What postscript-viewers are available for iPad? [Ask AstroBetter]

by saurav on November 9, 2011

Cameron M. recently got an iPad and is frustrated by the lack of a postscript (PS) viewer:

I recently got an iPad that I’m trying to use for research (e.g., paper reading / annotations, outlining, etc).  It looks like it can be useful, but a major annoyance is no PS viewer.  I’ve even jailbroken my iPad.

If anyone knows some tools, or has updated comments on using iPhone / iPads for research use (beyond what is there), I’d love to read it.

We have talked about the iPad many times, including reading/annotating PDFs; but I could not find anything on PS viewers. Do you know of any such application? Is it easy to use for paper reading and annotating?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelle November 9, 2011 at 8:12 am

Unfortunately, I think the solution to this problem is to always request PDFs. If someone sends me a .doc to read or a .ps or .eps figure to look at when I’m on my iPad, I reply back requesting a PDF. My students in particular have learned quite quickly to always send me PDFs.

Why are you looking at PS files regularly? If it’s because of LaTeX, consider using pdfTex to skip the whole DVI -> PS nonsense as described in the Setup section of this post: http://www.astrobetter.com/how-and-why-to-use-textmate-for-latex/

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2 Jane Rigby November 9, 2011 at 8:54 am

I agree with Kelle. Telescope proposals and letters of recommendation for fellowships all require .PDF, so it’s clear that that’s the new standard.

When that fails, is converting an option, for example using Ps2Pdf, a solution? It doesn’t always do a good job compared to native generation, but it often does.

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3 Jeremy Sanders November 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

I’m afraid this is another sign of the lack of freedom on the IPad platform imposed by Apple. Due to the restrictive conditions of Apple you can’t use GPL or LGPL licensed products on the platform. Free ghostscript is only available as GPL software. However, there is a commercial version of gs available for licensing, if someone thought there was money in making a PS viewer.

I wouldn’t buy an IPad due to artificial restrictions imposed by apple, unless it cost throwaway money. There are plenty of alternatives available.

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4 Andrew Cumming December 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Hanno Rein suggested the following solution to me, which works well as long as you are connected to a network. I’ve created a folder in Dropbox on my desktop Mac that converts any postscript files dropped into it to PDF ( you can set this up in about a minute – create a folder, and then right click and select folder actions… One of the apple provided scripts is to convert ps to PDF). Then on iPad i save the email attachment into that Dropbox folder, and in a few minutes the PDF magically appears.

Not as convenient as having an app that could read postscript, but it works.

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