SCO Unix/System V Printing FAQ
This article is from a FAQ concerning SCO operating
systems. While some of the information may be applicable to any OS,
or any Unix or Linux OS, it may be specific to SCO Xenix, Open
There is lots of Linux, Mac OS X and general Unix info elsewhere on
this site: Search this site is the best
way to find anything.
You could also use Visionfs
or Samba, but there are now Windows printers that require
Windows software and those won't work even that way. These are
generally less expensive units, and won't mention Dos or Macintosh
or anything but Windows in their descriptions. At this moment, I
don't know any way to have these work on Unix, but I did receive a
great suggestion on this:
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 16:05:40 -0500
From: David DiPietro <email@example.com>
Organization: Abacus Systems Inc
Subject: HOST BASED PRINTERS
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
I was looking for a solution to an lpstat hang problem in SCO unix with
TCP based printer server and I noticed you have a remark that you could
not get the "cheapo" windows printers to work from Unix. I had a
conversation with an engineer at Lexmark recently about this.
Apparently, due to some quirk in the HP PCL licensing agreements,
printer manufacturers must pay HP a royalty if they use PCL code in the
printer firmware. If they use an emulation in the driver, however, they
do not have to pay the royalty. So, manufacturers like Lexmark and
Cannon have developed their own machine language to communicate between
windows and the printer. The windows driver converts the HP PCL
commands to their own machine language and uses that to drive the
printer. Since the driver is specific to windows, the printer will not
work under any other operating system - including DOS. A sure fire way
to check is to boot the machine to DOS and try a print-screen. Note
that if you shell to DOS it will still print because the windows print
manager is still resident. All this to save a few bucks!
I did find a way around this using a shared drive and an emulator that
lets you submit DOS commands from the Unix host. We use a product from
April Designs in Sweden called Fusion95 to take the place of Advanced
File and Printer Server, and an emulator called ANITA from the same
company. If you have never seen these products, check out APRIL.SE -
they have 30 day trial versions available for download.
The way I get this to work is by modifying the standard or dumb model to
put the output in a shared directory on the server. When the file is
done spooling, I issue a DOS COPY command to the emulator to COPY the
file to the printer port. Since windows is active, the print manager
picks up the file and does the proper translation to machine code before
sending it to the printer.
In the real world, I do not recommend that our users buy these host
based printers to use with Unix. It would cost us more to support them
than the printers are worth. With REAL laser's coming down in price,
I hope I was able to provide you with some information you didn't
David DiPietro/Abacus Systems Inc.
Sussex, NJ (973) 875-9900
Got something to add? Send me email.
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