimated. Using Gutenprint, RISC OS can drive many printers (especially Epsons) to their full potential - that's an amazing achievement.
That's all very well if you want to print from your local machine, but what if your using RISC OS to produce images and documents that you want printed elsewhere? Perhaps you want to produce PDFs that will read well on any machine, or prepare copy for a local printer. One obvious way to do this is to use the PostScript drivers. PostScript is a language used to describe documents in vector format (like Draw files). It's used everywhere, from small-scale print shops to massive multinational publishers. If you can produce high-quality PostScript files, you can speak to the world.

The PostScript solution

Sadly, as was the case with the generic printer drivers, Acorn's offering has become very out of date. It struggled with bitmaps, Unicode text and font replacement. If you were trying to use the Acorn drivers to produce professional output, the chances were you'd be disappointed.
Step forward Martin Wuerthner and John Tytgat. They've written new PostScript 3 drivers for RISC OS which fix these problems. The output is now high quality and capable of being sent to other machines without incurring blushes. To see the difference in output, have a look at these pics.

Output from the different PostScript drivers
The one on the right is the new one (in case that's not obvious)

In conjunction with applications such as ArtWorks, EasiWriter, Photodesk or Ovation, RISC OS users can now produce output of a similar quality to users on more mainstream platforms. As with Gutenprint, that's a huge step forward.

Join the revolution

We spoke to Martin about the new products. Both he and John have been really pleased with the response since the drivers' debut at the London RISC OS Show. They're both busy fixing the inevitable niggles that arose from initial use, and are planning to make a new release in the near future. They also have plans to improve other aspects of the printing process on RISC OS, although Martin was keeping his cards close to his chest about future developments.
If you're using RISC OS for any kind of design work where the output needs to be viewed or printed by someone else, then the drivers are definitely something to consider. The package has been released commercially, and is available from the MW Software website for £35 or €40.

  PostScript 3 arrives for RISC OS
  Bucksboy (09:04 15/10/2009)
  monkeyson2 (22:05 15/10/2009)
    Bucksboy (08:47 16/10/2009)
      Chris (17:25 21/10/2009)
        Bucksboy (09:47 23/10/2009)
George Greenfield Message #111634, posted by Bucksboy at 09:04, 15/10/2009
Posts: 91
As RISC OS is still my platform of choice for graphics and DTP work this is excellent news: thanks and congratulations to Martin and John!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Phil Mellor Message #111639, posted by monkeyson2 at 22:05, 15/10/2009, in reply to message #111634
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Is Qercus still produced on RISC OS? (Is it still produced? wink)

Would this have helped them solve the printing problems they had in the past?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
George Greenfield Message #111640, posted by Bucksboy at 08:47, 16/10/2009, in reply to message #111639
Posts: 91
Don't know about Quercus' current status as I don't subscribe. The printing problems were never fully described AFAIK so it was impossible to suggest solutions or work-arounds. My current procedure (hopefully now unnecessary) has been to transfer RISC OS Ovation Pro files to OvPro on a PC for printing to file using the PC's greatly superior* Postscript driver. This works extremely well and avoids me having to use the PC as a primary design/layout tool for which IMHO it is much inferior to RISC OS (no WYSIWYG, limited drag and drop, inferior anti-aliasing, inability to keep menu option windows open during repetitive operations, focus window always in front etc etc).
(*until now, hopefully smile)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Chris Message #111685, posted by Chris at 17:25, 21/10/2009, in reply to message #111640
Posts: 283
How's it going George? Have the new drivers made a difference?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
George Greenfield Message #111692, posted by Bucksboy at 09:47, 23/10/2009, in reply to message #111685
Posts: 91
I only installed a few days ago so it's a bit early to say: it looks promising. I see Martin W has set up a 'riscos-ps' mailing list on Freelists, to which I have subscribed.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]

The Icon Bar: News and features: PostScript 3 arrives for RISC OS