Russian PostScript

Playing simple

This subject is rather touching because some fine PostScript fonts that have Cyrillic letters can not be found free of charge. Also, much of the conversation here would be related to PostScript on Unix-like operating systems because it is usually more important in this world. Mac can handle PostScript rather naturally, and Windows is also more or less ok with it. There might be some problems with encodings but they are usually not very significant. All the rest is a matter of different MacOS or Windows applications which I am not going to discuss at all.
So, there are several vendors that make PostScript Cyrillic fonts. Adobe, Inc. has some of them, and the largest collection I know of is designed by Paragraph International, Inc., a Russian company that once was a joint venture with Borland International. Alas, Borland was bought, Paragraph staid and did very extensive work on pattern recognition (Apple's Newton palmpad runs on their software) and virtual reality. Recently, Paragraph got acquaried by SGI. Anyway, enough of this junk.
The fact is that Paragraph has some fonts that it realeased for the general public. They call them WWW fonts or some such. Another collection is also floating around. I know there were some copyright issues with it but I was told that Paragraph finally gave up tracking down this set and made it public. Finally!
There might be sevral levels of Russian support in PostScript: you just might want to print something out on your printer, you might want to have it installed with ghostscript.
Note: TeX and LaTeX related issues are not discussed here. Look at the TeX and LaTeX notes.
If you just want to quickly print something that came over the mail or if you fetched a new erotic novell from the USENET and want to print it, you do not need anything sophysticated. Install a little program called a2ps that I once hacked. Do not ask me to code some new-and-nice feature into that because I don't want to bother with it. This program was never thought of very seriousely -- just a quick-and-dirty fix. Take into account also that there are SEVERAL programs called a2ps. Once I picked one of them -- I do not even remember which -- and hacked it. So, you might run into at least 5 or 6 different beasts called a2ps.
You might want to become a bit smarter and install something called genscript that has much richer set of manipulation options with the text. You might want to browse the net to find a latest-and-greatest version of the program.
Both a2ps and genscript operate on the same principle: they prepend a cyrillic font to your PostScript output, so your printer knows what it is all about before you feed it with the Russian text. a2ps has this font in the header already, whereas you have to have .afm and .pfb files for genscript. You might get them from the set that is safely stored on sunsite (see below).

Playing smart

The smart way is basically all about the ghostscript -- a universal PostScript interpreter. You either have to have a root access or ask your system administrator to put a few fonts in place and edit one configuration file. There are 16 KOI8 fonts you can get. Copy the .pfa files into the directory where ghostscript looks for the fonts, and also add this piece to your Fontmap file, the one which defines the font names for ghostscript. If you need metric files (.afm files), you get them as well.
In order to test your fonts, try to display this:
	%!PS-Adobe-3.0 EPSF-3.0
	/ArialCyrMT-Bold findfont 50 scalefont setfont
  	{ 0 0 moveto (Виват, Россия!) show } def
	80 400 translate

	0.95 -.05 0   % start
	{setgray printRus -0.5 -0.5 translate} for

	1 setgray printRus
Make sure that "%!PS" are THE FIRST characters in your file! If it works, you have got yourself a new good toy to play using all the power of ghostscript to display, edit and print your PostScript files. Refer to the notes on Netscape to see how it can be used to print from Netscape.