Reading PDFs in LC (again)

Chipp Walters chipp at
Fri Oct 7 22:57:26 EDT 2011


I'm puzzled why you're using ImageMagick when even with ImageMagick you
still need to install GhostScript. Why not only install GhostScript and run
it from the command line (or process)? It can directly convert PDF's to PNG,
BMP, JPG, etc.. which can then be imported into LC.

On Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 10:40 AM, Graham Samuel <livfoss at> wrote:

> Folks, I have been reading all the responses I got on this issue that
> appeared under a number of different subject headings in the last couple of
> weeks. I thought people might be interested in my current position.
> First, my intention was to read PDFs as images (bitmaps) into an
> LC-authored app written to be run under Windows. This is clearly quite a
> restricted way of using PDFs, since they can contain readable text and much
> else which I don't currently care about. However, even with these
> restrictions it is not an easy thing to code a reader for PDFs entirely in
> LiveCode, so some third-party component appears to be needed.
> Second, I also had another need for input of bitmaps, which was to read
> TIFF files. In my original posts I didn't explain this as I thought it would
> complicate the discussion. Sadly this is another format that LC doesn't help
> us with.
> Third, I needed generous licensing terms, so that the additional
> component(s) to accomplish the input would be either free or else licensed
> on a pay-once basis, without per-user charges imposed on the end user, much
> like LC itself.
> Fourth (and last), I am writing an app for busy non-technical people which
> means among other things that any installation process should be simple, and
> certainly without any kind of extended interaction about options, licensing
> terms etc. demanded of the user.
> I have considered various approaches, with ImageMagick being the technical
> front runner (it's 'free' - kind of - and fulfils my technical
> requirements).
> I was scared of ImageMagick both because of the Windows-specific technical
> warnings on the download site and because of the license terms.
> The good news is that people on this list have persuaded me that I should
> not be scared. There is still some question over the license terms, since
> the one commercial supplier of the main underlying component, GhostScript
> (Artifex), insists that:
> > If your application (including its source code) is not licensed to the
> public under the GNU GPL, you are not authorized to ship GPL Ghostscript or
> GPL MuPDF with your application under the terms of the GNU GPL if any one of
> the following is true:
> >
> > your application contains a copy of some or all of GPL Ghostscript or
> MuPDF;
> > your application is derived from, is based on, or constitutes a revision
> of some or all of GPL Ghostscript or MuPDF;
> > your application includes one or more functions that use some or all of
> GPL Ghostscript or MuPDF.
> > These criteria apply to your application as a whole. Even if only one
> section of your application satisfies one of these criteria, you are not
> authorized to ship GPL Ghostscript or GPL MuPDF with your application unless
> your application, including all of its source code, is licensed to the
> public under the GNU GPL.
> >
> > If your application (including its source code) is NOT licensed to the
> public under the GNU GPL and you intend to distribute Ghostscript or MuPDF
> to a third party for use with and usable by your application, you MUST first
> obtain a commercial license from Artifex.
> Various people on the list have suggested that there are workarounds that
> render this statement untrue, and since there appear to be real-world
> examples of commercial products that do use GhostScript without a commercial
> license, I am going to adopt the approach suggested, hopefully maintaining
> the letter and spirit of the GPL.
> OK, the next thing is to try it - probably not using 'shell' (heeding Monte
> Goulding's warning and adopting his solution, which sadly I only half
> understand). I have command-line fear, but I guess I'll get over it (when I
> started programming computers, we didn't even have command lines - sounds
> like a Monty Python sketch, but true. The machines were not actually steam
> powered).
> I'll report back if I get to a point where my app (including its install
> process) appears viable.
> Graham
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Chipp Walters
CEO, Shafer Walters Group, Inc.

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