>My company uses IBM mainframes rather heavily. On the IBM boxes, we
>use a print system named PSF, which generates print output in a format
>named IPDS (Intelligent Printer Data Stream). As far as I gather, IPDS
>is a IBM proprietary page description language.
>We are in the process of aquiring a large number of UNIX systems
>(servers and workstations of various brands), most of them with
>local PostScript printers attached.
>What we need is some way to access these printers from the mainframes.
>Does anybody know of software that will let a UNIX server mimic a
>3270-connected IPDS printer, translate the IPDS datastream to PostScript,
>and send the output to an appropriate printer?
>Any other solutions would be interesting: special hardware to do this,
>or software in the mainframe are possibilities that spring to mind.
>PD or commercial. Cheap or expensive. We have money :-)
QMS markets a product called AFPLink which might serve your need. AFPLink
is a 3270-attached device which converts IPDS (in EBCDIC) to Postscript (in
ascii) and puts the result out on a serial or parallel port. It is designed
for a 1-to-1 relationship with a printer, however, so in your environment
you would have to do 1 of 3 possible things:
1) You could use the mainframe as the print server, and send your Unix-
generated postscript files up to the mainframe, and then down through the
AFPLink box in passthrough mode. This would slow down your printing from the
2) You could take the serial line from AFPLink and attach it to a serial port
on one of the Unix hosts as an input source. This would require a little
programming so that your Unix box would know to move the input data stream from
AFPLink to a file, then move the file to the print spooler.
3) You could get a printer with simultaneous input ports, like the QMS PS 410
or PS 2000, along with AFPLink. With the PS 2000, you could attach the printer
to the ethernet network and use tcp/ip to send data to the printer from Unix;
you could then attach AFPLink to the printer using serial comm, and let them
both talk to the printer simultaneously. With the PS 410, you can talk serial
from the Unix host and Parallel from AFPLink.
Your nearest contact for AFPLink is the QMS office in the Netherlands. Contact
QMS B.V., Reactorweg 160, Box 6540, NL-3503 RM Utrecht, in the Netherlands.
QMS CustoMer Technical Support