Printing and Scanning
by Tony Butka
on the OS/2 Platform
File this one under the heading of best kept secrets -- Lexmark has a set of firmware updates for their Optra Color 40 and 45 series of color inkjet printers that I rave about so often. Good luck finding them, however, since they (Lexmark) evidently make no attempt to let folks know. Just for you, the location is:
If you have a 45, go up a level and you will find the directory for the Optra c45 updates as well.
By the way, a big thanks to Timothy Sipples for this tip.
- Download the files,
- Unzip the exe file and you wind up with a .fls file.
- From a command line, type in
copy /b 322_05.fls lpt1
(Note - substitute the right printer port if your printer isn't on lpt1, and the right file name if you're using an Optra 45 or Xerox C20.)
In case you haven't noticed, with declining tech support almost all printer manufacturers have stopped letting folks know about fixes and such -- under all operating systems, by the way. Remember, these firmware fixes are operating system independent. And for the Winx stuff, everyone assumes that Windows users are stupid, so they simply update their web links to the latest greatest drivers and the consumer doesn't have a clue that he/she is really downloading patched updates..
While I have no indication as to exactly what is fixed by these updates, if you're having problems with your Optra/Xerox printer, you might want to give them a whirl.
Speaking of which, I personally was bit by one of these bugs when I installed eCS with the latest greatest printer driver files for my Xerox C20 (aka Optra 45). The darn thing wouldn't print out certain stuff, like web pages! Grrh! Anyhow, it turns out that somewhere along the line, the IBM postscript drivers changed something in the Times New Roman fonts (the default font, of course) which creates problems for "certain Lexmark printers." Duh! If you are bit with this one, the fix is to go back to Fixpak6 and get the Times New Roman fonts and backlevel them. For those of you who are technically impaired, Chuck McKinnis of recent eCS fame has been kind enough to put these files up on his server at http://pws.prserv.net/mckinnis/code/tnrfp6.zip
Installation is simple. Unzip the files, and copy them to the postscript directory \psfonts and \psfonts\pfm respectively. On my system that's d:\psfonts.
Finally, we come to the issue of you who want to have both PCL as well as postscript drivers for your trusty old Lexmark 40/45 printers. I've had a lot of people ask for this one. We have a solution, and thanks to Jordan Fox for this one! It turns out he actually got to a real tech support person at Lexmark, and they sent him a file called os32p5e.exe. (It's available for download from
Lexmark - scroll down the page and you'll find it.) Just run the file and it self-extracts into a very nice readme, and the ibmpcl5 driver files. The driver works on a whole host of IBM and Lexmark printers besides the Optra 40/45 (In fact, they are not mentioned in the text). Follow the instructions in the readme, and you can create a separate printer object for your PCL printer.
I've also heard that many folks have had great success using the PCL printer driver for the HP 1200. Note that this was also a postscript color inkjet printer.
For SCOUG members, the files referenced here have been submitted for inclusion on the January SCOUG CD of the month. For the rest of you, try the links here and if all else fails,
email me care of SCOUG.
OK, all this stuff brings up a couple of generic pointers that should apply to whatever printer you have, even if its not a Lexmark. First, and I can't say this enough -- try older printer drivers for the same manufacturer and type of printer that you have. If the HP890 or 855 drivers won't work, give the 800x series drivers a try. Same for Epson, Cannon, etc. Give those Omni drivers a workout! And, let me know what combination works. I'll share it with everyone and give you credit.
Second, I get a lot of folks who are always worried that OS/2 doesn't have driver support for the latest greatest Fry's special printer that will do everything and costs under $100. Well, be assured that I monitor a lot of newsgroups and lists, even some for Winx, and be advised that you aren't missing out on that much. The new printers (particularly Epson) are more designed to have cartridge designs so you can only get ink from the manufacturer than to deliver any substantial technical improvements. Also, a lot of the drivers that ship with these new printers have bugs, bugs, bugs. Let someone else do the beta testing for you..
As always, if you have a tip, a suggestion, or a problem,
email me at SCOUG. See you next month.
You might want to read last month's Ink.
By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.
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