Printing and Scanning
by Tony Butka
on the OS/2 Platform
The Xmas 2005 Edition
Wow, its been a long time since an Ink article has appeared. Much going on in my life (good things, actually, like marriage, country houses, job changes...), much too
much to recount here, and when you get right down to it in terms of OS/2 or a column, who cares. So, I decided to write an Ink article for the holidays. Here goes.
Samsung ML 2250 & 2250NP
First, I want to write about a couple of very inexpensive laser printers that work under OS/2 --the Samsung ML 2250 series. First and least expensive is the ML-2250, which, at the time of this writing, can usually be found online for about $100 (I got one at Newegg.com a while back). That's right, a real full blown laser printer for under $100 bucks! The fly in the ointment has been that there are no OS/2 drivers, and even though the printer works using a PCL6 driver, that driver doesn't work under OS/2 (I think something in the bidirectional setup, but who knows exactly what).
Comes to the rescue the samsung_gdidrv set of printer drivers which work with a number of printers, including the Samsung ML-4500, ML-2xx, ML-1xxx, ML-5080, ML-6040, ... and Lexmark E210. Pretty cool, hunh? They are available through Hobbes - just type in the driver name above.
Installation is not totally trivial, but it isn't very tricky either. As the installation notes indicate:
- Unzip all the content to driver directory (e.g. c:\samsungdrv)
- Edit gsmon.cmd. You need to specify a path to system fonts (e.g. "c:/psfonts"), printer port (e.g. outport="lpt2"), and port for the driver to listen (e.g. lpt3 or any other port with no attached devices)
- Install PS driver from the folder "ibmpsdrv". Open this
directory in WPS and click on the "pscript.drv" icon. Then select PS printer (i use "HP 4/4 PS"), and choose "install" the context menu.
- Create printer in the "printers" folder. Use "HP 4/4PS" as a printer driver and monitor port (e.g. lpt3) as an output port.
- Disable OS/2 spooler. It seems that spooler conflicts with the port monitor. To disable it go to "OS/2 System" -> "System Setup"and select "disable spooler" in the "Spooler" context menu.
- Run script "bin\gsmon.cmd" and try to print from any OS/2 software.
On my system, I had one driver install work perfectly, and another hang in the print monitor with an error message about not finding a font. I suspect that the problem with this setup is an old problem with using a non-standard Times New Roman font that came with one of the driver fixpacks. Anyhow, I'll do some more research and get back to you. On the other installation, everything worked fine.
Now, if you want to avoid any problems at all, there's another very cool Samsung printer, the ML-2500NP, which is a networkable printer with a built in ethernet port and PostScript level 3. If you search, you can still find this printer out there for around $200, and its a gem. Needless to say I'm using this one at home for my small network under OS/2 eCS, Debian Linux, and Windows 98, 2000Pro, & XP. You simply give the printer a TCP/IP address, use a postscript driver (Windows and Linux installation scripts are included on the CD), and everything works like a charm.
Whichever version you get, the printers are rated at over 20ppm, and the toner cartridges are good for about 5000 sheets (using that 'standard' manufacturer estimate that is about as useful as EPA gas mileage stickers). Anyhow, it's quick, inexpensive, the print quality is very good, and I highly recommend it, with the caveat that your mileage may vary on the standard model. In contacting Samsung, they indicate that the printer emulates PCL6 and Epson, so I think that one of the old Epson drivers might work as well. Again, I'll test when I have time.
OS/2, Serenity Systems, and OpenOffice
As our second matter, Open Office 1.1.5 is available (well, in German and Dutch, but soon English) for OS/2, with a beta out there as we speak, and Open Office 2.0 to be available some time the first quarter of next year. I know that there will be some 'so what's', and 'why isn't this OO 2.0, like folks of other operating systems get?'.
As to why not the latest greatest, you'd have to ask Serenity, but I'd guess that it turned out to be a little trickier than they thought to get directly to version 2. For right now, the most important reason to upgrade in my opinion is that 1.1.5 was the first version to support the new OpenOffice 'OASIS' file format -- .'odt' to you and me, instead of the older '.sxw' format of Version 1. Other than that, the 1.1.5 update was primarily a number of bug fixes, some of which were not trivial. Depending on which if any of these bugs bit you under 1.1.4, upgrading would be appropriate.
Are there any other catches? Well, OpenOffice will no longer be available/supported as a separate product. Instead, the folks at Serenity Systems are taking over in a deal with Mensys who will still be selling the OpenOffice product as well as other Serenity Systems products and support agreements. According to Bob St. John's November announcement, a separate support agreement will be necessary for the upgrade - to obtain OpenOffice 1.1.5 and later, you will need to upgrade to an annual Support Agreement for $49 list ($29 for current OpenOffice users).
Actually, after reading all the eCS Product Announcements, I went online to Mensys and discovered that you could get an annual support agreement with Serenity Systems for one year for an upgrade price of $49, which includes the Open Office stuff, the soon/someday to be announced 1.2 media refresh of eCS, betas of eCS products, driver support and Pixel when its ready for prime time. Actually the whole set of announcements from Serenity were a little confusing to me, but the best deal definitely seemed to be the annual support agreement; sort of like back to IBM, ain't it? More later as this all sorts itself out.
More in January (yes, I'm committing to another column). In the meantime, happy holidays, and you can contact me at Tony@scoug.com.
You might want to read Tony's last Ink column.
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