Postscript printer recommendations

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Postscript printer recommendations

Jonathan Drews-3
Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
work
with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
printers? I am running OpenBSD 6.5 as a desktop. Any advice would be
appreciated. Also, I just want to use printcap and lpd. I would like to
avoid CUPS. Kind Regards,
Jonathan
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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

ropers
On 13/07/2019, Jonathan Drews <> wrote:
> Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> work
> with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
> Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
> Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
> printers? I am running OpenBSD 6.5 as a desktop. Any advice would be
> appreciated. Also, I just want to use printcap and lpd. I would like to
> avoid CUPS. Kind Regards,
> Jonathan

I don't have advice on what's a good PostScript printer or PS printer
brand, however here's why I personally consider Xerox a bad vendor and
bad actor, because here's what's wrong with my Xerox Phaser 6130N:

* It comes with steganography built in.[1][2]  They never tell you
about this.  Do you trust that NONE of the recipients of any letters
you print will ever extract the stego-info establishing a link between
that printer and you, making that printer more or less personally
identifiable to you?  (That's assuming you're not in huge free-for-all
communal living with a very large unmonitored "anyone can print here"
pool.)  Do you trust all recipients to not sell that valuable info to
the highest bidder or national political police[3], so in case you
ever engage in any whistleblowing[4] or activism, or truthful
journalism about, say, Venezuela, Russia, Iran, the Five Eyes and the
NSA will already have your info on file?[5]  Btw., if you register
your purchase like Xerox want you to, that link to you is established
by default.  Apparently they've a built-in RTC too since they secretly
timestamp your documents as well; because *that's* useful to you.  All
without your prior knowledge and consent.
So they advertised a printer that I bought and paid them for based on
their offer and representation, but unbeknownst to me at the time, the
printer had a surveillance anti-feature built in that significantly
undermines my privacy every time I use it.  Xerox do not let me turn
the spy dots off either, because they're not there for me, they're
there against me.  If I sold the girl next door an electric shower
with a camera built in that spies on her without her prior knowledge
and consent every time she uses it, what would you think of me?  That's
what I think of Zerox, and I'm keeping that typo because nomen est
omen.  Worse, Xerox apparently pioneered this.  They invented this.
It wasn't just, some secret court in a totalitarian country forced
them to.  They went out of their way to mislead their customers into
significant vulnerability and privacy liability.  In this, Xerox's
business by misrepresentation and then exploitation is unethical to
the point of fraud, and to the extent it's organised and they've done
this secretly, in bed with TLAs, Xerox are a RICO.  Do you want to buy
a printer from your friendly neighbourhood RICO?
I would have sued their arse over it, it was just, I was not doing so
well at the time, and couldn't deal with fighting an additional
battle, so I felt I had no choice but to keep using the printer for
the time being, and that's turned into years, and in fairness, I still
have issues.  Not everyone is equipped to get into a fist fight with a
RICO.  That doesn't mean I approve or consent, just that my energy and
options are limited.

* The printer has alignment issues.  They're not severe, but if you do
any crafting etc. where you expect the page to be exactly centered, it
won't be.  I've never figured out how to fix this on the printer, and
trying to compensate elsewhere is a PITA.

* The printer has colour management issues.  They're not severe, but a
colour page may be printed a tad too dark, and compensating in e.g.
GIMP by brightening things up there before printing is a stupid hack.

* The printer has toner adherence issues, where a full-colour print
may throw lots of toner onto the paper and especially some of the
darker toner won't properly stick to the paper and may flake off.
This may be related to the colour management issues too, i.e. it's
trying to fuse an excess of toner.  In fairness, I now buy refill
toner because fuck giving Xerox any more money, and it may be that
this is slightly worse on non-original toner -- maybe.  I'm sure Xerox
would eagerly say that's the only reason, but in my experience, not
really.  Also, any deliberate incompatibility with third party COTS
toner is an anti-feature too.  Oh, and Xerox put an ID chip in their
toner cartridges too for pretty much mostly that reason.

* The fuser broke too soon, after not much use and had to be replaced.
I'm sure Xerox would also pick up on that as an excuse for the toner
adherence issues, but not in my experience, it's happened before as
well.  Apparently a plastic cogwheel split just from heat from just
leaving the printer on standby, which I didn't even do that long or
that often, not anything like in a commercial office.

Is there an alternative? I still don't know, but would also appreciate
advice, just like you.

It is of course possible that any non-Xerox vendor not known to
include printer steganography may include some anyway, just in a more
sneaky way not currently known.  I don't think that exculpates
Xerox.  On this too, any advice or insight would be welcome.

Ian

PS: I've never gotten just printcap and lpd to work, but that's
probably because I'm wildly incompetent.  It's probably best not to
ask me for printer setup and configuration advice.

[1] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steganograpy#Printed>
    <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_Identification_Code>
[2] And yes, I've confirmed and looked at the dots with my own eyes.
[3] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Bureau_of_Investigation>
[4] what's happening to Julian Assange being the textbook example how
dangerous an activity even merely whistleblower-supplied journalism
can be, not to mention how dangerous whistleblowing is
[5] Xerox printers. Chilling effects guaranteed. Well, once you figure
out that we're tracking you.

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Christian Weisgerber
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3
On 2019-07-13, "Jonathan Drews" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> work
> with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
> Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
> Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
> printers?

Your question is confused and self-contradictory.

A "Postscript printer" processes Postscript itself.

By contrast, Ghostscript is used to process Postscript on the host
computer and send the raster data to a dumb printer that cannot
handle Postscript by itself.

So which type of printer are you asking about?

--
Christian "naddy" Weisgerber                          [hidden email]

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Roderick
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3

On Sat, 13 Jul 2019, Jonathan Drews wrote:

> Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> work with Ghostscript (Postscript).

If you find a printer that understands postcript, then you will be
perhaps happy. You will not need Ghostscript.

Otherwise, you need to translate the postscript file that you want
to print to the language of the printer: this is done with
ghostscript, as far as it supports this language.

Perhaps a PCL printer + Ghostscript? I use a HP Laserjet 4l and am very
happy. Inexpensive printing, but unfortunately HP does not support it
anymore, perhaps it will get difficult to get the toner.

Perhaps the following helps you to see what language a printer supports
and how, if possible, to configure it with ghostscript:

https://wiki.linuxfoundation.org/openprinting/database/databaseintro

But see also for a specific printer how expensive is the toner cartridge
and how many pages you can print with it.

Rod.

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Jonathan Drews-3
In reply to this post by Christian Weisgerber
On Sat, Jul 13, 2019 at 03:22:16PM -0000, Christian Weisgerber wrote:

> On 2019-07-13, "Jonathan Drews" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> > work
> > with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
> > Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
> > Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
> > printers?
>
> Your question is confused and self-contradictory.
>
> A "Postscript printer" processes Postscript itself.
>
> By contrast, Ghostscript is used to process Postscript on the host
> computer and send the raster data to a dumb printer that cannot
> handle Postscript by itself.
>
> So which type of printer are you asking about?
>
> --
> Christian "naddy" Weisgerber                          [hidden email]
>

Thanks Christian:

 I am not familiar with Postsript printers. Thanks for correcting
me. I want something that will work with Ghostscript and not
depend on Printer Command Language (PCL). There are two reasons
for this:

The printcap is easy to configure. Here is a sample printcap I
came across in misc:
1)
lp|xerox|Xerox_WorkCenter_3225:\
    :lp=/dev/ulpt0:\
    :sh:sd=/var/spool/output/lpd:\
    :lf=/var/log/lpd-errs:

2)
 I read that Postscript printers produce superior graphics (from
Xerox website):

Pros:

Graphical objects are often more detailed.
The same print file should print identically on two or more
different print devices. (This most beneficial when used for
printing drafts on one printer then sending out to a printing
company for production.)

Cons:

Print processing can be slow.
Not found in as many platforms as PCL.
Print file and memory requirements are larger.

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Lyndon Nerenberg (VE6BBM/VE7TFX)
>  I am not familiar with Postsript printers. Thanks for correcting
> me. I want something that will work with Ghostscript and not
> depend on Printer Command Language (PCL).

Just search for a printer that supports Postscript.  Many laser printers
do.  I have an HP LaserJet M402dn.  It supports Postscript level 3 and
speaks USB and Ethernet (lpr at the least, maybe IPP as well).

Low volume monochrome, prints duplex, reasoably inexpensive.

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

nothingness
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3
On 13/07/2019 08:06, Jonathan Drews wrote:
> Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> work
> with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
> Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
> Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
> printers? I am running OpenBSD 6.5 as a desktop. Any advice would be
> appreciated. Also, I just want to use printcap and lpd. I would like to
> avoid CUPS. Kind Regards,
> Jonathan


Brother appear to include PostScript in their printers, my HL-3170CDW
certainly has it.

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Jiri B-3
In reply to this post by Christian Weisgerber
> On 2019-07-13, "Jonathan Drews" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> > work
> > with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
> > Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
> > Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
> > printers?

Ghostscript is a filter app which converts various inputs to a PDL
(page definition language)
which a printer supports. I would recommend reading 'Printers' chapter
in older edition
of 'UNIX and Linux system administration handbook', it describes all
things in human
language :) Anyway, to learn more about printing, just write a filter
which would `cat' input
file to a 'output' file, you will see that top of the file data
contains additional info like user
invoking the printing etc... Very interesting for curious people.

j.

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

antithesis
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3
I have had great success with 'Brother' brand printers. They support postscript very well. Another feature of them that I like is that I can print pdf files to them directly via lpd.

Additionally, I like that they don't have any hard drive and/or permanent storage, which means that there is no ability for the printer to save your documents, which is nice as it means they can be sold or disposed of without worry about personal information being accessible.

The model I have also supports uploading scanned documents to an FTP or SFTP server, which is great, as it allows me to have a working multifunction office printer with no drivers required.


Jul 12, 2019, 11:06 PM by [hidden email]:

> Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> work
> with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
> Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
> Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
> printers? I am running OpenBSD 6.5 as a desktop. Any advice would be
> appreciated. Also, I just want to use printcap and lpd. I would like to
> avoid CUPS. Kind Regards,
> Jonathan
>

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Ibsen S Ripsbusker
On Sat, Jul 13, 2019, at 18:52, [hidden email] wrote:
> The model I have also supports uploading scanned documents to an FTP or
> SFTP server, which is great, as it allows me to have a working
> multifunction office printer with no drivers required.

This would make scanning so much easier for me. What model do you have?

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Tomasz Rola
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3
On Sat, Jul 13, 2019 at 08:06:07AM +0200, Jonathan Drews wrote:
> Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> work
> with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
> Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
> Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
> printers? I am running OpenBSD 6.5 as a desktop. Any advice would be
> appreciated. Also, I just want to use printcap and lpd. I would like to
> avoid CUPS. Kind Regards,
> Jonathan

I am not sure why you want to avoid CUPS.

In case it is not clear, Postscript is just a programming language
(stack based, somewhat like contorted Forth with graphics
instructions, go have a /usr/bin/less on your favourite *.ps file and
see). The printer "supporting Postscript" is just the one with CPU and
enough memory to run interpreter inside the box.

Thus, just like one feeds txt file to raw printer and gets raw txt
display, so - I think - one feeds ps file and printer runs it,
resulting in printing page (consecutive pages). I believe no special
filter is necesary, because ps files start with magic line (well, some
do not, possibly those produced by some proprietary programs, but I
cannot recall right now) and chances are, PS-printer will recognize
such line and act accordingly.

However, I have seen documents, even single pages, with so many
details that Ghostview running on relatively recent computer choked on
it. I have no idea how much memory PS-printer can have, but I would
not count on it having enough. My current desktop has 12gigs and four
cores (not very fast), but obviously only one is tired by GV.

I would try going with CUPS and printer with good resolution. Unless
you have very specific needs requiring exactly such device (hard to
tell, specific people have specific needs). But why running an
interpreter and producing a bitmap onboard a printer would be better
than running an interpreter (possibly up-to-dated) and sending a
bitmap to the printer? Would one be able to spot a difference? Just
curious.

--
Regards,
Tomasz Rola

--
** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:[hidden email]             **

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

antithesis
In reply to this post by antithesis
I'm currently travelling so can't confirm, but i'm 99% sure it's an MFC-L5700DW


Jul 13, 2019, 12:22 PM by [hidden email]:

> On Sat, Jul 13, 2019, at 18:52, [hidden email] wrote:
>
>> The model I have also supports uploading scanned documents to an FTP or
>> SFTP server, which is great, as it allows me to have a working
>> multifunction office printer with no drivers required.
>>
>
> This would make scanning so much easier for me. What model do you have?
>

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Jonathan Drews-3
In reply to this post by Tomasz Rola
On Sun, Jul 14, 2019 at 06:03:05AM +0200, Tomasz Rola wrote:

> On Sat, Jul 13, 2019 at 08:06:07AM +0200, Jonathan Drews wrote:
> > Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> > work
> > with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
> > Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
> > Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
> > printers? I am running OpenBSD 6.5 as a desktop. Any advice would be
> > appreciated. Also, I just want to use printcap and lpd. I would like to
> > avoid CUPS. Kind Regards,
> > Jonathan
>
> I am not sure why you want to avoid CUPS.
 
I have had difficulty getting cups to work in the past. I am just a simple
desktop user, so I really don't have a great grasp of computer
fundamentals. That begs the question as to why a desktop user would
use a complicated system like OpenBSD. Short answer:

1)Speed and stability. OpenBSD is fast! What prompted this post was that
my Windows 10 computer completely mangled a simple print job when I
needed to get a shipment off. I am so done with things being
constantly broken by Windows updates.

2) OpenBSD man pages are the best!

3) OpenBSD is very stable.

4) Utilities like dc, mg, pdksh, Vi and EMACS are indispensible.

5) Dump and restore are important because I have a lot of expensive
embroidery files on my OpenBSD computer.

6) Xterm based Mplayer plays videos better than  Windows! That is
super important because I have a lot of video classes.

So for all those reasons, I want to get printing working.

I never could get CUPS working in previous versions of OpenBSD.
Also, IIRC CUPS requires chown and chmod to certain /dev files. I am
loathe to do that. I really don't want to mess with root file
permissions. IMHO, if you need a service, then add your account to
the appropriate group in /etc/groups.

> In case it is not clear, Postscript is just a programming language
> (stack based, somewhat like contorted Forth with graphics
> instructions, go have a /usr/bin/less on your favourite *.ps file and
> see). The printer "supporting Postscript" is just the one with CPU and
> enough memory to run interpreter inside the box.
>
> Thus, just like one feeds txt file to raw printer and gets raw txt
> display, so - I think - one feeds ps file and printer runs it,
> resulting in printing page (consecutive pages). I believe no special
> filter is necesary, because ps files start with magic line (well, some
> do not, possibly those produced by some proprietary programs, but I
> cannot recall right now) and chances are, PS-printer will recognize
> such line and act accordingly.
>
> However, I have seen documents, even single pages, with so many
> details that Ghostview running on relatively recent computer choked on
> it. I have no idea how much memory PS-printer can have, but I would
> not count on it having enough. My current desktop has 12gigs and four
> cores (not very fast), but obviously only one is tired by GV.
>
> I would try going with CUPS and printer with good resolution. Unless
> you have very specific needs requiring exactly such device (hard to
> tell, specific people have specific needs). But why running an
> interpreter and producing a bitmap onboard a printer would be better
> than running an interpreter (possibly up-to-dated) and sending a
> bitmap to the printer? Would one be able to spot a difference? Just
> curious.
>
According to Xerox's web page on Postscript, they claim that
Postscript gives higher quality renderings:

"Unlike PCL, PostScript is device independent. This means that the
PostScript language creates all of the print data and does not rely
on the printer for print data. This allow the output to be
consistent when printed on more than one type of printer or print
device. Specifically, the graphic objects will be consistent and in
some cases of higher quality than PCL."

> --
> Regards,
> Tomasz Rola
>
> --
> ** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
> ** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
> ** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
> **                                                                 **
> ** Tomasz Rola          mailto:[hidden email]             **

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Roderick
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3

On Sat, 13 Jul 2019, Jonathan Drews wrote:

I hope that you got it: with a postscript printer you do not need
ghostscript.

> The printcap is easy to configure. Here is a sample printcap I
> came across in misc:
> 1)
> lp|xerox|Xerox_WorkCenter_3225:\
>    :lp=/dev/ulpt0:\
>    :sh:sd=/var/spool/output/lpd:\
>    :lf=/var/log/lpd-errs:

For a printer using ghostscript you will need one field more. I
have for my PCL printer:

lp|lj4l:\
         :lp=/dev/ulpt0:\
         :if=/usr/local/libexec/lpr/iflj4l:\
         :sh:sd=/var/spool/output/lpd:lf=/var/log/lpd-errs:

my file iflj4l contains a filter that translates Postcript to PCL
for the lj4l printer. Well, it does in my case something more.
This filter is normaly a script that calls gs (Ghostcript).

You can see here how to write the script:

https://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/printing-lpd.html

Or just google for a specific printer: you are not the only one with
the problem.

You do not need cups.

Rodrigo.

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

chohag
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3
Jonathan Drews writes:
> > I am not sure why you want to avoid CUPS.

Not a terrible propsal because it is a bloated piece of crap, but on the other hand it must interface with the satanc devices we call printers so concessions must perhaps be made.

> fundamentals. That begs the question as to why a desktop user would
> use a complicated system like OpenBSD. Short answer:

Generally, don't. OpenBSD is not designed for users. They might (and frequently do) get some mileage out of it but when something goes wrong they're in the same place as the rest of us: on their own.

> I never could get CUPS working in previous versions of OpenBSD.

I'm afraid I've never tried because I just gave up on printing. Paying 10p per sheet to do it around the corner is easier, cheaper and puts my sanity at less risk (but librarians, man...).

On the few occasions when cups has been the answer, I've spun up or found somewhere a linux box/VM and used that. God knows what it's doing underneath as I mash my way through the clicky gui but I can just print the dozen or so sheets I need and nuke the entire thing without having to care about such trivial concerns as security or long-term reliability.

Good luck.

> Also, IIRC CUPS requires chown and chmod to certain /dev files. I am
> loathe to do that. I really don't want to mess with root file
> permissions. IMHO, if you need a service, then add your account to
> the appropriate group in /etc/groups.

This is almost certainly possible and has already been arranged for.

> According to Xerox's web page on Postscript, they claim that
> Postscript gives higher quality renderings:
>
> "Unlike PCL, PostScript is device independent. This means that the
> PostScript language creates all of the print data and does not rely
> on the printer for print data. This allow the output to be
> consistent when printed on more than one type of printer or print
> device. Specifically, the graphic objects will be consistent and in
> some cases of higher quality than PCL."

This is misleading at best. PCL may be device-dependent but it's never used until the device is known and only for the final communication with that device. Whether it and your computer use PCL as a private protocol to convey part-processed postscript is a largely irrelevant cost-saving method introduced by printer manufacturers so that they don't need to implement a full-blown (turing-complete) postscript interpreter in what these days is disposable hardware.

Their last sentence is as close as you can get to an outright lie without actually lying.

As mentioned elsewhere, postscript is just a programme which is interpreted by a software running on a CPU to produce a raster image. What does it matter whether it's done by your computer's CPU or the printer's?

Matthew

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Tomasz Rola
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3
On Sun, Jul 14, 2019 at 12:09:20AM -0600, Jonathan Drews wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 14, 2019 at 06:03:05AM +0200, Tomasz Rola wrote:
> > On Sat, Jul 13, 2019 at 08:06:07AM +0200, Jonathan Drews wrote:
> > > Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
> > > work
> > > with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
[...]
> >
> > I am not sure why you want to avoid CUPS.
>  
> I have had difficulty getting cups to work in the past. I am just a simple
> desktop user, so I really don't have a great grasp of computer
> fundamentals. That begs the question as to why a desktop user would
> use a complicated system like OpenBSD. Short answer:
[...]

Overally, I agree with your opinions except with that saying that
OpenBSD is complicated. But it may be subjective. Try to imagine
someone who wants to change wheels in a big truck, in a middle of a
desert, with his bare hands (because the lousy car maker gave no
tools). This is how my experiences with Windows were so far and *this*
was complicated.

> I never could get CUPS working in previous versions of OpenBSD.
> Also, IIRC CUPS requires chown and chmod to certain /dev files. I am
> loathe to do that. I really don't want to mess with root file
> permissions. IMHO, if you need a service, then add your account to
> the appropriate group in /etc/groups.
>
[...]
> >
> According to Xerox's web page on Postscript, they claim that
> Postscript gives higher quality renderings:
>
> "Unlike PCL, PostScript is device independent. This means that the
[...]
> device. Specifically, the graphic objects will be consistent and in
> some cases of higher quality than PCL."

I smell marketing, unless they can show some examples which do not
look like being specially crafted to prove their case. Of course,
there might be differences - each time one wants to simulate a
continuous line from square/round dots, there was plenty of research
that went into achieving this illusion to satisfy the eye and I expect
each of the great printer companies to have some patented algorithms of
achieving the goal. But, since they are in the game for many decades,
I expect the results to be comparable.

Ok, so to sum up, so far you are ok with quality of your printer, just
not so happy with Windows side?

My own experience with CUPS was only so-so. About 7-10 years ago I
connected my old (by then) HPDJ 840C and things did not work. So I
mangled system a bit: I assumed one of the previous HPDJs was close
relative to mine, copy-pasted description of either 630 or 620c
(sumthing like this) and changed names to 840c (and maybe I changed
some more, I really do not remember, it should be in old config
files). From what I remember, CUPS caught up even though I was never
sure why. Perhaps I had to resign from using the highest dot density
supported by 840, but this was not a big deal since I wanted economic
print, so I used 300 and 150dpi and dithering, rather than more dpis
and full ink.

So, CUPS worked for me, after a while. However, I am not sure if I
would be able to help with setting it up - a year ago my twenty years
old dj went into cartoon box (inks and printing heads - they were
mostly ok but ink replacement dried up and I only printed once or
twice a month, each time having to unmount the cartridge and wash
heads in sumthin (sometimes isopropanol, sometimes lcd cleaner, which
ever was at hand). The CUPS side, however, once it was up, it stood
up, so I cannot complain. And it has got nice www interface, allowing
me to set up few virtual printers (say, one for color print, one for
300dpi, and so on). But, it could probably be set up without CUPS.

Perhaps you can arrange things so that you can try whichever printer
works for you and is supported on OBSD, and compare same printed pages
with whatever the bestest print thing there is in a nearby print shop?
From my experience (in my city and country) such shops are located
near universities and cater to students, so they must be
affordable. Chances are, the personnel will happily voice their
opinions on the subject (just like any other opinion, incl mine, apply
salt, especially that they may sell printers, too).

--
Regards,
Tomasz Rola

--
** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:[hidden email]             **

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Stuart Henderson
In reply to this post by Jonathan Drews-3
On 2019-07-13, ropers <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 13/07/2019, Jonathan Drews <> wrote:
>> Hi Folks:  I need some recommendations on what brand of printers will
>> work
>> with Ghostscript (Postscript). The cartridges for my 15 year old HP
>> Deskjet have gotten too expensive. I know Xerox makes some
>> Postscript printers. Are there any other manufactureres of Postscript
>> printers? I am running OpenBSD 6.5 as a desktop. Any advice would be
>> appreciated. Also, I just want to use printcap and lpd. I would like to
>> avoid CUPS. Kind Regards,
>> Jonathan
>
> I don't have advice on what's a good PostScript printer or PS printer
> brand, however here's why I personally consider Xerox a bad vendor and
> bad actor, because here's what's wrong with my Xerox Phaser 6130N:
>
> * It comes with steganography built in.[1][2]  They never tell you

If you don't want trackable prints, don't buy a colour laser printer
of any brand, it is very common. Unsure about mono and inkjet printers,
I would tend to assume that they're common on at least most hi-res
colour printers.

On 2019-07-13, Jonathan Drews <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2)
>  I read that Postscript printers produce superior graphics (from
> Xerox website):
>
> Pros:
>
> Graphical objects are often more detailed.
> The same print file should print identically on two or more
> different print devices. (This most beneficial when used for
> printing drafts on one printer then sending out to a printing
> company for production.)

A "postscript printer" is a printer that includes some kind of computer
running software ("RIP", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raster_image_processor)
that runs a program written in the postscript language to produce a page
image, and feeds that image to the printer side of things.

You can get the same end result with a less smart printer by running the
RIP on a computer instead, e.g. ghostscript is a RIP.

What Xerox are mostly going on about is that you can use the same file
to produce output on e.g. a laser printer, garment printers, prepress gear
etc and get the same results on all of them (within the limits
of the print technology). This probably mattered more in the past (and
maybe does a bit on windows), typical usage on unix and macos today
would be based around postscript or pdf anyway.

Nowadays one of the main advantages to a unix users of having a
postscript printer is that it has a high likelihood of working without
too much hassle, filtering out non-postscript printers nicely avoids
Windows-only "GDI" printers etc.

If I was looking to spend money on a nice printer I'd get one which can
accept postscript and PDF directly over lpr. (I'd be very tempted by
the hp "pagewide" printers. Also Kyocera seem good especially for
high volume stuff).

If I was looking for something cheap and cheerful then I would worry
less about postscript but look for something where I can see signs
of support in the ports tree. The HPLIP ports are nice and easy to use
and work with a wide range of HP and some other printers, easiest to
use with CUPS (it really isn't difficult), but if you want to avoid it
I believe the HPIJS part of HPLIP can be used without CUPS. I've heard
good things about brlaser for the non-postscript Brother printers too,
though most of them do have ps anyway. Even if keeping things cheap
I would definitely want something with an ethernet port (it doesn't
add much if anything to the cost) for flexibility of positioning the
printer, easier sharing between machines, and not having to mess
around with permissions on device nodes etc..

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Adam Thompson
On 2019-07-14 15:40, Stuart Henderson wrote:
> If you don't want trackable prints, don't buy a colour laser printer
> of any brand, it is very common. Unsure about mono and inkjet printers,
> I would tend to assume that they're common on at least most hi-res
> colour printers.

Nearly every printer sold today (including cheap inkjets AND b&w
printers) have these tracking dots.  It's unclear why/how this came to
be; I've heard multiple stories and am unsure which to believe, if any.  
Regardless of the why/how, consensus is clear: those dots are real and
can tie output back to your printer.


>>  I read that Postscript printers produce superior graphics (from
>> Xerox website):

In 2019, that remains true only in a very small number of edge cases.  
The absolute highest resolution graphics today are mostly printed using
ESC/P (if Epson), PCL3 (if HP), or whatever Canon uses (if Canon).  
Mostly people "prefer" Postscript output over PCL because the default
rendering gammas(sic) are slightly different and Postscript is usually
perceptually more pleasing.  Adjust gamma on your PCL printer from 1.1
to 1.2 and *poof* just as good as Postscript.  YMMV, even
Postscript-compatible printers are all different nowadays.

> If I was looking to spend money on a nice printer I'd get one which can
> accept postscript and PDF directly over lpr. (I'd be very tempted by
> the hp "pagewide" printers. Also Kyocera seem good especially for
> high volume stuff).

I haven't tried Kyocera recently, but I have tried HP recently in that
line.  Stay as far away as you can get.  All the decent PageWide
printers seem to be discontinued already, and the replacement 11x17"
color OfficeJet Pros are severely lobotomized and need to talk to the
"cloud" for almost all functions except basic print-to-paper... and even
that doesn't work very reliably, even with the Windows/MacOS drivers.


> If I was looking for something cheap and cheerful then I would worry
> less about postscript but look for something where I can see signs
> of support in the ports tree. The HPLIP ports are nice and easy to use
> and work with a wide range of HP and some other printers, easiest to
> use with CUPS (it really isn't difficult), but if you want to avoid it
> I believe the HPIJS part of HPLIP can be used without CUPS. I've heard
> good things about brlaser for the non-postscript Brother printers too,
> though most of them do have ps anyway. Even if keeping things cheap
> I would definitely want something with an ethernet port (it doesn't
> add much if anything to the cost) for flexibility of positioning the
> printer, easier sharing between machines, and not having to mess
> around with permissions on device nodes etc..

Agreed - most decent business printers nowadays come with both ethernet
and wifi, so you get the best of both worlds.

Brother's mono lasers are generally *excellent* value for the money.  
Color lasers unknown.  Stay away from their color inkjets, they are
effectively Win/Mac-only.  (But if you are on Win/Mac, those provide
excellent $/page.)

Epson's color inkjets are pretty good, and at the *really* high end beat
color lasers in all ways, and include Postscript.  (Those high-end units
also cost many 10s of $Ks.  But, wow, nice specs.)  Lower-end units
support ESC/P and mostly work with CUPS.  Buy the business models if you
want a decent cost-per-page.

Canon printers can be decent, but are not usually good value for
money... YMMV, just make sure you can return it if you can't make it
work.

HP used to be very good, and their mono LaserJets are still acceptable.  
Color LaserJets... less good, but maybe still acceptable.  Inkjets?  Who
knows, there's a new model every week, each incompatible with the last
one.

Your best bet will likely be to purchase a new "business-grade" printer
from a shop that will let you return it if you can't get it to work.

Unfortunately, YMMV depending on what part of the world you're in, any
local promotions/sales, the phase of the moon, whether Jupiter is in
alignment with Saturn, etc., etc.

Good luck,
-Adam

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Roderick


On Sun, 14 Jul 2019, Adam Thompson wrote:

> Nearly every printer sold today (including cheap inkjets AND b&w printers)
> have these tracking dots. [...]

> The absolute highest resolution graphics today are mostly printed using
> ESC/P (if Epson), PCL3 (if HP), or whatever Canon uses (if Canon). [...]

Thanks for the nice review! I thing the OP was interested in unexpensive
printing. There play some other factors a role: price of toner, price
of drum, if the cartridge contain both or not, if there are other
producers of the cartidge than the producer of the printer, etc.

Rodrigo

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Re: Postscript printer recommendations

Jonathan Drews-3
On Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 04:49:47AM +0000, Roderick wrote:

>
>
> On Sun, 14 Jul 2019, Adam Thompson wrote:
>
> > Nearly every printer sold today (including cheap inkjets AND b&w
> > printers) have these tracking dots. [...]
>
> > The absolute highest resolution graphics today are mostly printed using
> > ESC/P (if Epson), PCL3 (if HP), or whatever Canon uses (if Canon). [...]
>
> Thanks for the nice review! I thing the OP was interested in unexpensive
> printing. There play some other factors a role: price of toner, price
> of drum, if the cartridge contain both or not, if there are other
> producers of the cartidge than the producer of the printer, etc.
>
> Rodrigo
>

Folks:

 Thanks for your helpful replies. I wanted to implement something like
this. These are the notes I made for printing on my old OpenBSD computer:

1) Go to http://openprinting.org/printer_list.cgi?make=HP
and look for the Deskjet 6940 *.ppd. Download the *.ppd from here:
http://openprinting.org/show_printer.cgi?recnum=HP-DeskJet_6940


2) Install a2ps from packages.
pkg_add ftp://ftp.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/4.0/packages/i386/a2ps*.tgz
(where the *
denotes the appropriate version.

3) pkg_add
ftp://ftp.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/4.0/packages/i386/hpijs*.tgz
to install the HP print driver

4) Copy HP-DeskJet_6940-hpijs.ppd to /usr/local/sbin/

5) Modify your /etc/printcap so that it looks like this:
lp|HP6940:\
:lp=/dev/ulpt0:\
:af=/usr/local/sbin/HP-DeskJet_6940-hpijs.ppd:\
:if=/usr/local/bin/foomatic-rip:\
:sd=/var/spool/output/lp:\
:lf=/var/spool/output/lp/log:\
:mx#0:\
:sh:
This assumes that you are using a USB printer.

6) Go to /var/spool/output
# cd /var/spool/output

do: #mkdir lp
then do: #chown daemon:daemon lp/
as root.

7) As root do:  # touch /var/spool/output/lp/log

8) edit /etc/rc.conf by changing the variable lpd_flags=NO to
lpd_flags=""

9) Add your hostname to /etc/hosts.lpd. Your entry should look similar
to this:
#       $OpenBSD: hosts.lpd,v 1.2 1996/07/20 00:28:28 deraadt Exp $
# as described in lpd(8), place one legal access hostname per line
my.computer.us

10) Reboot the computer and printing should be working.

Unfortunately, the package foomatic-rip is no longer available. Once
again, thanks for all the helpful advice.

Kind Regards,
Jonathan

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