History of Ghostscript versions 1.n

Table of contents

This document is a history of Ghostscript releases numbered 1.n. For more recent changes, see the the other history documents and, for the latest versions, the news:

History of Ghostscript versions 4.n
History of Ghostscript versions 3.n
History of Ghostscript versions 2.n
History of Ghostscript versions 1.n (this document)

For other information, see the Ghostscript overview.

Version 1.3 (6/20/89)

This release should have had a lot more things in it, but time pressure
and the already long delay in getting it out made it necessary to push it
out the door in an incomplete state (e.g., no testing on X systems


Makes -d and -D equivalent on the command line.  Adds a new switch -s / -S
that defines a name as a string rather than a token.

Arranges things so that if -sLIB=_a_prefix_ is defined on the command
line, (filename) run will look for _a_prefix_filename before giving up if
filename isn't the name of an accessible file.

Changes showpage from an operator to a procedure.  The definition of
showpage in does a copypage, beeps the console, waits for the
user to type a character (normally a <return>, since line buffering is
always enabled), and then does an erasepage and an initgraphics.

Adds a new initialization file,, containing device-dependent
parameters.  The default window size for X Windows is properly set to 612
x 792, i.e., 8.5" x 11".

Adds a new optional initialization file,, that provides dummy
definitions for the names found in statusdict on LaserWriters.

Adds a new operator, getenv, to get information from the shell

Adds a new predefined operator, defaultdevicename, that returns either (X)
or (EGA) according to how the interpreter was built.

Adds a new type, devicetype, and new operators deviceparams, getscanlines,
makedevice, makeimagedevice, and setdevice.  Changes currentdevice to
return a device object rather than a set of parameters.

Makes the scanner recognize reals with 'e' exponent notation, and handle
reals with more than 9 digits.

Fixes a bug that made names starting with digits read incorrectly.

Fixes a bug in the exp operator that made it not pop its first argument
from the stack.

Fixes a bug in the rand operator that made it return negative values about
half the time.

Fixes a bug in equality comparison (eq, ne, and several other operators)
that made unequal operator objects occasionally appear to be equal on DOS

Fixes a bug in the bind operator that made it not work on packed arrays.

Changes the internal representation of dictionaries so they can be
expanded or contracted dynamically.  Adds a new operator, setmaxlength, to
change the allocated size of a dictionary.

Changes sstorei.h so that non-DOS compilers don't encounter the #pragma
directive used by Turbo C.

Restores the display mode (on MS-DOS systems) when exiting.


Makes undefined characters in the standard font display as tilde rather
than blank (or causing an error).  Unmapped character codes (those mapped
to .notdef in the encoding) still display as nothing, per the PostScript


Adds a new header file, gxbitmap.h, with some new documentation describing
the internal storage format for bitmaps.

Makes numerous internal changes in the character / font cache, affecting
many of the routines in gxcache.c.

Fixes a bug in gz_draw_line / gz_fill_trapezoid that made nearly
horizontal lines display wrong.

Fixes a bug in gs_scale that made scaling not work if the coordinate
system was rotated or skewed.

Extends the font cache so it will handle characters rotated by multiples
of 90 degrees.

Changes the second argument of gx_path_bbox and gx_path_is_rectangle to be
a gs_fixed_rect * rather than a fixed [4].

Changes gs_matrix_rotate so it handles multiples of 90 degrees as a
special case.

Changes the definition of the gx_device structure to accommodate the new
device operators, and adds corresponding library calls.

Changes the type for a device color index from int to gx_color_index
(equivalent to unsigned long).  ***NOTE***: this affects existing clients
and drivers in a non-trivial way on MS-DOS systems.

Changes gs_malloc and gs_free to take a client name string as an argument.

Usage procedures

Changes the compilation rules for Unix systems to not use the -o and -c
compiler flags together, to be compatible with more versions of cc.

Changes the gcc makefile to use $(GCC) rather than gcc as the compiler

Moves the -1 flag for the MS-DOS compiler from the cc*.bat files to the

Changes CCDEBUG to CCFLAGS, and adds ASMFLAGS, in DOS makefile.

Adds -DFOR80386 and /DFOR80386 to enable use of 80386 instructions in
assembly code on DOS systems.

Merges the DEBUG and gs_DEBUG switches.  There is now only a single DEBUG
switch that affects both the interpreter and the library.

Adds a new compilation switch, -DNOPRIVATE, that makes private (static)
variables and procedures public for debugging and profiling (only needed
on DOS systems).

Adds the DOS executable (gs.exe and to the distribution fileset.

Adds new platform-specific code files, gp-*.c, for a few things like
reading the clock.

Adds a new documentation file, drivers.doc, that describes the interface
between Ghostscript and device drivers.

Version 1.2 (2/22/89)


Adds the new facilities in version 25 of PostScript: //name for immediate
lookup, packed arrays (setpacking, currentpacking, packedarray operators),
and new font cache parameters (setcacheparams, currentcacheparams

Adds new operators (setfileposition, currentfileposition) for random
access to files.

Extends readhexstring to take either a string or a file, just like token.

Fixes a bug that caused the 'for' operator (and a couple of others) to
randomly smash memory locations on PC platforms.


Renames the init_device driver procedure as open_device, and adds a
corresponding close_device.

Adds new procedures to read and set the cache limit values (implementing
the currentcacheparams and setcacheparams operators).

Usage procedures

Changes the name of the Unix makefile to ux-cc-x.mak, and adds a new Unix
makefile, ux-gcc-x.mak, for using gcc instead of cc.  (The latter doesn't
actually work yet.)

Changes the name of the single built-in font from uglyfont.cp to

Version 1.1 (2/12/89)


Makes the scanner treat ^Z (ASCII code 26) as whitespace: it erroneously
treated ^R (ASCII code 22, or octal 26) as whitespace.

Makes the token and readline operators, and the syntax for comments,
recognize \r (code 13), \n (code 10), and \r\n as equivalent end-of-line
indicators.  The token and readline operators will skip over any of these
sequences at the end of a token or line respectively, and a comment will
read through any of these sequences.  The other file operators (read,
write, readstring, writestring) do nothing special with these characters.

Changes the debug switch name from -D to -Z.  Adds a -D switch for
defining names in systemdict from the command line.  Defines -DDEBUG for
printing out debugging information during initialization, and -DNODISPLAY
for suppressing display output.

Corrects a bug that prevented the error machinery from working -- in
version 1.0, errors always dumped the stacks and aborted interpretation.

Corrects a bug that made eq and ne not work for strings.

Makes the atan (arctangent) operator normalize its results according to
the PostScript convention.

Makes the div operator check for zero divisor.

Makes unimplemented operators (resetfile, echo, save, restore, strokepath,
reversepath) truly undefined.

Makes the interactive loop exit gracefully on end-of-file: in version 1.0
this caused an infinite loop.

Implements the status operator.

Corrects a bug that made the 'for' operator deliver garbage values if one
or more of the operands (start, increment, end) was a real.

Corrects a bug that made the arc and arcn operators not pop their operands
from the stack.

Corrects a bug that made the kshow operator crash the interpreter.

Corrects a bug that made the print operator fail on machines that don't
pass structure arguments by simply pushing the contents of the structure.

Adds a new operator, imagecharpath, to convert images to
addcharpath-compatible outlines.

Changes alloc and alloc_free to use char * rather than byte *, and
alloc_free to return void rather than int, making them compatible with the
library's expectations and with malloc/free.

Explicitly casts all expressions of the form (ptr1 - ptr2) used as
procedure arguments to unsigned, to handle an incompatibility between
Turbo C versions 1.5 and 2.0.

Changes some of the internal conventions for operators: operators that
push on the operand stack must check for overflow explicitly, and
operators that modify the execution stack must return a special code.
(See oper.h for details.)

Initialization (,

Modifies and so they print debugging information only
if the name DEBUG is defined.  (Presumably the user will set this from the
command line with -DDEBUG.)

Changes so it initializes the nominal screen size to 640 x 350 on
MS-DOS systems as before, but to 612 x 792 on Unix systems, which is an
8.5" x 11" page at 72 pixels per inch.


Corrects a bug that made the fill and eofill operators (gs_fill and
gs_eofill) not perform a newpath afterward.

Corrects the bug that made thin, nearly horizontal lines display wrong (as
a series of disconnected dots) in the MS-DOS implementation.

Fixes a bug in the EGA driver that often made it fill rectangular regions
with black around information being displayed in white.

Completely changes the internal representation of outline fonts, and
changes (a Ghostscript language program for converting bitmaps to
outlines) to use a new library call, gs_imagecharpath.

Changes the extension for outline font files from .gf to .cp.

Adds a new debugging switch, q, that traces all rectangle fill operations.

Adds a new debugging switch, v, that traces all device-level output calls.

Explicitly casts pointer differences passed as procedure arguments, as in
the interpreter.

Makes stringwidth work if there is no current point.  In version 1.0, this
gave a nocurrentpoint error.

Usage procedures

Changes the name of the 'read me' file from READ.ME to README.

Removes a bogus line (invoking the 'mcopy' utility) from the makefile.

Splits up the makefile into a generic part (ghost.mak) and
platform-specific parts (dos-ega.mak, unix-x11.mak).  The latter are what
is actually executed.

Puts the definitions of the DEBUG and gs_DEBUG compilation flags into the
makefile instead of in ghost.h and gx.h respectively.

Changes the names of the documentation files to be a little less cryptic.
Changes all the file names to lower-case in the documentation.  Adds
installation information to make.doc.

Changes all function definitions (but not prototype declarations) to ANSI
syntax, and adds a preprocessing step (ansi2knr) to convert them to K&R
syntax on Unix systems.

Changes the normal MS-DOS link configuration to not assume the presence of
an 80x87 coprocessor, and describes how to increase performance if a
coprocessor is present.

Changes the names of all the interpreter .c files, except stream.c, to
begin with 'i'.

Version 1.0 (8/11/88)

First version released to the public.

Copyright © 2000-2006 Artifex Software, Inc. 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 that license. Refer to licensing information at or contact Artifex Software, Inc., 7 Mt. Lassen Drive - Suite A-134, San Rafael, CA 94903, U.S.A., +1(415)492-9861, for further information.

Ghostscript version 8.62, 29 February 2008