Make PDFs for free under the GPL

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Now that the new versions of Ghostscript are available under the free software GPL license other projects relying on Ghostscript can be fully GPL software as well. One of these projects, PDFCreator, I recently tested and I must admit I'm impressed.

PDFCreator allows you to make a PDF of anything you can print, documents, spreadsheet, presentations, anything with a print function. PDFCreator even has encryption and security features that would make it perfect for a corporate environment.

With PDFCreator, you can also email the files created automatically. And, you can make images of each page instead of a pdf. You can even combine PDFs you've already made!

Now, wondering what to do with your new found PDF creation super-powers? You can convert weird file formats to PDF, and send them to friends or family that can't open those formats. PDF can also create easier to distribute and smaller files for formats like CAD

Happy PDF creating! See you next week.



Terry Hancock's picture

Thanks for a great article.

However, changes in the licensing of ghostscript don't really affect it -- ghostscript has had a very capable GPL version which has included PDF support for at least a few years now, and there have been a number of GPL-free tools for making PDF as well.

Ghostscript was one of a few free GPL packages which was developed under a conventional commercial model, but used the free-licensing of the prior version as a way of promoting the new version. This has kept GPL versions of ghostscript available for years.

stoian's picture
Submitted by stoian on

I knew about PDFCreator and have been using it for a long time - under Windows, but there is no Linux version, on Ubuntu Linux I have to use ps2pdfwr as I couldn't find any equivalent of PDFCreator. Does anybody know about one?




doolittle's picture
Submitted by doolittle on

I use cups-pdf, works great after "chmod +s /usr/lib/cups/backend/cups-pdf" since it was broken out-of-the-box =P

jlisbona's picture
Submitted by jlisbona on

What I think it is really needed is a free editor for pdf files. I needed to edit a simple pdf file with some user entries and all the editors I've found are commercial software (maybe I've not searched enough in Internet...).

Author information

Robin Monks's picture


Robin Monks is a volunteer contributor to Mozilla, Drupal, GMKing and Free Software Magazine and has been helping free software development for over three years. He currently works as an independent contractor for CivicSpace LLC