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9. Cyrillic in PostScript

Experts say PostScript is easy. I cannot judge - I've got too many things to learn to spare some time to learn PostScript. So I'll try to use my sad experience with it. I'll appreciate any feedback from you guys who know more on the subject than I do (approx. 99% of the Earth population).

Basically, in order to print a Cyrillic text using PostScript, you have to make sure about the following things:

There is no solution general enough to be recommended as an ultimate treatment. I'll try to outline various ways to cope with different problems related to the subject.

One way to address Cyrillic setup problems generally enough is to use Ghostscript. Ghostscript (or just gs in the newspeak) is a free (well quasi-free) PostScript interpreter. It has many advantages; among them:

What is important in our particular case, is that once Ghostscript is set up, we can do all printing through it, thus eliminating extra setup for other PostScript devices (for example HP LaserJet IV)

9.1 Adding Cyrillic fonts to Ghostscript

This is important, since you probably don't want to put a responsibility to other programs to insert Cyrillic fonts in the PostScript output. Instead, you add them to gs and just make the programs generate Cyrillic output compatible with the fonts.

To add a new font (in pfa or pfb form) in gs, you have to:

  1. Put it in the gs fonts directory (ie. /usr/lib/ghostscript/fonts).
  2. Add the appropriate names and aliases for the font in the Fontmap file in the gs directory.

Recently a decent set of Cyrillic fonts for GhostScript appeared. It is located in This one even has a necessary part to add to the Fontmap file. You have to download the contents of the /pub/cyrillic/psfonts directory. The README file describes the necessary details.

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