Transferring Postscript Files

Skip to first unread message

Public-Access Computer Systems Forum

Mar 18, 1992, 11:03:27 AM3/18/92
9 Messages, 178 Lines

From: Bill Drew -- Serials Librarian <DRE...@snymorva.bitnet>
Subject: Re: How to ftp Postscript files, such as Zen, a question

The ZEN postscript file is ascii. Most of the problems I read sounded
as though people were forgetting to add a local file name in the form
of zen.extension. UNIX and ULTRIX use a different naming scheme such
as zen.junk.extension. This caused me grief until I looked in a UNIX
manual. Most error messages donot let you know the reason for failure
to create the local file.

-Bill Drew-
Wilfred Drew (call me "BILL")
Serials/Reference/Computers Librarian
SUNY College of Agriculture & Technology
P.O. Box 902, Morrisville, NY 13408-0902
Bitnet: drewwe@snymorva SUNYNET(DECnet): smorv::drewwe
Voice: 315-684-6055 Fax: 315-684-6115

Subject: Re: How to ftp Postscript files, such as Zen, a question
From: "Dave Bates, Whitney Library, GE CRD (518-387-7538)"

FYI: Postscript is an interpreted page description language ---
that is, a programming language telling printers how to print a
document. Like all programming languages, it should be transmitted
as a text file. If you ftp it, you should be able to print it on
a POSTSCRIPT printer (that is a printer which understands PostScript,
which includes Apple LaserWriters and many others) with no problems.

dave bates
GE CRD Whitney Library
*----- 34
From: "Walt Crawford" <BR.WCC@RLG>
Subject: FTPing Zen and the Art of the Internet

Zen and the Art of the Internet should be FTPed as an
ASCII file, *not* as Binary. Print-ready PostScript
files are normally text, and that's true here.

(This was my first FTP, to a DOS machine, and of course
I ran into the "double dot" problem. After that, however,
all went well: specifically, copying the file to diskette,
taking it home, and copying the file to PRN:, which in
this case is a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet III with
PacificPage PostScript-compatible cartridge. No problems,
although this is not the most ecologically sound way to
produce a 96-page 6x9 book! But that's a different story.)

-walt crawford, br.wcc@rlg, Internet
From: BI...@uhcl4.bitnet
Subject: RE: How to ftp Postscript files, such as Zen, a question

Jain Liu asked about FTP and Postscript files. The conclusion is
correct - when retrieving Postscript files, use ASCII. Postscript
commands are imbedded ASCII characters. This is not the only place
where I have seen instructions which say to set type to BINARY before
getting PS files. The last section of the Internet Resources Guide
gives instructions to retrieve a "VAX BOOK" from the University of
Oregon, and it very specifically says to set type to Binary and then get
PostScript Files -- WRONG!

As I recall the various exchanges about Zen and the Art..., Brendan Kehoe
was very clear that you used ASCII to get the PS file, and BINARY to
get the others. AND well worth the trouble too...

Paul Bick University of Houston - Clear Lake Neumann Library
From: rten...@library.Berkeley.EDU (Roy Tennant)
Subject: Re: How to ftp Postscript files, such as Zen, a question

On March 17, Jian Liu asked if PostScript files must be transferred via
FTP in "binary" mode or "ascii" mode.

Contrary to intuition, PostScript(tm) files are NOT binary files. Therefore,
when transferring a PostScript file via FTP, one should use "ascii" or "text"
mode rather than "binary" or "image". ASCII mode is the default mode of
FTP, so no change is necessary when retrieving these files. As evidence of
this, I retrieved "Zen and the Art of the Internet" in ASCII (default) mode,
and this is a fragment of the file as it was received. A file format rule of
thumb is that if viewing the file causes your display to go haywire, beep
at you, and display garbage, you can be reasonably certain that it is not
a text (ASCII) file. On the other hand, if you can make out words of any
kind (like below) it is a text file.

Roy Tennant
Public Service Automated Systems Coordinator
The Library, 130 Doe, University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
Voice: (415) 643-5565 Fax: (415) 643-7891
=============== Fragment of the Zen File in PostScript =============
%%Creator: dvips 5.47 Copyright 1986-91 Radical Eye Software
%%Title: zen-1.0.dvi
%%Pages: 102 1
%%BoundingBox: 0 0 612 792
/TeXDict 200 dict def TeXDict begin /N /def load def /B{bind def}N /S /exch
load def /X{S N}B /TR /translate load N /isls false N /vsize 10 N /@rigin{
isls{[0 1 -1 0 0 0]concat}if 72 Resolution div 72 VResolution div neg scale
From: Jefferson DeLisio <>
Subject: How to ftp Postscript files, such as Zen, a question

Postscript is a programming language (albeit quite dense) just like "C"
Ada, LISP... There is no reason to set your FTP utility to binary mode
to transfer over a file in postscript. I have FTP'd "Zen..." over for a
friend in plain ole ASCII mode directly to a Sun and over to an Apple
LaserWriter with no problems. You may even view a postscript file with
the naked eye though you may wish you had not.

___/ Jeff DeLisio \_______________________
| Price Waterhouse |
| Technology Centre |
| 68 Willow Rd (415) 688-6674|
| Menlo Park, Ca. 94025 fax (415) 321-5543|
From: Chris Nolan <CNO...@TRINITY.EDU>
Subject: Re: How to ftp Postscript files, such as Zen, a question

A question was asked about binary vs. ASCII transfer of Postscript files.
Postscript files are intentionally set up to permit all commands to be sent
via ASCII characters, thus allowing machine independence--which is the
big selling point for Postscript. Thus ASCII mode for ftp is the method to
use. Binary transfer WILL work if you are transfering between the same
machine platforms, but may corrupt your file if the platforms are not
identical. Thus some people may have succeeded in using binary to ftp the
Zen document, but ASCII should work for everyone, I believe.

Christopher Nolan
Head of Reference
Trinity University
From: Joan Boorstein <BOORSTEIN@UMBSKY>
Subject: RE: How to ftp Postscript files, such as Zen, a
Jian Liu <JI...@IUBACS.BITNET> asked in regard to the proper mode
in which to transfer the postscript version of a file: --

>Most of the answers had one thing in common: they
>warned users not to forget to set file transfer mode to binary before the
>transfer. Is this really correct? I was told that PS files are a special
>kind of ascii files and should be ftped as such.
This is correct. For fun, look at the text. It is a lot of stuff telling
the printer where to do its magic and with what. If you a printer which
understands postscript all is well, as Jian Liu went to say. Each of us
needs to find out for his/her own site what is the appropriiate command to
print a postscript file. Before I'd ftp such a file, I'd first find out
if there is a local facility to print it. Not all laser printers understand

Subject: Re: How to ftp Postscript files, such as Zen, a question

I had exactly the opposit problem : the file was first ftped as ASCII and
wouldn't print (on a LaserJet Series II with Pacific Page Postscript cartridge
from a PC compatible). The second time we downloaded as binary and the printout
was very good.

So it looks like one has to test and find his way to get the file.

Alain Delmotte
Agrometeorologist / FAO
Via delle Terme di Caracalla
I00100 Rome ITALY
tel.: Italy-6-5797 5504

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages