Printing and Scanning
by Tony Butka
on the OS/2 Platform
This month's column is a kind of a hodge podge, but it is entirely due to the very qood questions that our members ask. First, folks want to know how the heck to print from WinOS2 or DOS with their neat C80 Epson printers! Well, according to Epson Tech Support, you should try an old esc/p2 driver. While I haven't had time to try it myself (yes I will real soon), if someone out there gives it a try let me know. I'm guessing that one of the old Epson stylus color drivers should at least give black and white text functionality, since the OS/2 drivers provide command line DOS black and white printing.
Another intrepid reader asked if the C80 drivers would work with Epson's newer C82. Again according to tech support they should work, although you might not get all of the latest greatest features. I don't have a C82 and so can't verify this, but if you do have one please give this a try and let me know if it works. I'll pass the tip on to everyone as verified if it succeeds....
Shifting gears slightly, you all know by now that I'm a big booster of postscript interpreters and pdf document formats, since they're seriously cross platform and as device independent (read printer brand name independent) as we're likely to get in the computer world. Well, I've been doing some research on the PostScript Level 3 specification, trying to verify if you can directly print (e.g. - using a command line direct to the printer) pdf files on a PS Level 3 printer.
While there's still some confustion - the spec clearly supports the idea, but there is some 'interesting' verbiage on the Adobe site about being an extended or optional part of the spec - I contacted a number of printer manufacturers (hey, why not go to the source) including HP, Xerox, Lexmark, and Epson, to try and get an answer with real printer models attached. With HP's, it looks like the 2500, 2600 and 3000 series of color inkjet postscript printers should work, as well as the business level PS3 lasers. Lexmark indicates that the color lasers C720, C750 and C910 will work, along with the monochrome lasers T420d, T520, T522, T620 and T622. Epson does not directly support postscript, and all the really neat software RIP's that they do have are Windows only, darn.
I'm cautiously optimistic about this idea of direct pdf printing, but what I'd really like for one of you out there to do is to print a pdf file directly to your cheapie PS Level 3 laser or inkjet and let me know that it really works. Pretty please!
The reason that it's so important lies in last month's article on GhostScript and GhostView, where the printer driver functionality is limited. It will always be limited, becuase printer manufacturers are always coming out with the latest greatest printer and driver support (for all operating systems) lags behind as profit margins shrink. If you don't believe me, try some of those early Windows XP printer drivers - ecch! The idea of being able to use the GhostView-GhostScript combo to view and manipulate postscript and pdf files with abandon, and then simply print to the printer direct is a very cool idea that can help OS/2 a lot. For example, you could fire up your WinOS2 or DOS program that no longer has print driver support, dump the output to a postscript or pdf file, and zip, you're there and can print directly to the postscript device. Enough on this for the moment, but I'm serious enough that I'll pop for a laser as soon as I can find an affordable one to play with.
Oh yes, remember all the hoopla about the cheapie Lexmark E210 lasers that I wrote about a long time ago and it turned out that many people could never find an OS/2 driver because they weren't postscript? I'm sure those that got one do. Well, if you are in that category, give this a whirl. There is a Lexmark driver out that looks to be a generic PCL driver for a whole bunch of the Optra and E series printers. The file is called OS32P5E.EXE (about 1.6 Mb download), and the driver date is 3/12/02 with a Version 2.720 on the file. I would try a couple of the E series drivers, and maybe e-mail tech support with your serial number to get some help. As always, let me know if it works.
Thanks, and see you next time. You can always reach me at
You might want to read the last 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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