Tuesday, January 23, 2024

PostScript’s Sudden Death in Sonoma

Howard Oakley:

Finally, the complete removal of support for PostScript and EPS was recorded as another “deprecation” in the release notes for Sonoma: “macOS has removed the functionality for converting PostScript and EPS files to PDF format. As a result, CoreGraphics’ CGPSConverter returns an error when invoked, ImageIO no longer converts EPS files, NSEPSImageRep does not display EPS files, and PMPrinterPrintWithFile does not accept a PostScript file for non-PostScript print queues.”

Search of Apple’s previous release notes doesn’t reveal any prior warnings of this removal of support or deprecation (in the general meaning of the term), in contrast to other removals from Sonoma such as ATS/ATSUI. Although conversion from PostScript and EPS must now be in relatively little demand, its demise has been rapid, as if Apple can’t wait for macOS to be rid of it. The most likely reason is security.


PSNormalizer is now little used, and has no significant role in macOS. The first step was to make it inaccessible from the GUI by disabling that feature in Ventura’s Preview, then following that in Sonoma by removing PSNormalizer altogether, so removing its command tool pstopdf and Core Graphics’ CGPSConverter.

Would it have been that hard to sandbox?

Howard Oakley:

If you want to view or convert either file type, there are three main local options:

  • Use an app with its own PostScript rendering engine, such as Adobe Acrobat and other paid-for products; although expensive, Adobe’s Distiller engine is the best available, but Acrobat Reader won’t convert PostScript or EPS files for free.
  • Install open source Ghostscript, using either MacPorts or Brew; although this is free, unless you already use either of those, there’s quite a lot of work involved, and they’re centred on the command line. As Ghostscript has had several serious security vulnerabilities, you’ll also need to keep it up to date.
  • Use the Preview app in a version of macOS older than Ventura, where conversion was removed from the app. If you’ve got an Apple silicon Mac, this is performed entirely in the GUI, comes at no cost, and is simple to set up.

This article walks you through the third option, of setting up a virtual machine (VM) running macOS Monterey 12.6.1 on an Apple silicon Mac running Sonoma.


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