1 Jun 2003 raph   » (Master)

Long time no blog, again.

Ghostscript

We have new releases out, both GPL and AFPL. I recommend upgrading, if only to get the new security updates.

The 8.10 release has some seriously enhanced font rendering, thanks to Igor Melichev. Try experimenting with -dAlignToPixels=0, which enables subpixel rendering. I think we'll make this the default in a future release.

I spent two days last week at a customer site. I'm glad we have both paying customers and free users - addressing immediate needs is fun, and the commercial world is often better at expressing appreciation for work than the world of free software.

You probably saw that Ghostscript is leaving the GNU umbrella. This has been brewing for some time, but only last week got publicity. I think we weathered it pretty well, all things told.

Responses to threads on Advogato

nymia: It's interesting that you say DOM is the future, because I was very much of the same opinion four years ago. Then I tried to actually implement stuff with it, and became disillusioned.

The ideas behind DOM are sound, but the spec itself has a lot of bad engineering. Among the highlights: It's virtually impossible to implement DOM in a memory-efficient way. Character encoding is forced to be UTF-16 (a Java-ism). It's difficult to do DOM memory management without garbage collection. The event propagation model is broken, and doesn't support multiple Views in a Model-View pattern.

I hope somebody engineers a better DOM-like tree access API, and that's the future.

yeupou and dobey: yes, I'm also unhappy with the state of viewers based on Ghostscript. They don't have to suck, but they seem to.

At this point, I think the best bet may be GSView, which is scheduled to be released under GPL around the same time 8.0 is, which is November. There's a good chance that it will become the viewer of choice.

Meanwhile, I note that xpdf 2.0 is out. The good news is that they've replaced their hand-rolled GUI toolkit with a real one. The bad news is that it's Motif. I've been meaning to contact Derek for a while - perhaps I will soon.

Worth reading

Here are some interesting things I've read recently:

Retroactive Moral Conundrum, a piece by Tim Bray on the Iraq war. I agree with his main point - while getting Saddam out was a good thing, having our administration lie about things constantly, and having nobody really call them on it, is a bad thing. Take the time to browse the rest of Tim's blog while you're there - it's now one of my favorites.

Philip Greenspun on Israel. I'm not sure I agree with what Philip says, but it's very thought-provoking.

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