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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.

Can I use "Windows" printers on SCO Unix/System V ?

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 <abacus@garden.net>
 Reply-To: abacus@garden.net
 Organization: Abacus Systems Inc
 To: tony@aplawrence.com
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
 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,
 why bother!
 I hope I was able to provide you with some information you didn't
 already have!
 Happy Holidays,
 David DiPietro/Abacus Systems Inc.
 Sussex, NJ  (973) 875-9900

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