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You have a wrong (IMO) metric of "having problems". PS is a
programming language. There is no way to "verify" PS or debug PS:
there is no way to know whether a given PS file will print on your
neighbor's PS printer except for printing it.
Likewise, if you can rasterize PS with one version of GS, this does
not imply that it would rasterize with a different version of GS.
Basically, PS leads you in the same messy can of worms as most other
programming languages (only it has no debuggers or development tools).
PDF, on the other hand, contains just DATA, not PROGRAM. It must be
easy to verify (never tried it); then any non-buggy implementation
would be able to rasterize it.
LaTeX + ams.
It is exactly the opposite with me. LaTeX is known to be
non-backward-compatible. So I keep data in proprietary form with a
known script for to-LaTeX conversion. When backward-compatibility
breaks, I can compensate by editing the scripts...
There is no clear-cut boundary between data and program. True, PDF isn't
the interpreter much simpler. The exclusion of flow-control from the PDF
language has other advantages, though: For example, you can determine
page boundaries by a static analysis of the file, which isn't possible
in Postscript (although there is a convention to use special comments
Newer versions of Acrobat Reader won't rasterize some PDFs generated by
Acrobat 10 years ago, because some features of early PDF versions have
been removed in later versions. OTOH, I am not aware of any
backwards-compatibility issues with PostScript (which also went through
a lot less revisions, although it is older).
LaTeX (or rather TeX) is a programming language, too.
It does have the advantage over page description languages like PDF of
PostScript that it handles much of the layout automatically (and
produces rather nice output).
Who is the proprietor of your proprietary format? You? Then you
naturally won't have a problem, as you know and control the format.
Somebody else? Then you may run into problems when that person or
company stops supporting that format or alters it in an incompatible
Of course there is: decidability (this is a math term; the layman's
variant would be something like a guaranteed ability to verify).
Given that there is not even "same-version-compatibility", so IMO it
is silly to discuss backward-compatibility. For a recent example, see
TeX is. On the other hand, it is easy (and very productive) to
operate AmS-LaTeX as a page description language.
The intermediate form between binary data and a printer is a
page description language. ASCII is the original text-only PDL,
but you can't use it for anything more complex.
Good choices for page description with images are postscript, pdf,
or pcl, all of which can be generated from perl. HTML works too if
value ease over precision. It just depends on your printing
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