PostScript may come at price
By Alex Lash
April 22, 1997, 5 p.m. PT
Adobe Systems (ADBE) is updating its nearly
ubiquitous PostScript printing language today, but it
may come at
a higher hardware price.
Adobe hopes that PostScript Level 3, which tells a
printer how to
put text and images on paper, will spur wider use of
network-based printing and electronic publishing.
The company last updated PostScript five years ago.
the desktop publishing explosion that PostScript
fueled has begun
to share the spotlight with Web publishing and with
distribution of electronic documents that can then be
The latest change to PostScript is a recognition of
of printing Web pages and other electronically distributed
documents. The new version adds an entire server and
client to the
printer's local software so that users can print Web
by sending a URL directly to the printer, which will
then pull the
page down from the Internet and print its contents,
HTML, PDF, GIF, PNG, JPEG, and ASCII text files.
The so-called "WebReady" system will make it easier to get
printouts of Web pages that closely resemble the real
thing. But to
get this advantage without bogging down the network,
3 printers will have to add a new hardware component,
to Steve Walsh, director of marketing for Adobe's
"To support WebReady, we're recommending that OEM's ship
hard disk drives within their printers, so the printer
can store an
entire Web file on the hard drive instead of holding
it in the
network's print queue," Walsh said. He also
OEM's add an extra 2MB of RAM to printer memory.
This will all likely mean higher printer prices. But
customers will find PostScript 3 worth it.
"Users today really have the same association with
printers as they
do with PCs--they expect them to have more memory than
they normally ship with," Walsh said. "Our OEM
concerned with the sticker-shock factor, but users
having more memory in printer will improve every print
Walsh would not disclose financial terms of Adobe's
agreements with printer manufacturers and other
At least one analyst liked the WebReady idea but said
was much better geared toward intranets.
"There are a lot of contemporary Web sites out there
work unless you accept a cookie," said Stephan Somogyi,
principal of technology consultancy Gyroscope. "What's
going to do with a cookie?"
PostScript 3 also aims to ease network congestion. It
the number of fonts on the printer itself to 136 and
traffic by integrating smart printer drivers on the PC
drivers, which operating systems makers such as Apple and
Microsoft will help develop, will recognize elements
office applications and transfer them to the printer
elements, instead of transferring them with each page.
Adobe and Microsoft have agreed to work jointly to
single PostScript driver for Windows NT, though users
significant improvements until version 5.0 is released
The companies have not finalized plans to add a
driver to NT 4.0. Microsoft won't upgrade the
PostScript driver in
On the Apple side, the company plans to update its Apple
LaserWriter driver with PostScript 3 compatibility
The updated driver might not be ready for the rollout
of Mac OS 8,
in which case it will be made available separately on
Web site, spokesman Russell Brady said.
Rhapsody, Apple's next-generation operating system due
year, will use Adobe's Display PostScript as its
But the company has not yet finalized Rhapsody's printing
architecture, Brady said.
Do you pine for the nice days of Minix-1.1,
when men were men and wrote their own device drivers? ...Linus Torvalds
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