ps2pdf vs. ps2pdfwr

To convert a PostScript file to PDF, I can use either

  • ps2pdf output.pdf
  • ps2pdfwr output.pdf

But what is the real practical difference between the two? I do know ps2pdf provide the -dCompatibility=1.x switch in the command line, whereas man ps2pdfwr describes its usage as to convert PostScript to PDF without specifying CompatibilityLevel.

But does it mean the only real difference between them is that the former does provide the -dCompatibility switch, whereas the latter doesn’t? I think the answer is "no" (because in such a case developing the latter utility would be quite a silly idea), and this is why I want someone to exlain me all their practical differences between the two and pros/contras/pitfalls.

Asked By: jsx97


man ps2pdfwr explains the differences:

ps2pdfwr — Convert PostScript to PDF without specifying CompatibilityLevel, using ghostscript


The version-specific ps2pdf scripts all invoke this one with the addition of the respective compatibility level option.

So ps2pdf, ps2pdf12 etc. all end up calling ps2pdfwr with the appropriate -dCompatibilityLevel flag. They are shell scripts, you can check that yourself.

The compatibility level flag is the only difference. The various ps2pdf scripts are wrappers, it’s simple enough to provide more, and not a silly idea.

Answered By: Stephen Kitt
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