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Is There Anything Special About a PostScript Laser Printer?

Is There Anything Special About a PostScript Laser Printer?

I have more printers than I have room for printers. I have four old
laser printers - a Canon LBP-8 A1, an Apple LaserWriter plus, an Apple
LaserWriter (not a Plus, I think; it's packed away), and an HP 2686A
LaserJet. I also have the service manual for the HP. The service manual
was issued in March 1986. They all use the Canon EP or HP 9985A toner
cartridge. They weigh 71 pounds, they take up room, they're not fast,
they take up to 850 watts, and I have at least two faster, smaller
laser printers.

At the library's book sale yesterday, I saw a book, from Sybex I think,
with a title along the lines of "Programming in PostScript." It was
from 1987. The only reason I'd have to hang on to the things is that
they are PostScript printers. When the printers came out, that was a
nice feature. Does that make any difference anymore? Are there things
you can with PostScript printers that you can't do with non-PostScript
printers, or does that rate just a big "so what?"

I don't use them anymore, and I ought to do something with them. I'm
not going to junk them. I'll try to Freecycle them or offer them, at
least the two with deteriorated rollers, to kids in the adjacent
county's electronics course. I'd hang on to the service manual.

Thanks in advance.
 
B

Buck Fusche

Jan 1, 1970
0
In a ridiculously simplified nutshell, Postscript printers support
features and functions used by professional publishers.

Despite the age of your printers they still have some worth,
although the Postscript version they support has long since
been replaced by newer versions.
 
W

William R. Walsh

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi!
Is There Anything Special About a PostScript Laser Printer?

Yes. PostScript printers are typically much more intelligent than your
average laser or other type of printer. In its own right, PostScript is a
very capable 'programming language' of sorts. It's also somewhat
portable...that is to say that you can dump a PS file to a printer or other
renderer and have it be printed or displayed.

Do your newer laser printers support PostScript? If they don't, I'd hang on
to the best-equipped, fastest or most capable printer of the bunch. (As
you've noted already, they don't differ much in terms of print engine
features.) I am keeping a very well equipped LaserWriter 12/640 PS around
for this very reason. Even though I own a much newer color laser that can do
PostScript work (it's a Samsung CLP-550N) the Apple printer is *much* faster
in terms of processing time.

Truthfully, you may never need a PostScript printer. However, my kind of
luck dictates that the moment I didn't have one...I would then need one!

William
 
J

James Sweet

Jan 1, 1970
0
Do your newer laser printers support PostScript? If they don't, I'd hang on
to the best-equipped, fastest or most capable printer of the bunch. (As
you've noted already, they don't differ much in terms of print engine
features.) I am keeping a very well equipped LaserWriter 12/640 PS around
for this very reason. Even though I own a much newer color laser that can do
PostScript work (it's a Samsung CLP-550N) the Apple printer is *much* faster
in terms of processing time.


I still have an old Apple Laserwriter kicking around, the original huge
heavy beast. I remember being surprised that the printer had the same
CPU, at a faster clock rate no less, than the computer it came with.
Must have cost a fortune in its day, I used that setup for most of my
college homework. Wasn't so tempted to be distracted by playing games
when all I had in front of me was an ancient B&W Mac but it worked great
for word processing.
 
A

Andy Cuffe

Jan 1, 1970
0
In a ridiculously simplified nutshell, Postscript printers support
features and functions used by professional publishers.

Despite the age of your printers they still have some worth,
although the Postscript version they support has long since
been replaced by newer versions.

My hp laserjet 5M supports postscript, but I use it in PCL mode
because PCL is much faster. I've never run into anything that
wouldn't print correctly using PCL. Postscript requires the printer
to do much more processing than PCL. This made a lot of sense back
when computers had very limited processing power, but not any more for
most users. Some software may only work with postscript, so it could
be useful in those situations.

Andy Cuffe

[email protected]
 
J

JXStern

Jan 1, 1970
0
Is There Anything Special About a PostScript Laser Printer?

Since Microsoft went to TrueType about ten years ago, and workstation
clock speed passed 1Ghz, basically, no.

J.
 
The 'Net consense on this seems to be "let it go." I hope that whoever
gets it/them will enjoy it/them.

Thanks to everyone for all the help.
 
B

Beloved Leader

Jan 1, 1970
0
-------
Do your newer laser printers support PostScript? If they don't, I'd
hang on
to the best-equipped, fastest or most capable printer of the bunch.
-------

I've also got an Apple LaserWriter II NT and the identical HP IIP/IIIP.
They use the HP 92295A toner cartridge. Both were scavenged from the
trash. The HP, according to the previous owners when they left it out
by the curb when moving out, worked perfectly. "Works perfectly" means
that the fuser asembly didn't heat up at all, but that could have
happened while they were moving it around. I put the fuser from the
Apple in it. The Apple jams repeatedly, despite having several new
parts in the paper path.

I can check the Apple website or elsewhere to see what the processor
speed is on those. I have another PS printer here, a GCC BP Elite,
something like that. I don't think it uses a Canon engine, but don't
quote me on that. I've got a ScriptWriter 4-PS, which uses the HP type
74 cartridge. I can't recall what that corresponds to in the HP/Canon
catalog. It runs on PCL and is supposed to work on both Mac and PC
platforms. I can't get Windows to recognize it, though supposedly I
have the correct driver installed. I have the owner's manual and the
OEM software for it; the company that sold it went belly-up ages ago.
It's too old to be plug-and-play. That could be a problem with the
parallel connection. I gave up trying to figure it out, and I use it
with a Mac.

I've got a printer in my car, under a chair, in the attic, at least two
lying on their sides.... I really ought to get a life.
 
Kim Jong, wherever you are in the world, thanks very much for posting
your question. I've been wondering about the same thing since I have in
mind to buy one of the new color laser printers, perhaps an Okidata,
and I couldn't figure out how best to frame the question. You asked it
perfectly. Many thanks.

And thanks to the experts who replied. You probably saved me at least a
hundred bucks, maybe more, for not having to buy a PostScript printer.
 
De nada, dude. Adobe is up to PostScript 3 now, and it is unlikely that
my old printers could handle PS3 files. I assume that new PS printers
could handle the latest software.

http://www.adobe.com/products/postscript/main.html

**wherever you are in the world** Northern Virginia. I maintain a HF
and VHF listening post in the vicinity of the Pentagon. There, I
monitor a variety of radio transmissions, including the comings and
goings of Air Force 1 from Andrews AFB, and so forth.

Best wishes.
 
I

Isaac Wingfield

Jan 1, 1970
0
Is There Anything Special About a PostScript Laser Printer?

--snippage--

Yes; if you have a PostScript printer, *and an application that supports
it* you can print using PostScript. Some folks consider that a
significant advantage.

If you're picky about the way the pages of your documents look,
PostScript is still the way to go. I'm not talking about how the
letterforms print out; I'm talking about kerning, word spacing, the way
flowed text looks, things like that (IOW, the look of the entire page).
PostScript pages have a different "look" from the same pages printed out
using "TrueType", and picky people generally prefer the way PS looks.

That's totally aside from PS's graphics and other capabilities, which
are also very nice for some purposes.

And the old LaserWriter with the Canon engine is a keeper. Those things
are the "tanks" of printer engines; they seem to last almost forever, if
you feed them a few parts once in a while.

I have a LW IINTX that's been running fine for fifteen years, needing
only a couple of toner cartridges and a paper feed roller.

Isaac
 
In message said:
De nada, dude. Adobe is up to PostScript 3 now, and it is unlikely that
my old printers could handle PS3 files. I assume that new PS printers
could handle the latest software.

The RIP I have here for this printer/copier doesn't know about level 3,
but that doesn't seem to be an issue, the printer driver happily prints
to it, the printer driver has the option to output in level 3, but I'd
need a newer RIP and it isn't worth it (well I did buy one off ebay,
that I think would have done it, however Mr Postman managed to destroy
it)
 
D

Doug McLaren

Jan 1, 1970
0
| On 25 Feb 2006 12:00:57 -0800, [email protected] wrote:
| >Is There Anything Special About a PostScript Laser Printer?
|
| Since Microsoft went to TrueType about ten years ago, and workstation
| clock speed passed 1Ghz, basically, no.

Postscript is still the `printing language of choice' for a *nix box,
since most *nix applications still emit their printing output in
postscript (for lack of a better standard.)

You can generally use ghostscript to parse the postscript and convert
it to whatever your printer understands, but often this involveds
sending bitmaps of each page to your printer which is generally a
whole lot slower (and often doesn't look as good) as if you could just
send the printer the postscript and let it parse it. The process is
also relatively cpu intensive.

But for most users, no, it doesn't really matter anymore.
 
W

William R. Walsh

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi!
De nada, dude. Adobe is up to PostScript 3 now, and it is unlikely that
my old printers could handle PS3 files. I assume that new PS printers
could handle the latest software.

I am not sure how much that matters for practical purposes. I've got a Mac
mini (running Mac OS X 10.4.5) that prints to my LaserWriter 12/640 (see the
other post I made, only on sci.electronics.repair) and it all works
beautifully at PostScript level 2.

As a matter of fact, some of the printers I have at work that are much newer
don't do as good a job of printing in PostScript. The printers at work are
Sharp AR-505/507 and AR-450x machines and they make a habit of locking up or
throwing PostScript errors concerning offending commands from some
applications, especially Adobe Acrobat standard. Meanwhile the old 12/640
works *perfectly* with everything that troubles the Sharp machines.

William
 
G

Geoffrey S. Mendelson

Jan 1, 1970
0
Doug said:
Postscript is still the `printing language of choice' for a *nix box,
since most *nix applications still emit their printing output in
postscript (for lack of a better standard.)

You can generally use ghostscript to parse the postscript and convert
it to whatever your printer understands, but often this involveds
sending bitmaps of each page to your printer which is generally a
whole lot slower (and often doesn't look as good) as if you could just
send the printer the postscript and let it parse it. The process is
also relatively cpu intensive.

But for most users, no, it doesn't really matter anymore.

It depends upon what and how you do it. Most *nix boxes print to
networked printers. If you don't want to dedicate a computer to running
a printer, HP and many others sell standalone print servers that have an
ethernet port for incoming data and one or more parallel and or USB
ports for printers. The protocol conversion is done by the printserver
device, the actual data is expected to be in the format used by the
printer.

For Windows machines this is simple, you can get drivers for networked
printers for Windows '95 and up. Unix is slightly more complicated.

There is a wonderful open source, but poorly documented package called
CUPS which runs under *nix. CUPS manages printers of all sorts on all
types of connections. The reason for the documentation is simple, the
company that gives away the program sells consulting services to support
themselves.

For those that do not want to or cannot afford their services, there are
several web sites that do document it well. Linuxprinting.org has good
howtos which apply to more than Linux.

The main program behind CUPS is ghostscript. Ghostscript can convert Postscript
files to almost anything's native output, I've even used it to print Postscript
level 3 files on level 1 printers.

CUPS can print to anything your *nix system can support, so if you have the
correct add ons, you can print to printers on Windows machines. MacOS X
supports CUPS directly, you can print to CUPS printers or print to native
printers on a Mac from CUPS.

OS9 and older is not as well supported by *nix, using netatalk you can
print TO CUPS printers, but not AFIK from.

You also can send RAM (printer format) files using CUPS, and I've even used
it to control an HPGL plotter. I think you can use it to convert HPGL to
Postscript or PCL (HP's native language), but I've never tried

CUPS also networks well and can be set up to talk to other CUPS servers
and exchange information.

As for loosing quality using ghostscript to RIP (raster image process)
files, it mostly is a thing of the past. HP printers used to be limited
in the resolution of PCL files, for example, they would accept 300dpi
bit maps, but not any higher. They have since released an open source
extension to ghsotscript that will produce PCL files at the highest
resolution of the printer.

The main advantage I can see for a postscript printer is that it will
generaly produce, within the limits of its resolution and fonts the same
output as a postscript typesetter. People who produce documents destined
for real publishing care about these things. People who just want to
kill trees do not.

Geoff.
 
R

Ralph Wade Phillips

Jan 1, 1970
0
Howdy!

Beloved Leader said:
-------
Do your newer laser printers support PostScript? If they don't, I'd
hang on
to the best-equipped, fastest or most capable printer of the bunch.
-------

I've also got an Apple LaserWriter II NT and the identical HP IIP/IIIP.
They use the HP 92295A toner cartridge. Both were scavenged from the
trash. The HP, according to the previous owners when they left it out

The IIP/IIIP uses a 92275A cartridge, and the II and 3 use the
92295A cartridge.

Drop the "P", and you're right about the commonality. With the "P",
you'd have to be talking about the LaserWriter NTR instead ...

RwP
 
B

Beloved Leader

Jan 1, 1970
0
**The IIP/IIIP uses a 92275A cartridge, and the II and 3 use the 92295A
cartridge.
Drop the "P", and you're right about the commonality.**

Whoops. My mistake. What I have is an Apple LaserWriter II NT and an HP
LaserJet series II.
 
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