No more PostScript on Mac?

I just learnt to my amazement that Apple is killing PostScript in Sonoma and WebKit.

Can anybody share their thoughts on will that impact the way we design for the web (variable fonts, for instance)? Or is that just strictly print thing?

Hi Rob @fapkogi, allow me to expand a little on the question - when i, very young and full of energy, founded my first design agency in may '83 in düsseldorf - i was still studying at the university of design in düsseldorf at the time (now the peter behrens school of arts) - investments were soon made in the first Macs. From the first workhorses Mac II / Fx to the soon PowerMacs and so on. PostScript 1/2/3 was a blessing and a curse at the same time, but thanks to John Warnock - you had the spirit and the “green monitors” of the typesetters changed to what we designers and private use today as a matter of course. Even though monitors were never PS - the technology behind them had long been his thing too.
Where this is going now is clear - on and on - because the end of PS 3 was already discussed more than 20 years ago. Apple pulling the plug now will have many reasons. Am now also too long in it to still wonder …;-) Here it is also about a business and positioning.

Hey, Roger. Well, I also come from the printing/publishing business background in Warsaw (not too far from you), but in my time there was no PostScript yet. Linotypes and Monotypes were what my co-workers used for setting the text. Anyway, I have never used PostScript professionally. I do know, though, that PostScript caused a revolution in desktop publishing.

As people speculate, Apple made this decision for security reasons and if that’s so, I applaud. But perhaps there were also some other reasons, I wonder? Maybe they are developing their own system, tightly integrated with macOS? Which wouldn’t be bad, either.

I am just wondering if the elimination of PostScript from WebKit will have any impact on how websites will be created.

This will not impact Variable or conventional web fonts. Variable fonts are loaded just like normal web fonts in CSS and then controlled with CSS. You can use Variable fonts in RW Stacks but will have to provide the CSS to control them. AFAIK there are no stacks that handle variable fonts.

No impact on fonts or font rendering for any browser, including Safari.

Webpages have been rendered using Core Graphics, specifically Quartz (that renders everything vector, including vector based fonts) for a while now (for Safari) and by Chromium’s built in renderer for other browsers.

Postscript was still supported by Core Graphics for opening PostScript files directly and converting PostScript to something Quartz can output, but has been deprecated for a while and now, in Sonoma, removed.

But that’s no biggy to be honest. Most folks who rely on PostScript use Adobe apps anyway, which use Adobe’s own version of PostScript of course. It’s third party PostScript compatible apps that rely on macOS’ built-in rendered that are now screwed.

I think the biggest stink is that you can’t quickly preview and print PostScript files from Finder directly anymore - you now have to launch an app (Illustrator, PhotoShop, Acrobat or a third party solution that doesn’t rely on macOS’ PS renderer).

The problem with PostScript is that commands in that script language can execute code. This is a potential security risk, which was frowned upon but tolerated because of the importance of supporting the scripting language. Apparently Apple now reckons the cons now outweigh the pros.