Common Page Description Languages
Data sent to a printer must be in a language that the printer can understand.These languages are called Page Description Languages, or PDLs.
Plain ASCII text is the simplest way to send data to a printer.Characters correspond one to one with what will be printed: an A in the data prints an A on the page.Very little formatting is available.There is no way to select a font or proportional spacing.The forced simplicity of plain ASCII means that text can be printed straight from the computer with little or no encoding or translation.The printed output corresponds directly with what was sent.
Some inexpensive printers cannot print plain ASCII text.This makes them more difficult to set up, but it is usually still possible.
PostScript® is almost the opposite of ASCII.Rather than simple text, a PostScript® program is a set of instructions that draw the final document.Different fonts and graphics can be used.However, this power comes at a price.The program that draws the page must be written.Usually this program is generated by application software, so the process is invisible to the user.
Inexpensive printers sometimes leave out PostScript® compatibility as a cost-saving measure.
PCL is an extension of ASCII, adding escape sequences for formatting, font selection, and printing graphics.Many printers provide PCL5 support.Some support the newer PCL6 or PCLXL.These later versions are supersets of PCL5 and can provide faster printing.
Manual Configuration Of Lprng And Lpdfilter
Normally, the printing system is configured with YaST as describedin 6. SuSE Linux also includes the programlprsetup, which is a bare-bones command-line tool for theconfiguration of the LPRng and lpdfilter printing system.
When setting up a printer with YaST , it collects all necessary datathen runs lprsetup internally with all the necessaryoptions to write the actual LPRng and lpdfilter configuration.
lprsetup is intended as an expert tool. As such, it willnot provide any help to find the correct values for printer options.To see a brief list of the available command line options forlprsetup, enter lprsetup -help or refer tolprsetup and lpdfilter for further details.
For information regarding Ghostscript drivers and driver-specificoptions, read 6 and6.
Hewlett Packard Printer Command Language
Hp PCL or Hewlett Packard Printer Command Language was introduced by the Hewlett-Packard. It is independent of host system, device drivers, I/O interface, and network communications. Its purpose is to bring all HP printers together under a common control structure. HP used it in its first desktop laser printer. PCL is an Escape Code language. HP has been using this language for its dot-matrix and inkjet printers before the invention of laser printers. PCL commands are compact escape sequence codes that are embedded in the print job before being sent to the printer. PCL fonts quickly translate application output into high quality raster print images. PCL has several versions available.
PCL 1 was introduced in 1980. It is simple language having capabilities for basic printing. PCL 1 prints nothing but only text. Supported by all HP LaserJet series printers .
PCL 2 added Electronic Data Processing/Transaction functionality. Supported by all HP LaserJet series printers .
PCL 3 was introduced in 1984 with the original HP LaserJet. Released with the following printers:
HP LaserJet series printer,
HP LaserJet Plus series printer.
It provided the commands and features required for simple high quality word processing and data printing. Allowed for the use of a limited number of bitmapped fonts and graphics.
Released with the following printers: HP LaserJet Series II, HP LaserJet IID, HP LaserJet IIP, and HP LaserJet IIP Plus series printers.
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Features To Look For In A Printer
The four printer qualities of most interest to users are:
- Color: Most modern printers offer color printing. However, they can also be set to print in black and white. Color printers are more expensive to operate since they use two ink cartridges — one color and one black ink — or toners that need to be replaced after a certain number of pages are printed. Printing ink cartridges or toner cartridges are comprised of black, cyan, magenta and yellow ink. The ink can be mixed together, or it may come in separate monochrome solid ink printer cartridges, depending on the type of printer.
- Resolution: Printer resolution — the sharpness of text and images on paper — is usually measured in dots per inch . Most inexpensive printers provide sufficient resolution for most purposes at 600 dpi.
- Speed: If a user does a lot of printing, printing speed is an important feature. Inexpensive printers print only about 3 to 6 sheets per minute. However, faster printing speeds are an option with a more sophisticated, expensive printer.
- Memory: Most printers come with a small amount of memory — typically 2-16 megabytes– that can be expanded by the user. Having more than the minimum amount of memory is helpful and faster when printing out pages with large images.
The Lprng Print Spooler
The print spooler used by the LPRng and lpdfilter printing system isLPRng .
The print spooler lpd, or line printer daemon, is usuallystarted automatically on boot. More specifically, the script/etc/init.d/lpd is run as part of the boot procedure. Afterthis, the print spooler runs as a in the background. Start and stop itmanually with these commands:
These are the configuration files of LPRng:
- permission settings
According to the script /etc/init.d/lpd, the commandrclpd start also runs the command checkpc -f as asubprocess, which in turn creates spool directories with theappropriate permissions in /var/spool/lpd according to thequeues defined in /etc/printcap.
When started, the print spooler first reads the entries in/etc/printcap to see which print queues have been defined. Thespooler’s task is then to manage any jobs queued for printing. Inparticular, the spooler:
- manages local queues by passing the print data of each job to a print filter then sending it to the printer or to another queue
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The Issue With Gdi Printers
Because the printer drivers for Linux are usually not developed by the hardware manufacturer, it is crucial that the printer can be addressed with one of the common printer languages . Normal printers understand at least one of the common printer languages. However,GDI printers only work with the operating system versions for which the manufacturer has enclosed drivers, as they can only be addressed with special control sequences. As these printers cannot be addressed with any known standard, their use with Linux is impossible or difficult.
GDI is a programming interface developed by Microsoft for graphical devices. There is not much of a problem with the interface itself, but the fact that GDI printers can only be controlled through the proprietary language they use is an issue. A better name for them would be proprietary-language-only printers.
For some GDI printers, you may be able to obtain Linux drivers directly from the manufacturer. There is no guarantee that such vendor-made drivers will work with other or future Linux versions.
In any case, the above is only true for GDI models. In contrast, printers that understand one of the standard languages do not depend on a particular operating system nor do they require a particular Linux version. However, they often produce the highest quality of output when used with a vendor-made driver.
To our knowledge, the following GDI printers arenot supported by SUSE LINUX :
How To Choose A Compatible Printer Driver If You Cannot Locate A Printer Driver For Your Printer
The printer emulation type and the physical features of the printer are important printer property values. The physical features of the printer are things such as duplex mode and the number of paper trays. Printer emulation is the most important of these two printer property values.
Printer emulation describes the type of encoding that Windows uses to transmit the page data to the printer. Printer emulations are sometimes referred to as printing languages. A computer that is running a 64-bit version of Windows must transmit the page data in a language or emulation that the printer understands. If the computer that is running a 64-bit version of Windows does not use the correct emulation, print jobs are not decipherable.There are a small number of printer languages or emulations that are common. The following is a list of the most common printer languages or emulations:
Note There are many additional languages that are common on printers in the East Asian marketplace. This is because some East Asian regions require more complex fonts. Modern inkjet printers may not use a common set of printer languages. This is because precise ink control is typically a compatibility issue.To determine what emulation your printer supports, use either of the following methods:
Log on to the computer that is running a 64-bit version of Windows by using an account that has administrative permissions.
Double-click Add Printer.
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Technical Support For X64
Your hardware manufacturer provides technical support and assistance for x64-based versions of Windows. Your hardware manufacturer provides support because an x64-based version of Windows was included with your hardware. Your hardware manufacturer might have customized the installation of Windows with unique components. Unique components might include specific device drivers or might include optional settings to maximize the performance of the hardware. Microsoft will provide reasonable-effort assistance if you need technical help with your x64-based version of Windows. However, you might have to contact your manufacturer directly. Your manufacturer is best qualified to support the software that your manufacturer installed on the hardware. For product information about Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
For product information about x64-based versions of Microsoft Windows Server 2003, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
To see the Windows 7 Compatibility Center, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Installing The Epson Universal Printdriver
The selected products appear in the lower section ofthe screen.
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How To Locate A Compatible Printer Driver For Your Computer That Is Running A 64
We recommend that you first visit the Windows Vista Compatibility Center to find links to the latest 64-bit printer drivers. Its database contains thousands of the most popular printers and you can easily search by product name, number, or brand. If you cannot find the printer drivers, follow these methods in the following order.
Method 1: Search for a supported driver that is included in the Windows 64-bit operating system
Search for a supported driver that is included in the Windows 64-bit operating system. To do this, follow these steps:
On the computer that is running a 64-bit version of Windows, click Start, point to Settings, and then click Printers and Faxes.
Double-click Add Printer.
Click Next, and then follow the instructions on the screen.
Method 2: Search for a WHQL signed driver on the Microsoft Windows Update Web site
Search for a Windows Hardware Quality Labs signed driver on the Microsoft Windows Update Web site. To do this, click Start, click Windows Update, and then follow the instructions on the Windows Update Web site.
Method 3: Search for a WHQL signed driver on the printer manufacturer’s Web site
For information about how to search for a WHQL signed driver on the printer manufacturer’s Web site, contact your printer manufacturer.
Method 4: Search for a non-WHQL signed driver
The printer manufacturer’s Web site
Beta drivers on the printer manufacturer’s Web site
Computer hardware Web sites
Print Queues And Configurations
In most cases, you will want to set up more than one print queue forthe following reasons:
- If you have more than one printer, you need at least one queue for each of them.
If your model is a plain black-and-white printer, such as most laserprinters, it will be sufficient to configure just one standard queue.Color inkjets, on the other hand, require at least two differentqueues :
- A standard configuration for quick and inexpensive black-and-white printouts.
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Enabling And Testing A Parallel Port
depmod -a 2> /dev/nullrmmod lprmmod parport_pcrmmod parport
After this, reload the modules with:
modprobe parportmodprobe parport_pcmodprobe lp
echo -en "\rHello\r\f" > /dev/lp0
In the above command, the word Hello is enclosed in two \r ASCII characters to produce carriage returns. The closing ASCII character \f is included to produce a form feed. To test a second or third parallel port in the same way, use /dev/lp1 or /dev/lp2, respectively.
Issues That You May Experience When You Use A Compatible Printer Driver
If you select a compatible printer, you may experience compatibility issues. For example, if you want to print to a monochrome laser printer, you must find a printer driver that uses the same printer emulation. The same printer emulation typically makes sure that the document prints legibly. However, you may not have the required duplex feature available.If you print to a color laser printer, and you install a compatible printer driver that uses the same printer emulation, you can typically print decipherable documents. However, subtle differences in text color may not be preserved. This means that documents such as photographs may not print with a high image quality.If you print to a dot matrix printer device, and you install a compatible printer driver that uses the same printer emulation, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Some fonts in your print job may appear different from what you expect.
The printer may print slower because the print driver has to draw the fonts as a bitmap before printing can start.
It may be difficult to match an inkjet printer with a compatible printer driver. The rules that apply to other classes of printers do not always apply to inkjet printers. This is because of the many different types of inkjet printers on the market.Note Installing a WHQL signed printer driver that is designed to match your specific printer always produces better results.
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The Irda Printer Interface
With IrDA, the system uses an infrared interface to emulate a parallelport. To do so, the Linux drivers provide a simulated parallel portunder the device name of /dev/irlpt0. A printer connectedthrough infrared is handled in the same way as any other parallelprinter except it is made available to the system under the name of/dev/irlpt0 instead of /dev/lp0.
Test the connection to an IrDA printer by entering the command :
echo -en "\rHello\r\f" > /dev/irlpt0
If the printer is able to print ASCII text directly, this should printa single page with the word Hello on it.
Regardless of the outcome of the above test, the printer should appearin the output of irdadump. If the irdadump command is notavailable, install the package irda. If irdadump does not display theprinter, it is not possible to address the printer. If nothing isdisplayed, most likely the IrDA system service has not been started,as it is not started automatically when the system is booted. Enterthe following commands to start and stop the IrDA systems service:
Using Custom Postscript Preloads
PostScript preloads are small files containing PostScript commands that preceed the print data stream to initialize the printer or the Ghostscript program in the desired way. PostScript preloads are mostly used to enable duplex printing on PostScript printers or to activate a special paper tray. They can also be used for margin and gamma adjustments.
To use preloads, the PostScript printer or Ghostscript must be able to interpret the special commands. Ghostscript, for instance, does not interpret commands related to duplex printing or paper trays.
For this example, the queue testqueue is again used:
- Duplex Printing
- To enable or disable duplex printing, create the files /etc/lpdfilter/testqueue/duplexon.ps and /etc/lpdfilter/testqueue/duplexoff.ps with the following contents:
%!PS if pop
statusdict /setduplexmode known if pop
The following PostScript code can be used to revolve the back by 180degrees for duplex printing:
%!PSstatusdict /setduplexmode known if popstatusdict /settumble known if pop
- Paper Tray Selection
- To enable the default paper tray 0 or tray number 2, create the files/etc/lpdfilter/testqueue/tray0.ps and/etc/lpdfilter/testqueue/tray2.ps:
You need to know which color model is used by your printer to make this work. The values to use for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black or for red, green, and blue should be determined through testing. Normally, these should be in the range between 0.001 and 9.999.
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