[Scribus] Printing tabloid landscape to Laserjet 5SiMx - Help!

PLinnell mrdocs
Sun Mar 12 00:45:25 CET 2006

On Saturday 11 March 2006 17:01, Scott Karns wrote:
> --- John Jordan <johnxj at comcast.net> wrote:
> > At this point I' no longer positive that I have the
> > right PPD. In fact, I
> > can't even figure out what is installed. A search of
> > *.ppd revealed:
> >
> > /etc/cups/ppd/laserjet5Si.ppd                 25,431
> >   6/25/2005
> > /usr/share/cups/model/HPLJ5SIM.PPD   36,762
> > 6/25/2005
> John,
> You're not alone in thinking that linux printing has a
> long way to go! I seem to do battle with CUPS
> periodically, even when things seem to be nice, stable
> and functioning as expected.
> To your issue with the .ppd files, on my CUPS print
> server, /etc/cups/printers.conf specifies the printers
> available. For each <Printer fooprinter> or
> <DefaultPrinter barprinter> from
> /etc/cups/printers.conf, there should be a
> corresponding .ppd file found in /etc/cups/ppd, i.e.,
> fooprinter.ppd and barprinter.ppd.
> When I have encountered problems with the PPDs
> supplied by my distro, I have checked at
> http://www.linuxprinting.org/printer_list.cgi for any
> hints. In your case, The information given for an HP
> 5Si is:
> General driver notes: Generic Postscript "driver".
> Generally, for Postscript printers, you will not need
> a driver, as all applications produce PostScript. For
> the printing system getting access to the
> printer-specific features the manufacturer supplies a
> PPD file for every PostScript printer. Use this PPD
> file instead of a Foomatic-generated one to get all
> functionality of your PostScript printer working. The
> files provided by Foomatic are generic files which
> contain only some standard options, use them only if
> you do not find an appropriate PPD for your printer.
> So, it sounds to me like you should track down the PPD
> supplied by HP for your printer. Once you have a
> candidate, just copy it over the existing PPD in
> /etc/cups/ppd. Of course, you'll want to save a copy
> of the original ppd as a backup. After the copy, just
> restart the CUPS daemon and give it a try.
> Good luck!
> Scott

Good advice but some extra steps...

Here is what I found working with a handful of true postscript printers with Scribus:

When you are using a real postscript printer on Linux, ideally you have the ppd file which comes on the driver disk with the printer. If not try to download the latest from the manufacturer's site. Then use the cupstestppd tool to verify the file. This is a very important step. 

A great many printer drivers come as windows .exe files. I know many of the HP ones are simple WinZip self extractors. Any recent wine will open them easily. 

Then, I strongly recommend that you run cupstestppd on the file to make sure it follows the PPD spec. If there is an error, and there are often minor ones, the actual specs are here:

Getting the exact PPD file sometimes takes a bit of work, but

There are two command line tools included with CUPS which are helpful:

cupstestppd will parse the ppd file to check for correct syntax and ensure it conforms to the ppd spec.  If errors are found, it will give hints on how to correct the errors. I have tested a few ppd from manufacturers and was surprised how many had small and not so small errors. 

Running this on the file I found for this printer I got:

cupstestppd  ./HPLJ5SIM.PPD
      **FAIL**  Unable to open PPD file - Missing asterisk in column 1 on line 1120.  REF: Page 15, section 3.2.

I fixed this and some follow up errors and it installed easily with KDE Print Manager. 

Once you have confirmed the PPD is OK, install it using the add printer function in KDE Print Manager easiest)  or via adding to /usr/share/cups/

The other tool is cups-calibrate which can calibrate the settings for GIMP-Print drivers when using CUPS.
Following these steps in setting up a Fiery RIP allowed me to test Scribus and have access to all the advanced features of the RIP, with the same parity as Windows or MacOSX.
The other side of CUPS is the ease of installing to a networked print server. On Suse 9.1, it was easier to setup an elderly but dead reliable LJ4 PS in about 30 seconds.
I am adding these notes based on my experiementing for this to the CUPS help docs for Scribus.
I would also note there is a group of developers working very hard on desktop printing at OSDL and we have an invitation for one of the Scribus developers to attend the next meeting in the US. 
Lastly, CUPS 1.2 just released its first beta. 1.2 has many many improvements including better feedback to end users and some architectural fixes which affect duplexing landscape pages. That has been a long standing issue in CUPS. 
The fixed PPD is getting sent off list. 

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