OS/2, eCS & ArcaOS - Technical > Hardware

Cups or not Cups

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Einar Lygre:
I intend to buy me a color laser printer. At the moment I think of Epson Aculaser C2900N, or Canon i-Sensys LBP7750CDN or Canon i-Sensys 7680Cx. The problem is that there are no printer drivers for eCS, and the printers are not in the Gutenprint list for supported printers. I guess the printers are too new. But all of them have emulation for Adobe Postscript 3. So my question is if I can print directly from eCS using postscript and forget about Cups or do I have to copy my print jobs to a common volume with MS, reboot and print from there as I often have to do today.

Alex Taylor:
As long as the printers have hardware Postscript emulation then you should be fine printing from eCS without the need for CUPS.

(That said, certain applications nowadays like qpdfview require CUPS for printing in any case. But if you're not using CUPS now then you won't miss anything that you aren't already.)

Whether you can use the printer's own native PPD or have to use a 'generic' Postscript driver is a bit of a question mark, but IMHO that's not really a serious issue; printing should work fine in either case.

I wish the world of printers behaved as nicely as Alex claims.  Unfortunately, they don't.  I have a Dell printer at home, and even got the appropriate ppd file.  But printing does not work (for example regarding pdf files the printed document comes out as the aschii version of the pdf).

On the positive side - at work we have Ricoh printers, and they are well-behaved.  I have no familiarity with Canon printers, and therefore I dare not provide any advice to Einar on this matter except two:

* If you have a notebook, bring it and ask to hook it up to the Canon demo printers in the store.  Of course, that is not an option if you buy online. 

* Check out the experiences of other eCS users on the named Canon printer -- and this site is one of the best places to that.Good luck, and Einar (and others) please keep us informed about your findings!

Are you looking at local (connected to the computer you are printing from) or network printing?

If it is local you stand a good chance of it working, if it over a network forget it, unless you want to jump through hoops.  I have been unable to get any network printer to print jobs directly from any OS/2 computer using cups or samba to our password protected print servers.  Any printing we need is done by printing to file with the resultant prn file being sent to win XP running in VirtualBox on an OS/2 machine and from there to the print servers.

Doug Bissett:

--- Quote ---If it is local you stand a good chance of it working, if it over a network forget it, unless you want to jump through hoops.
--- End quote ---

Actually, that depends a lot on the printer. A while back, I helped my brother to get a Canon MP620 multifunction printer to print. It took some messing around, and a lot of help (especially from Paul Smedley), to get CUPS to go. After trying the different options, network connected (wireless) turned out to be the best option (it requires the bjnp.exe backend, which has never been made available at netlabs, AFAIK). We never did try to get the scanner to work (ran out of time).

Recently, my neighbor decided that he was going to replace his two HP printers, so he did, and he gave me the old ones (great neighbor). One is a HP Photosmart C4180, USB connected printer. That was harder to get working than the HP Photosmart D110a, which connects with wireless networking (the socket.exe backend). The usb.exe backend from Paul's web site is required to make the C4180, and any other USB attached printer, work properly ( I think).

FWIW, I think that HP printers are the most likely to work, wireless, or USB connected. I can also make both of them scan successfully (using the sane command line), but that is harder to get going. I did have the C4180 scanning from TAME (the one that came with the first eCS 2.2. beta), but when I tried to get TAME to scan from the D110a, all TAME scanning quit working, and I haven't found the trick to get it working again on the C4180. Both still work with the sane command line.

One GREAT thing about the D110a (running wireless networking), is that I can use Firefox to browse the built in web page, and one of the options is to use what they call "webscan", which scans whatever is in the scanner, and then you can simply save the picture, just like you would for a picture from the internet. I don't know if other printers have that feature, and I am pretty sure that the printer needs to be network connected for that to work.

I am not sure what printer my neighbor got to replace the old printers (they are two of the same - probably HP -  one for work, and one for home). When he gets home (could be a couple of days), I will try to find out, and see if I can get them to work with eCS.

One other BIG advantage of using a network connected printer, is that you can use it from any machine, that has an appropriate driver installed. That includes from inside of a virtual machine, without worrying about connecting to a host machine (the printer is it's own host).

CUPSWIZ (the GUI for CUPS setup), sort of works, but it needs a LOT of work to get it right. The main thing is to set the name, and description, to something less than 8 characters, or it will not match what gets set in the CUPS configuration. Then, both HP printers wanted to use a name, and description, that is about 25 characters long. The result was that both got the same Physical name (the first 8 characters of the description, I think), which resulted in two drivers, for the same printer, rather than two printers, with separate drivers. Needless to say, that didn't work at all.

The best part of all of this, is that I can now retire my old Canon i960 printer, and my ancient Epson ES1000c SCSI scanner. That frees up a good chunk of desk space, and it didn't cost me more than about 30 sheets of paper (testing them).   :)


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