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Our web application converts pdf to png using ghostscript. Recently, a huge, over 60GB, temporary files was created on /tmp directory. Load average raised up to 18 near the time when this file was created. I'm completely lost on this, and would really appreciate any help. Thank you!


  • Ghostscript version is 8.70
  • OS is Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 5.2 (Tikanga)
  • PDF file as input existed on file server. File size is about 150MB, 2 pages, 445.8 x 323.2 mm, PDF 1.6 (Acrobat 7.x)
  • A problem of nfs occurred almost at the same time the file was created.
  • I can't know which is the root cause: file size, file content, or problem of nfs.
  • Content of /tmp when the file was created is:

    ls -lh /tmp
    -rw------- 1 apache apache 39K Jan 21 17:29 gs_eNsUng
    -rw------- 1 apache apache 66G Jan 29 12:12 gs_GamtbA
  • The application executes command such as:

    gs \
    -dSAFER \-dBATCH \
    -dNOPAUSE \
    -sDEVICE=png48 \
    -dTextAlphaBits=4 \
    -dGraphicsAlphaBits=4 \
    -dMaxStripSize=8192 \
    -dUseCropBox \
    -sOutputFile=[path of output image file] \
    [path of input pdf file]
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migrated from Jan 31 '13 at 21:59

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

up vote 1 down vote accepted

First, 8.70 is ANCIENT. Our most recent release (last August) was 9.06 and 9.07 release candidate is out and 9.07 is expected early Feb. (barring complications).

(ChrisL is our release coordinator).

-dMaxStripSize=_ is only used for tiff devices, not png* (but it is not a problem)

Sometimes -dBufferSpace=32000000 (default is 4000000) will reduce the clist size a bit. More likely this was a bug that has been fixed. Please retest with current code.

If this persists with newer code, we (Artifex) would need the file. In that case, please open a bug at

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I'm having the same problem using Ghostscript 9.05, and I found the following bug: which is written for Ghostscript not clearing its temporary files when it terminates abnormally.

Our application converts PDF to JPG and sometimes end-users will throw us PDFs that are not handled well by Ghostscript, so we time the process and kill it if it takes longer than a set time. It sounds like we need to also find and remove the temporary file in this situation until this bug is fixed.

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