Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Ghostscript: **** Unable to open the initial device, quitting.

6th October 2008

The above error message has been greeting me when creating PDF’s with Ghostscript on a Solaris box¬†and does need some translation. If you are directing output to a real printer, I suppose that it is sensible enough: nothing will happen unless you can connect to it. It gets a little less¬†obvious for PDF creation and seems to mean that the pdfwrite virtual device is unable to create the specified output file. A first port of call would be check that you can write to the directory where you are putting the new PDF file. In my case, there seems to be another cause so I’ll have to keep looking for a solution.

Update: I have since discovered the cause of this: a now defunct TEMP assignment in the .profile file for my user account. Removing that piece of code resolved the problem.

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