Tales from the “Green Book” — ehandler.ps

Please pardon the apparent non-CJK interruption in the form of this particular article, but I wanted to bring to the readership’s attention a new open source project that has a very long history: ehandler.ps.

For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the early PostScript books, which were affectionately known as the Red, Green, and Blue Books, the Green Book (entitled PostScript Program Language Design) included an appendix—Appendix A—that simply contained a PostScript program entitled ehandler.ps, which is an error handler whose sole purpose is to troubleshoot problematic PostScript files. The earliest year that is associated with this PostScript program is 1984, which is the year I attended the 47-week Russian Basic Course at DLI-FLC in Monterey, California. That’s 32 years of history! The images below are the covers of these books, which explain why they are referred to by their colors:


Of course, these books have been out-of-print for years (decades?), and may convey a feeling of nostalgia to those who referenced them in the past. The current edition of the Red Book that corresponds to PostScript 3 is available in PDF.

Anyway, on 2016-11-01 I received a request to open-source ehandler.ps, which seemed reasonable considering the benefits of open source, and I immediately contacted the appropriate folks within Adobe to start the approval process. The approval to open-source this particular PostScript file was granted on 2016-12-15. All things considered, and in my experience, a 45-day turn-around for such things is not bad for a very large company, especially when Legal is involved.

What was actually open-sourced is not the original ehandler.ps as printed in the Green Book, but rather the latest-and-greatest version that has been available here.



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