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The Southern California OS/2 User Group

May 2000

Printing and Scanning
on the OS/2 Platform

by Tony Butka

As long time readers will know, I like GhostScript & it's OS/2 front-end, GhostView, a lot.. For those who don't remember, Ghostscript (copyrighted by Aladdin Enterprises) is a command line interpreter that allows us to see, manipulate and print PostScript files (including Encapsulated Postscript or EPS) as well as Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. GhostView is the graphical front-end for GhostScript that lets you see what you're doing with these images, and is written by Russel Lang. of Ghostgum fame.

Since Adobe abandoned the OS/2 community -- really with Version 3.0 where they only provided a Reader and no full Acrobat tools -- we owe the GhostScript/View folks a serious thank you. And for those of us who don't have Postscript Printers this combo is the only game in town for printing postscript files. Works just fine with the Epson series of inkjets, for example.

So, how to install the latest version? You need three files:

  • GSV601OS2.ZIP (GhostScript files)
  • GSV293OS2.ZIP (the GhostView files)
  • EMXRT.ZIP (the EMX runtime stuff).

If you don't have access to the latest SCOUG CD (hint, hint), you can find the first two files at:

The latest EMX runtime is at Hobbes:

Ok, once you have the 3 files, place them in a temp directory. Then unzip the front end gsv293os2 package. Using PKZip for OS/2 the syntax is:

pkzip /extract gsv293os2

Now run OS2SETUP.EXE, which will have been unpacked, and a neat new wizard will lead you through the rest of the install process, starting with a popup to choose your language (You will also receive a message that the beta expires on 6/30/00 -- but not to worry, there will be an update, and you do want the latest beta for some technical reasons).

Anyhow, the wizard takes over and makes this install very painless. You will be informed that the program takes about 10 MB of disk space, and then the wizard will lead you through the rest, installing the program files, the viewer, and the EMX runtime files. You can control which version of GhostScript you want to install, where to put the files, and you can automatically or manually change your config.sys file. Generally the defaults work just fine.

Once you have completed the install, reboot and you're set, with a cool bespectacled Ghost icon on your desktop; Ghost -> View, get it? .

This version is in synch with the other platforms (like Windows & unix /linux) & has Acrobat 4 goodies!

There are, of course, a couple of issues to be aware of. Most important is that to really use the print function, you need to read the documentation (yeah, I know , darn). The printer defaults may not work for you (didn't for me), in which case you will print a page of gibberish. Not to worry, it's just a mismatch between the driver & the queue. Go to printer setup by having a document loaded and choosing Print -> Printer Setup. The devices listed in the window are not very intuitive, as is common with open source, but there is documentation available at I'll save you some time if you have a postscript or Epson printer. For any postscript device, just check the "PostScript Printer" choice under Printer Setup and you will bypass everything to go straight to the printer (cool for Optra 40 fans). For Epson Stylus Colors, choose 'stcolor' or 'uniprint'.

Actually, the printer setup box lets you do all kinds of stuff. For example, to make a pdf file, you simply choose the 'pdfwrite' printer and print to a filename. Or to create a bitmap image (.bmp) you can use one of the bmp drivers like 'bmp16m'.

If you've figured out that I consider this to be an essential OS/2 program you are right. This article doesn't begin to do the program justice. Get it, install it, try it. And while the program is free for personal use, if you want to make a poor Australian happy (and help ensure future offerings), you can register at

See you next month! Reach me at

You might want to read last month's Ink.

By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.