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Original author(s)L. Peter Deutsch
Developer(s)Artifex Software[1]
Initial releaseAugust 11, 1988; 32 years ago (1988-08-11)[2]
Stable release
9.54[3][4] / March 30, 2021; 15 days ago (2021-03-30)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC
Operating systemCross-platform
TypePostScript and PDF interpreter
LicenseDual-licensed (GNU Affero General Public License + commercial permissive exception)

Ghostscript is a suite of software based on an interpreter for Adobe Systems' PostScript and Portable Document Format (PDF) page description languages. Its main purposes are the rasterization or rendering of such page description language[5] files, for the display or printing of document pages, and the conversion between PostScript and PDF files.[6]


Ghostscript can be used as a raster image processor (RIP) for raster computer printers—for instance, as an input filter of line printer daemon—or as the RIP engine behind PostScript and PDF viewers. It can also be used as a file format converter, such as PostScript to PDF converter. The ps2pdf conversion program comes with the ghostscript distribution.[7]

Ghostscript can also serve as the back-end for PDF to raster image (png, tiff, jpeg, etc.) converter; this is often combined with a PostScript printer driver in "virtual printer" PDF creators.[8][citation needed] As it takes the form of a language interpreter, Ghostscript can also be used as a general purpose programming environment.

Ghostscript has been ported to many operating systems, including Unix-like systems, classic Mac OS, OpenVMS, Microsoft Windows, Plan 9, MS-DOS, FreeDOS, OS/2, ArcaOS, Atari TOS, RISC OS and AmigaOS.


Ghostscript was originally written by L. Peter Deutsch for the GNU Project, and released under the GNU General Public License in 1986.[9] Later, Deutsch formed Aladdin Enterprises to dual-license Ghostscript also under a proprietary license with an own development fork: "Aladdin Ghostscript" under the Aladdin Free Public License[10] (which, despite the name, is not a free software license, as it forbids commercial distribution) and "GNU Ghostscript" distributed with the GNU General Public License.[11] With version 8.54 in 2006, both development branches were merged again, and dual-licensed releases were still provided.[12][13]

Ghostscript is currently owned by Artifex Software and maintained by Artifex Software employees and the worldwide user community. According to Artifex, as of version 9.03, the commercial version of Ghostscript can no longer be freely distributed for commercial purposes without purchasing a license, though the (A)GPL variant allows commercial distribution provided all code using it is released under the (A)GPL.[14][15][16][17]

In February 2013, with version 9.07, Ghostscript changed its license from GPLv3 to GNU AGPL.[18][19] which raised license compatibility questions,[clarification needed] for example by Debian.[20]

Front ends[edit]

Ghostscript graphical user interfaces (GUIs) view PostScript or PDF files on screens, scroll, page forward, page backward, zoom text, and print pages. Such GUIs include Evince, IrfanView, Inkscape and PDF24 Creator. Virtual printers can also create PDF files.

Free fonts[edit]

There are several sets of free fonts supplied for Ghostscript, intended to be metrically compatible with common fonts attached with the PostScript standard.[21][22][23][24] These include:

The Ghostscript fonts were developed in the PostScript Type 1 format but have been converted into the TrueType format,[25][24] usable by most current software, and are often used within the open-source community. The Garamond font has additionally been improved upon.[31] URW's core 35 fonts have been subsequently incorporated into GNU FreeFont and TeX Gyre.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Documentation". July 10, 2002. Archived from the original on February 28, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  2. ^ "History of Ghostscript versions 1.n". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  3. ^ "GPL Ghostscript 9". Ghostscript. Artifex Software, Inc. 2016-11-20. Archived from the original on 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  4. ^ "Overview of Ghostscript".
  5. ^ "Ghostscript and the PostScript language". Archived from the original on 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2017-05-23.
  6. ^ Ingo, Henrik (1 August 2006). Open Life: The Philosophy of Open Source. ISBN 9781847286116 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "ps2pdf: PostScript-to-PDF converter". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  8. ^ "Creating a Free PDF Writer Using Ghostscript". Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  9. ^ "Recent changes in Ghostscript". 2002-11-21. Archived from the original on 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  10. ^ "Aladdin Free Public License". Archived from the original on 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2021-03-19. (mirror)
  11. ^ "Background information for new users of Ghostscript".
  12. ^ "Advogato: Blog for raph". 29 June 2017. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ raph (2006-06-07). "Ghostscript leading edge is now GPL!". Archived from the original on 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2021-03-19."I have some great news to report. The leading edge of Ghostscript development is now under GPL license, as is the latest release, Ghostscript 8.54."
  14. ^ "Artifex Software Inc". Artifex Software Inc. Archived from the original on 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  15. ^ Robitaille, Jason (2009-12-04). "Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Palm". webOS Nataion. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  16. ^ "Complaint for Copyright Infringement" (PDF). 2009-12-02. p.4 ¶15, p.6 ¶27. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  17. ^ "Notice of Voluntary Dismissal With Prejudice" (PDF). 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  18. ^ Liddell, Chris (2006-02-19). "[gs-devel] Ghostscript 9.07 and GhostPDL 9.07". Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  19. ^ "Licensing Information". Artifex Software Inc. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  20. ^ Jose Luis Rivas (2014-05-06). "Re: Ghostscript licensing changed to AGPL". Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  21. ^ "Debian package - gsfonts". Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  22. ^ "Fonts and font facilities supplied with Ghostscript". Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  23. ^ "Linux fonts (mostly X11)". 2009-08-15. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  24. ^ a b c "doc/pcl/urwfonts (URW fonts in TTF format)". ghostscript doc. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  25. ^ a b ArtifexSoftware. "urw-base35-fonts". GitHub. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  26. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts., archived from the original on 2002-10-23, retrieved 2010-05-06
  27. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts. (TXT), retrieved 2010-05-06
  28. ^ "Fonts and TeX". 2009-12-19. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  29. ^ Five years after: Report on international TEX font projects (PDF), 2007, retrieved 2010-05-06
  30. ^ "GhostPDL License". ghostscript doc. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  31. ^ Bisson, Gaetan. "URW Garamond ttf conversions". Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  32. ^ "The New Font Project : TEX Gyre" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-06-12.

External links[edit]