Sunday, July 31, 2005

PostScript Viewer

Sometimes it's a pain to read PostScript (TM) files on screen, even though it's easy to print them out. On my WorkMac I can't even look at a PostScript file unless I use a postscript viewer of some kind, even though the Mac Preview utility will read PostScript's somewhat less featured offspring, PDF.

Fedora comes with at least one PostScript viewer, gsview, available in the Extras directory. However, the viewer I like best is gv, a front end to the standard ghostscript utility. gv will display both PostScript and PDF files, and lets you zoom in and move around the page. It's a very old program, the source was last updated in 1997.

I could have installed directly from the gv source, but I thought I'd find an RPM file to work with. Unfortunately, it's in none of the standard repositories. However, found RPMs which claimed to be compiled for FC4. Rather than trust that whole-heartedly, I got a copy of the Source RPM and compiled that. The install was straightforward, and now I can view PostScript and PDF files in the old-fashioned way.


  • Both the Gnome and KDE desktops have PostScript viewers, I just don't remember what they are called and find gv simpler to use.
  • At some point I found on the web a suggestion that you partially protect yourself from malicious SRPM files by setting up an account which is only used to compile RPM packages. This isn't a total panacea, but it's a good start, so I set up just such an account. (What this does is keep the SRPM's makefile from strolling through your own directories. Of course, it might choose to scroll through everyone's directories, in which case you're still hosed, but that would take a lot longer time and you might notice that something weird is going on.)