OS/2 eZine - http://www.os2ezine.com
July 16, 2003
Robert Basler is the president of Aurora Systems, Inc. and has been a dedicated OS/2 user since he tired of rebooting Windows 3.1 twenty times a day. He spends what free time he can manage travelling the world. Photo was taken at Franz Josef glacier, New Zealand.

If you have a comment about the content of this article, please feel free to vent in the OS/2 eZine discussion forums.

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JPhotoBrush Pro - Award Winning Multi-Platform Image Editor that runs in OS/2

Using a Windows-printer under OS/2

Here's a cool little tip I figured out while trying to get my new Brother HL-1030 laser printer to print from OS/2. Now this guy, he's a WinPrinter, so if you don't have a Windows machine laying around to plug it into, don't bother reading the rest of this.

Get the Printer Working in Windows

First you need to sit down at your Windows machine and install the printer drivers for Windows for your printer. Once it will print successfully from Windows, you're ready to make it into a postscript printer using Ghostscript. To do this, follow the first three steps here.

Making a Custom PostScript Driver

You can then share the new PostScript version of your printer from Windows, and access it from OS/2. Now this is where it starts to get interesting. Quite often, there simply isn't the proper postscript driver in the list of provided drivers in OS/2's PSCRIPT driver. Now the latest postscript drivers from IBM solve that particular problem. They're free and you can download them here.

Inside that ZIP is a PostScript driver that includes a new feature: you can add your own PostScript Printer Definition (PPD) files for your printer downloaded from the web! A PPD is a file that describes the capabilities of a printer, its resolution, printable areas, etc for generic PostScript drivers like the PSCRIPT driver in OS/2. Now I found mine by doing a Google Search on my printer name and PPD which netted me this page which has an option to View PPD which you can then save (it even tells you the file name to use.)

Now, we have a PPD, and the new PSCRIPT drivers, now it is time to put them together. This is a quotation from the README from the PSCRIPT driver since the directions were good and worked for me:

5.3 Importing a New PPD (Using PIN.EXE)
PIN.EXE is a utility to add new or upgrade device support in the
Postscript driver by importing PPD files. The PPD file is usually
created and provided by your PostScript printer manufacturer.
Currently, the only supported command is "PPD".
Syntax of command 'PPD' arguments:
The first argument is the directory path where PPD files to be
imported are stored. The second argument is the path to the driver
(including the driver file name) where the PPD files will be imported.
One or multiple PPDs can be imported at once.
*** Suggested usage scenario ***
1) Create directory where you will store all of the PSCRIPT files.
>mkdir d:\PSDRIVER
2) Put PIN.EXE in this directory.
3) Create 3 subdirectories in d:\PSDRIVER directory.
>mkdir BAK
>mkdir PPD
>mkdir OUT
The BAK directory will be the backup driver files - the original,
unmodified driver. Copy the unmodified driver files here.
The PPD directory will contain the PPD files for your new printer
devices that you want imported into the driver.
The OUT directory will be where you build your driver which contains
the new devices to be imported for immediate use or distribution.
To import new devices into the driver, perform the following steps:
4) Clean the output directory.
>del OUT\*
5) Copy the unmodified driver files from the backup (BAK) to the OUT
>copy BAK\* OUT\
6) Run the PIN utility to import the PPDs.
>PIN.EXE PPD PPD\ OUT\pscript.drv
"PPD" is command that tells PIN.EXE what to do.
"PPD\" is path to directory with the source PPD files.
"OUT\pscript.drv" is the driver file name where the PPDs are going to
be imported into.
7) The driver in the OUT\ directory now will have the imported PPDs!
You can install it (as specified above (see: section 4.0 INSTALLATION))
or distribute it to users.
IMPORTANT: After the resources are imported to the printer driver,
you can't just 'add' on top of that. If you add a new PPD to the
directory and want to make use of it, you have to start with a "fresh"
driver and import all of the devices at once, as previously done.
It is required that you delete all of the files in the output
directory (step 3) and copy the driver from the backup directory
(step 4) to perform device importing - every time.

Easy right? Took me about 5 minutes. Now you have a new PSCRIPT driver that includes your PPD described printer, in my case, a Brother-HL-1030-hl1250.

Create an OS/2 Printer Object for the Remote PostScript Printer

Now I'm ready to create my actual printer object. To do this, you open your Printers folder, then your Templates folder, drag and drop a "Network Printer" template onto the Printers folder, enter the Server and resource names you named the Windows machine that hosts the printer and the printer itself when you shared it.

Click on Install to install a new printer driver, Select Other OS/2 driver and enter the D:\PSDRIVER\OUT folder into the path box and click on the Refresh button. Your Brother-HL-1030-hl1250 (or whatever printer you entered the PPD for) will appear in the list, select it, and you're in business!

Why all the Bother?

Now why not just pick one of the standard PostScript printers from the list and hope for the best? Because if you have the right PPD, you can make sure that all the capabilities of your printer will be taken advantage of, and applications won't print in the unprintable area of your printer like they were when I used a random Apple Laserwriter PostScript driver instead.

In the end, the print quality is excellent, print speed is also good. By the way, my brand new Brother HL-1030 cost me just $19.95 so I hope you'll forgive me for using a WinPrinter with OS/2.

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