How to prepare a Ghostscript release

Table of contents

For other information, see the Ghostscript overview and the instructions on how to build Ghostscript.


This document describes the recommended procedure for rolling new Ghostscript releases. As time goes on, it will become a more suitable document for others wishing to prepare releases for distribution; at the moment this document is really meant only for developers working closely with artofcode LLC, the copyright holder of Ghostscript.

See the section on GNU releases below for information on making a GNU Ghostscript release from an existing AFPL Ghostscript release, and the section on fonts for information on releasing font packages.

File names below that don't include an explicit subdirectory name are in the src subdirectory.

If you do plan to make your own distribution, please be aware of some items you will want to change.


The Ghostscript files are maintained on sites accessible to the public. One specific site hosts the active CVS repository for code, data, and documentation, and the bug report data base; several sites offer distributions with version numbers, intended for wider distribution.

Development sources and bug reports

The primary repository for Ghostscript is SourceForge ( Please read the SourceForge AFPL Ghostscript home page ( first. CVS access information is available at


Both stable and development releases are available from

Stable releases are also distributed from

Development releases are also distributed from

Adding or removing files

When adding or removing files, don't forget to invoke cvs add or cvs rm.

When adding or removing files other than .c or .h: If the files will be used at runtime, check the install list in unixinst.mak.

When adding .c files, update the relevant .mak file (usually devs.mak, int.mak, or lib.mak).

When adding operators, or adding or changing filters, update doc/Language.htm if desired.

When adding .h files, add a _h definition in the appropriate .mak file.

When adding or changing fonts, update lib/Fontmap.GS, fonts.mak, and possibly the compiled fonts in gs.mak and the examples in doc/Fonts.htm.

When adding .ps files, update doc/Psfiles.htm.

Making distributions

This document only discusses source distributions. Source distributions currently can only be made on GNU/Linux systems (but it probably wouldn't take much work to support other Unix systems). Ghostscript as distributed also often includes executables or other packages for the Windows and MacOS environments, but artofcode does not produce these, and this document does not discuss them. For more information about Windows packages, please contact; for more information about MacOS packages, please contact

To make a source distribution, you will need the scripts and data files in the toolbin/ directory. You will probably find it convenient to include this directory in the PATH, but the instructions below don't assume that you have done this. To run the scripts, you will need reasonably current versions of Tcl, freely available from Scriptics (, and Python, freely available from

The instructions below also refer to some files that are deliberately omitted from the public distribution, because they are copyrighted by their authors and not freely redistributable. You will need to provide similar files for your environment.

data/*/*.ps (PostScript files) - needed for smoke testing
beta.msg - the announcement message for the release

Preparing the source code

Update references to the date:

Also in doc/News.htm, update the number of the highest closed bug and the list of open bugs.

Check in gscdef.c that the definition of GS_PRODUCT includes the appropriate one of "TESTER RELEASE", "BETA RELEASE", or neither, and does not include "CVS PRE-RELEASE".

Check for patched configuration parameters, #define TESTs, version/date inconsistencies, and mismatches between the working directory and the CVS repository by running:


This program compares the result of various greps against a check file, writing the results of grep on one output file and the differences from the check file on another. See the source code of toolbin/pre for the default file names. The important one is the check file, toolbin/pre.chk. pre also verifies that the right information is in the following places:

If necessary, run

toolbin/pre update

to update the version and revision date in the doc files, and then run



Update the plain text version of the readme to match the html source:

lynx -dump -nolist doc/Readme.htm > doc/README


Edit the makefile (presumably unix-gcc.mak) to set


This will help catch compilation problems.


make clean
make >& t.log

and look for warnings and errors in the log file.

Do a smoke test in a separate window, replacing /gs with the name of the development root directory if necessary:

cd /tmp
/gs/bin/gs -I/gs/lib -I/gs/fonts -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH /gs/toolbin/ | tee t
export TEMP=/gs/tmp
/gs/bin/gs -I/gs/lib -I/gs/fonts -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=bitcmyk\
  -sOutputFile=/dev/null -r600 -dBufferSpace=50000 /gs/toolbin/ | tee t

This reads files named


(Edit toolbin/ ad lib to use other test sets.) Watch for crashes, unusual error messages, or anomalous displayed output. If there are any problems, start over from the beginning of the process.



cvs commit

to ensure the repository is up to date.


toolbin/ -j previous_tag -r '-rbranch_tag' -v new_version > doc/Changes.htm
toolbin/ -j gs7.04 -r '-rGS_7_0X' -v 7.05

This consolidates all the CVS logs since the previous release in a readable format. Note: the tool currently in the distribution is not very branch-aware (nor is the 'cvs log' command it depends on) so the extra complication of the -j and -r options are required when generating the Changes for a non-HEAD branch of Ghostscript.


% source toolbin/makeset.tcl
% makehist

This updates doc/History#.htm from doc/News.htm and doc/Changes.htm. Then run

cvs commit

again to check in the Changes and history files.

For the unix source distributions only, generate the configure scripts. From the top level directory, run

make clean
This should create links to and in the top level directory and invoke autoconf to create the configure script.

You should then verify that only, configure, exist as files at the top level. Running ./configure will create a number of files that should not be distributed. 'make clean' may or may not remove these depending on the version.

Make the source archives with various archive programs. Create the files:


The general procedure is:

cvs -z3 -d <ghostscript cvsroot> export gs -d ghostscript-#.##
tar cvzf ghostscript-#.##.tar.gz ghostscript-#.##/*
zcat ghostscript-#.##.tar.gz | bzip2 -c > ghostscript-#.##.tar.bz2

The important issue is that the tarballs unpack into a directory of the same name, and that the code be a pristine copy without build or CVS housekeeping files.

It is also customary to make a archive for the convenience of windows developers.

Testing on Windows

For Windows testing, you will need, in addition to the files listed under "Source distributions" above:

toolbin/makewin (link to makeset.tcl)

The following procedures are very Aladdin-specific; they rely on a large number of MS-DOS batch scripts that are not discussed here.

Mount the Windows partition on /c, and create the /c/work directory if needed.

Make the zip archive of all files needed for a Windows build, and copy it to the Windows partition:

cp /c/work

Boot into Windows. Unpack the archive:

cd \work
unzip -oq

The gs###.bat script creates some necessary directories, sets up PATH and GS_LIB for testing, and makes the gs#.#[#] directory current.

Build with the Borland compiler:

config bcwin32
copy /y /b ..\gs\makefile
erase obj\*.*
make > bc.log

Smoke test the executables (both gswin32 and gswin32c), as described above for source distributions. Then build with the Microsoft compiler:

config msvc32
copy /y /b ..\gs\makefile
erase obj\*.*
nmake > msvc.log

Smoke test these executables too.

Building with the Watcom compiler doesn't work, because the wmake or wmakel program runs out of memory. However, if it did work, this is how to do it:

config watcw32
copy /y /b ..\gs\makefile
erase obj\*.*
wmake -u > watc.log

Boot back into GNU/Linux. If testing in Windows revealed problems, edit the source files as necessary, and go back to "Preparing the source code."

Finishing up

Tag the source files with the release number by executing

cvs tag gs#_##

Upload ghostscript-#.##.tar.* to SourceForge (by anonymous FTP to, directory /incoming), and then post it using the "File Release" facility in the AFPL Ghostscript project. If this is a test release, put it in the gs-test module, otherwise put it in the ghostscript module. If you are adding Windows executables to an existing source release, please use the same release date as the source release, not the current date.

If ansi2knr.c has changed, put it on

If doc/C-style.htm has changed, put it on

Tester or beta distributions

Do the steps for distributions in general.

Upload ghostscript-#.##.tar.* to

Construct the e-mail announcement by editing beta.msg. Mail using:

To: gs-test

Public releases

Do the steps for distributions in general.

E-mail the release announcement using:

To: gs-announce

Edit the Web pages on the Wisconsin server to reflect the new release.

After releasing

Update the version number by incrementing it:

Edit doc/News.htm to remove all the content.

GNU Ghostscript releases

artofcode LLC re-releases each tested AFPL Ghostscript version with the GPL, as GNU Ghostscript, when the next tested AFPL Ghostscript version comes out.

GNU code

Make source archive as described above and upload them to

After releasing (GNU)

E-mail the full URL and the md5sum of the new archive(s) to


artofcode LLC distributes a package of the base 35 PostScript fonts, and a package of other miscellaneous fonts. As with the Ghostscript code, each package is released both with the Aladdin License and with the GPL; however, unlike the Ghostscript code, artofcode releases these versions simultaneously rather than with a one-version delay.

To make the font packages, run the command

toolbin/makefonts #.##

This creates the following files:


The first two of these use the Aladdin License, and should be uploaded to The other two use the GPL, and should be uploaded to For the GNU release, also see "After releasing (GNU)".

Copyright © 1999, 2001 artofcode LLC. All rights reserved.

This file is part of GNU Ghostscript. See the GNU General Public License (the "License") for full details of the terms of using, copying, modifying, and redistributing GNU Ghostscript.

GNU Ghostscript version 6.53, 13 February 2002