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Using the 'Net Distillery Service


11-Nov-2006: Maintenance Issues

Due to security incursions via vulnerabilities exposed through the FTP service, access via FTP is now shut down. Sorry for any inconvenience. Access is via HTTP (web browser) access only now.

30-May-2006: Ten Years of Distillery!

Hard to believe, but the Distillery has been in operation for TEN years!

26-May-2006: No more dependance on file extensions!

If you upload a valid Postscript file, it no longer matters what file extension it has. Distiller will now check the file for a valid postscript header. If it finds one, it assumes that it's a valid postscript file regardless of the file extension. It does the same with ZIP files. If you run into any problems, please let me know right away (

02-Jul-2004: Web Browser Uploads and More!

The web browser based postscript file upload is working again. In fact it has been significantly improved. You can now select the PDF version you want to generate as well as conversion options for screen, eBook, print, etc.

It's actually embarassing that it's been an FTP only application for so long. Now that the browser based upload works, it is accessable to users with locked down firewalls and users who have to go through application proxy servers.

23-Jun-2004: Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!

Encouraged by a comment from a Distillery user, I chose today as the day to migrate to AFPL Ghostscript v.8.14 AND to move from producing PDF v.1.2 format (Acrobat v.3) output files to PDF v.1.4 format output files (Acrobat v.5 or newer).

These changes should result in more compact, better looking files.

The Basics

If you're having problems with NetDistillery see the TroubleShooting Page or for a detailed description see the Current Status Section.


    What is it? The Internet Distillery allows for the conversion of postscript files into Adobe Acrobat Reader compatible PDF files. It's free. It is intended for people who need to create PDF documents but don't have Adobe's Distiller product.

    The Distillery uses a free product called Ghostscript to perform the conversion. Sometimes referred to as "PS2PDF", "PDF Creation", "PDF Writing", or "Postscript Compiling" it takes postscript commands as input and creates a screen viewable file as output.

  1. Upload your postscript file ( xxx.PS ) or Zipped postscript file ( xxx.ZIP ) into the INBOX using your web browser.

  2. Within a few minutes, depending on load, you should be able to pick up a .PDF file in (THE OUTBOX):

    Check the current Distillery log file. Previous days' log files are named:

    and are located in the outbox along with the PDFs.


Distillery automatically checks the INBOX for postscript and ZIP files. If you upload a valid postscript file, the service sends the file on to Ghostscript for processing. If you upload a ZIP file, the service "Unzips" it, then sends it to Ghostscript for processing.

TIP: If you have multiple files to upload, compress them into a single zip file for ease of uploading. Unfortunately, the script that handles the files is not sophisticated enough (yet) to determine which of them belong together at the out end.

Your output ( in .PDF format ) can be found in the OUT box. PDF is relativly compact and ZIPping it does not usually buy you much, consequently only the PDF format can be found in the OUT box.

Known Bugs

If you upload a file with the same name twice, the second time it will clobber the contents of the first. In effect, you get a poor man's delete (see below) by uploading a minimal (it must be a valid postscript file) postscript file for processing.

To work around accidental deletion of your files by others, use unique names. E.g. where I've included the date, a serial number (00) and my e-mail address for example.

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