Laserwriter probmens on Ultra 1 parallel port

Laserwriter probmens on Ultra 1 parallel port

Post by Keith Refson - real email address in signatu » Wed, 03 Feb 1999 04:00:00

I am having some serious printing problems on my Ultrasparc 1/140
printing to an Apple Personal Laserwriter NTR connected to the serial
port (/dev/bpp0).  I am running Solaris 2.6.

The problem is that *certain* PostScript files don't print.  They are
apparently sent to the printer, the "status" light flashes for a few
seconds and stops, but no output is printed.  Other files print
without any problem.  However *all* files print correctly if I just
"cat $file > /dev/bpp0".  

I have traced this to the behaviour of the "postio" program,
specifically its blocking of the file as it sends to the port.  If I
increase the block size to larger than the file size (eg around 15K)
the file is printed.  I get similar behaviour if I use "dd" to block
the file instead of postio -- certain files will print only if sent as
a single lump, and do not print if blocked.  Mysteriously, other
perfectly valid postscript *will* appear if sent blocked.

The files are output from "respectable" programs such as a2ps, and
gnuplot and all display  without error using ghostscript.  There
appears to be no systematic size effect between files which print and
those which don't.

Has anyone observed this kind of behaviour?  I have seen tales of
problems on Ultra 5's using Solaris 2.5.1, but the Ultra 1 uses a
different parallel driver, "bpp".

The final twist to this mystery is that the behaviour started when a
mechanical fault in the printer was repaired.  It had previously been
working for over a year!  

So what should I be looking for?  Should I suspect the port, the port
driver, the cable or the printer?  I find it hard to see how it could
be the printer since it prints all Postscript thrown at it -- provided
you cat it to /dev/bpp0.

Any advice will be much appreciated.

Keith Refson

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1. Laser printer for Sun Ultra 1 parallel port

I am interested in recommendations for laser printers to hook up to the
parallel port on a Sun Ultra 1 workstation parallel port. I would prefer a
duplex printer but could get along with single sided printing if no
suitable duplex printer is available.

I bought a HP2200D but it would not function on the parallel port, though I
have had other HP printers on the port without problems. I am returning the

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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