Original author(s)L. Peter Deutsch
Developer(s)Artifex Software[1]
Initial releaseAugust 11, 1988; 35 years ago (1988-08-11)[2]
Stable release
10.03.0[3] / 6 March 2024; 35 days ago (6 March 2024)
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[4] files, for the display or printing of document pages, and the conversion between PostScript and PDF files.[5]


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.[6]

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.[7][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 1988.[8] At the time of the initial release there was a similar commercial software product named GoScript from LaserGo.[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]

Starting with release 9.55.0 Ghostscript has two build-in PDF interpreters. Until spring 2022, up to Ghostscript version 9.56.1, the default PDF interpreters implementation itself was coded in PostScript. The new default PDF interpreter has been rewritten in C entirely, and is faster and more secure than its predecessor, while its interface and graphics library have not changed.[21] Scripting the new C written PDF interpreter from PostScript is still possible.[22]

Free fonts

There are several sets of free fonts supplied for Ghostscript, intended to be metrically compatible with common fonts attached with the PostScript standard.[23][24][25][26] These include:

The Ghostscript fonts were developed in the PostScript Type 1 format but have been converted into the TrueType format.[27][26] As a result, a user can install and use the Ghostscript fonts via most modern software. Furthermore, the Ghostscript fonts are used as parts of various open source applications, e.g., the Linux version of GIMP depends on Graphviz which in turn depends on the Ghostscript fonts.[33][34] Finally, multiple open source font projects used glyphs from the Ghostscript fonts, e.g., the Latin characters of GNU FreeFont are based on Nimbus Mono L, Nimbus Roman No9 L, and Nimbus Sans L.[35] The TeX Gyre fonts are also based on 8 out of the 10 original Ghostscript typeface families.[36] The Garamond font has additionally been improved upon.[37]

See also


  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. ^ "Version 10.03.0 (2024-03-06)". 6 March 2024. Retrieved 7 March 2024.
  4. ^ "Ghostscript and the PostScript language". Archived from the original on 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2017-05-23.
  5. ^ Ingo, Henrik (1 August 2006). Open Life: The Philosophy of Open Source. ISBN 9781847286116 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "ps2pdf: PostScript-to-PDF converter". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  7. ^ "Creating a Free PDF Writer Using Ghostscript". Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  8. ^ "Recent changes in Ghostscript". 2002-11-21. Archived from the original on 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  9. ^ Kraul, Chris (1989-05-02). "Printing Up a Package for Success: LaserGo Software Offers Cheaper Desktop System". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  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.((cite web)): 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 Nation. 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. ^ "Ghostscript : PDFI - The NEW Ghostscript PDF Interpreter is now the default!". Retrieved 2022-08-01.
  22. ^ "Ghostscript and the PostScript Language - Scripting the PDF interpreter". Retrieved 2022-08-01.
  23. ^ "Debian package - gsfonts". Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  24. ^ "Fonts and font facilities supplied with Ghostscript". Archived from the original on 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  25. ^ "Linux fonts (mostly X11)". 2009-08-15. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  26. ^ a b c "doc/pcl/urwfonts (URW fonts in TTF format)". ghostscript doc. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  27. ^ a b ArtifexSoftware. "urw-base35-fonts". GitHub. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  28. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts., archived from the original on 2002-10-23, retrieved 2010-05-06
  29. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts. (TXT), retrieved 2010-05-06
  30. ^ "Fonts and TeX". 2009-12-19. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  31. ^ Five years after: Report on international TEX font projects (PDF), 2007, retrieved 2010-05-06
  32. ^ "GhostPDL License". ghostscript doc. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  33. ^ "Arch Linux - gimp". Retrieved 2022-08-04.
  34. ^ "Arch Linux - graphviz". Retrieved 2022-08-04.
  35. ^ "Gnu FreeFont: Design notes". Retrieved 2022-07-08.
  36. ^ "The TeX Gyre (TG) Collection of Fonts — GUST Web Presence". Retrieved 2022-08-04.
  37. ^ Bisson, Gaetan. "URW Garamond ttf conversions". Retrieved 18 August 2015.