Ghostscript 8.60 is out! It's merged with CUPS' ESP Ghostscript! It's cool! We want packages!

...or: Why has no consumer distro been providing updated packages for Ghostscript for more than a year?

It's been more than a year that artofcode LLC and its lead developer, Raph Levien have revealed that bleeding egde Ghostscript will no longer be AFPL licensed, but will switch its Subversion-held development tree to the GPLv2 license.

This in turn paved the way for Mike Sweet, developer of CUPS and maintainer for ESP Ghostscript to announce: "everyone will be able to use the latest Ghostscript and contribute fixes back to the core", implying his willingness to overcome the fork (which at a far time back in the past was a necessity in order to make the CUPS ball rolling at all).

Then these things happened:

  • 2006-05-17: GPL Ghostscript 8.54 was released
  • 2007-03-14: GPL Ghostscript 8.56 was released
  • 2007-04-30: "ESP and GPL merger on its way" Announcement
  • 2007-05-11: GPL Ghostscript 8.57 was released (which had the first stage of the merger with ESP Ghostscript included)

An awful lot of that painstaking work has been silently conducted by the ever-industrious and great Till   Kamppeter who worked days and weeks on end to make the merger come true.

And now it's done.

GPL Ghostscript 8.60 (merged with ESP Ghostscript) is released (since 2 days ago).

Strangely, all these cool developments didn't spark any amount of noticeable interest, not even in a year. Not much mentioning in the relevant online press. No increased activity on the part of distro packagers to provide updates and/or backports. And not much demand from the general Linux user demography either....

Let's try and fix this now. Let's wake up the sleepie ones. Let's shout it from the rooftops (maybe provides some impetus to cause some more packager activities?):

Ghostscript 8.60 is released! It's the bleeding edge! It's no longer AFPL, it's GPL!! It's cool!!! It has new features!!!! It is merged with ESP Ghostscript (which now is end-of-life-d)! It has much better support for working with PDFs (processing and creating them)! And for spot colors! And for color profiles! And for shadings! IT IS A MUST-HAVE! IT IS A MUST-HAVE! IT IS A MUST-HAVE...

P.S.: and while you're at it, please make the new Ghostscript builds use its newly gained modularity, will you? No, not any longer a need for one single monolithic Ghostscript binary. Yes, drivers modular! Yes, and support for an outsourced, separate Ghostscript library that can be used by "-sDEVICE=x11". No -- no more different builds for "--with-x11" and for "--without-x11" support... So, when will you be ready?


Ubuntu Gutsy distros have had 8.60 since May, thanks to Till.

By Jonathan Riddell at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 00:31


That must have been an SVN version. The final 8.60 release was this week, not 4 months ago....

By Kurt Pf. at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 18:56

and i have submitted this to osnews.

By ibotty at Mon, 08/27/2007 - 20:52

It *was* an SVN version. Final release of Ghostscript 8.60 *did* happen only in July.

(Current Ghostscript from SVN trunk, if you compiled it on your own, already too announces itself as "8.61" though it is not yet released.)

By Kurt Pf. at Thu, 09/06/2007 - 08:26

Pardus 2007 provides new ghostscript for its users since 2007-06-14
(see :)

By caglar10ur at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 00:43

Hey, borrowed a link from your entry here for my Ars Technica post about this release (which is living in the editing queue right now). Hopefully someone will get off of their horse and get you some packages :)

By troy.unrau at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 16:27

You should as well have borrowed the correct version number: it's '8.60', not "*.six-dot-zero"....


By Kurt Pf. at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 18:55