PostScript (PS) is a page description language in the electronic publishing and desktop publishing realm. It is a dynamically typed, concatenative programming language. It was created at Adobe Systems by John Warnock, Charles Geschke, Doug Brotz, Ed Taft and Bill Paxton from 1982 to 1984.
PostScript is the precursor to PDF, and at the time it was revolutionary. Coming out of Xerox’s PARC, the idea was to create device- and resolution-independent documents where all the characters, symbols, and graphics are described by their shapes instead of bitmaps.
In March 1985, the Apple LaserWriter was the first printer to ship with PostScript, sparking the desktop publishing (DTP) revolution in the mid-1980s. The combination of technical merits and widespread availability made PostScript a language of choice for graphical output for printing applications. For a time an interpreter (sometimes referred to as a RIP for Raster Image Processor) for the PostScript language was a common component of laser printers, into the 1990s. PostScript went beyond the typical printer control language and was a complete programming language of its own (you can for example use it to calculate Mandelbrot set if you wish). However, the cost of implementation was high.
After 40 Years, Adobe Releases PostScript Source V0.10 For Posterity. The Computer History Museum is excited to publicly release, for the first time, the source code for the breakthrough printing technology, PostScript. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, Adobe released the source code of PostScript v0.10 to the Computer History Museum. It’s no exaggeration to say that this ended up revolutionizing the print industry, and it makes sense in the CHM’s collection. If you think it’s fun to see the original codebase where it all started, go to Computer History Museum AOC Postscript download page (you need to accept the terms and conditions of the CHM Software License agreement to download the Adobe PostScript source code file).
You will not learn big trade secrets or might won’t be able to use the code to make something useful as it is. It is the first version and unfortunately it won’t compile as it is published now with modern compilers. I you like to mess around with PostScript, downloading a modern open-source interpreter like GhostScript probably makes a lot more sense.
PostScript: A Digital Printing Press article tells about the PostScript story:
“The story of PostScript has many different facets. It is a story about profound changes in human literacy as well as a story of trade secrets within source code. It is a story about the importance of teams, and of geometry. And it is a story of the motivations and educations of engineer-entrepreneurs.”