Using a "Windows only" printer with OS X

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by wilburpan, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. wilburpan macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    I posted a variant on this question about 6 months ago, but since I am going to get a new iMac, I thought I would try again, since I've also learned more about *nix type systems:

    My current home setup is an old P3 Win98 system hooked up to a NEC Superscript 870 laser printer. I am informed by NEC that they will never provide OS X support for this printer. :mad:

    I have been playing around with Linux on my computer, and have managed to get the printer to work under Linux using a postscript emulation and an HP laserjet driver.

    Getting another printer is not really an option.

    My questions:

    1. If I can get this "Windows only" printer working under Linux, does this imply that I will be able to get it working under OS X?

    2. Would networking the two computers together and printing as if it were a network printer be an option, or would that screw up page layout too much?
  2. yzedf macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2002
    OS X now uses CUPS, AFAIK.

    Should work somehow.

    Is your printer really worth the aggravation?

    <edit>I don't think networking would help much...</edit>
  3. Eniregnat macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2003
    In your head.
    re: Windows Only Printer

    If I were you, I would purchase a new laser printer if I were buying a new computer.
    I just bought a brother 1440 for about $150 dollars, but I run OS9.

    You’re a Linux :cool: person, and Linux people are generally fiddlers. (This isn’t a bad thing. There are people that tune their own cars and pianos;).) I guess that you enjoy trying to get things to work in ingenious ways. Your networking idea is interesting, but I would find it annoying. I would hate to have a second computer around as a print server, unless it was networked to several computers. The printer you have does have native (through a card) network support. Generic network printer drivers might work, but then again they might not.

    Strydent Software makes Power Print , a program and cable designed to get legacy printers to work. (Including the NEC-ss-870 ) From what I have found, your printer has a parallel port, so this product might help. I have used PowerPrint for years, and it works for me. Is it Carbonized? I don’t know, nor do I know if there is an OS X version. Is PowerPrint good- yes. Especially if you’re mobile! It also adds new functions and options for printing (on some printers inverse, ink/toner save, dithering, scaling, etc..)

    Laser printers are increasingly cantankerous. Generic drivers may not work. I purchased a Minolta that I could not get to work on any operating system other than the one it was designed to work with. Minolta was apologetic; I returned the printer and bought a Brother at the same price and Staples honored my coupon and reduced the price of Brother printer.

    More than one person has been unhappy with this printer on winXP.
    There is even a page dedicated to it- .
    It looks like most of the features of the printer are software driven, like some of the dithering options. I don’t think that you would be happy sacrificing these options, but I could be wrong.

    This all written- Good luck. Get the Apple protection plan and back up regularly.

    Power Print-
    More gripes- hit the auction sites with product feed back, like
    How to tune a car (two pop up adds)
    How to tune a Piano
    How to tune a Piano Watch out for the MIDI.
    How to tune a fish
  4. hvfsl macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2001
    London, UK
    I print from my windows printer connected to my PC using Mac OS X. But to do it you need 10.2.3. First you need to download and install Gimp Print Drivers, which can be found in the Mac OS X downloads section of Apple's website. Once installed go to the print centre in Mac OS X and then hold down the 'Alt' key while clicking on the 'Add Printer' button. In the pull down menus select 'advanced' and samba printing. Then enter the address of the printer and select the model. The documentation that comes with Gimp Print Drivers better explains what to do.
  5. michealk macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2002
    OS X drivers for non-standard printers

    As you've been able to get the printer working under linux, you may wish to look here:

    There is a Mac OS X section that contains documentation and details about getting unsupported printers to work under OS X.

    They've ported a number of the Linux drivers to OS X.
  6. oldMac macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2001
    The Answer is... "Probably yes"

    Your printer is listed in the GIMP-print project as reported working but not fully tested. The biggest problem that you're going to have is plugging it into the Mac.

    You will need either a USB-to-parallel cable, or you can do what I did with my Brother, which was to buy a mini network print server that supports IPP printing. I bought one from Hawking technology for about $60. That allowed me to put my printer on the network and print from both my Mac and the PC. A small price to pay for convenience.

    Here's what you need.

    1) Go to the GIMP Print Mac OS X page here:

    2) Download and install the following from that page:

    - ESP GhostScript
    - GIMP Print

    3) Follow the instructions included with GIMP Print for setting up your printer

    You can also check out "" and look at their Mac OS X section.
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Re: re: Windows Only Printer

    PowerPrint is MacOS 9 only. At least the software is MacOS 9 only. PowerPrint's USB to parallel cable may help, however. I would think that GIMP-Print and PowerPrint's USB to parallel cable may just do the trick.
  8. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    While we're on the topic of "Winprinters", has anyone had any luck using the HP DeskJet 710C in OS X? PowerPrint doesn't support it, although I have had it working in Linux on my PC, so there are probably drivers somewhere!
  9. wilburpan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    Re: The Answer is... "Probably yes"

    That's how my printer is listed on as well. The listing actually reads "partially working". However, it works well enough for me under Linux, which is the bottom line.

    My crazy idea for plugging it into the Mac was to use Bluetooth. There is a Bluetooth-->parallel adapter available, and I was planning to get the iMac with Bluetooth installed.
  10. Eniregnat macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2003
    In your head.
    From Strydent

    A moot point at this time, as a solution has been found.

    It was nice of them to respond to an e-mail.
  11. hvfsl macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2001
    London, UK
    Re: The Answer is... "Probably yes"

    I have to disagree the best thing to do is to connect the Mac to the PC using ethernet and then print to the PC printer over the network using the Mac. This basically means the PC is being used as a print server, it is also cheaper than buying the above items.
  12. hvfsl macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2001
    London, UK
    Re: Re: The Answer is... "Probably yes"

    I don't know about bluetooth, but I know it is possible with Airport/Wifi. Bluetooth would also be too slow for printing, it is only the speed of an analogue modem.
  13. yzedf macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2002
    actually, printers is one of the major target markets for BT. i have no clue why, USB works just fine. and you can get a 6foot USB cable... :rolleyes:
  14. wilburpan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002

    Just thought I'd share what I did:

    Bought the 1GHz iMac 1 week ago. The next day, I got a Netgear cable modem router with a print server built into it, hooked up my iMac, my old PC, and the printer into it.

    Installed the OS X version of gimp-print.

    Networked printing using gimp-print works like a charm. I can transfer files back and forth between the two computers, and my wife and I can both be on the internet at the same time.

    Thanks for the help! Once I've finished making sure I have transferred all of my data from my old PC to my iMac, I can blow away the PC partition and completely convert my old PC into a Linux box.
  15. idontwannareg macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2003
    Solution for printing to ML-1710 on PC via Linux using postscript

    Solution for printing to a Samsung ML-1710 on PC via Linux using postscript

    This reply is probably a bit late but i thought i'd post it anyway considering i've wasted almost an entire day on it.

    My problem was that I couldn't print from an OS X 10.2.8 G4 laptop via the network to my Samsung ML-1710 which is plugged into my WinXP PC . Apparently the Samsung OS X drivers only work for printers connected via USB. This solution can be used to enable a mac to print to any printer that Linux can print to.

    The CUPS ML-1210 driver on my Linux PC works fine with the ML-1710 so I decided to use it to act as a postcript translator so that the mac could print to it using generic postscript and then send the job on to the printer on my WinXP PC (or it could just as well be a printer connected locally to the Linux box).

    Step 1

    Install the printer on the Linux box and make sure that it prints properly. (i gave mine the name "printer")

    Step 2

    Login as root on your Linux box and create the following script. I saved it in /etc/ps2lpr but thats probably not the most ideal spot:

    # delete the fifo pipe (in case it already exists)
    rm -f /dev/ps2lpr

    # create a fifo pipe to send print jobs to
    mkfifo /dev/ps2lpr

    # make things easy
    chmod 666 /dev/ps2lpr

    while true
    # redirect any job sent to /dev/ps2lpr to the lpr command so it prints on the printer called printer
    lpr -P printer < /dev/ps2lpr

    make it executable by running:
    chmod 700 /etc/ps2lpr

    add the following line to your /etc/rc.local so that it starts when you boot
    /etc/ps2lpr &

    and so that you don't have to reboot to start testing it, run:
    /etc/ps2lpr &

    Step 3

    Install a new printer (i called it printer3) which uses the Generic Postcript driver and make it print to the local device /dev/ps2lpr. In the CUPS web gui you can't specify a custom device so you'll need to hand edit /etc/cups/printers.conf so that you get "DeviceURI file:/dev/ps2lpr" for your printer. You could add the printer in the web gui and initially select the parallel port and then go back and edit the file, or do it the easy way and just use redhat-config-printer (if you've got rehat) which allows you to add a custom device. (don't forget to restart cups if you edit the conf file by running "/etc/init.d/cups restart")

    Step 4

    If CUPS browsing is enabled on both your Linux and OS X box then the new printer should just appear in the print center in OS X. If not you'll have to add a "Generic" printer and point it to your linux box using a URI such as "ipp://mylinuxserver/printers/printer3" or maybe "printer3@mylinuxserver" (hold down option when you click "add" to get the "advanced" settings).

    Step 5

    To enable Carbon apps to print postscript that CUPS (pre 1.2) can handle you'll need to install the fix, Printer UnPICTifier, which some legend created and is available from:

    Step 6

    Try printing something, preferably from a non-carbon app such as Safari.

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