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General Questions

Forum: Mac OS X

Where can I find packages of printer drivers, GhostScript, and Foomatic?

Why are the Mac OS X packages on so old?

Unfortunately, we have no maintainer for these packages currently. Volunteers are welcome. If you want to help here, please post on the Mac OS X forum, thanks.

See also the red box on our Mac OS X page.

Where can I find a **table** of working printers?

Why can't I print to a Linux CUPS server?

Some carbon applications print a PICT encoded postscript file. If you are printing to a UNIX server that is not Mac OSX, then the server does not understand what to do with the PICT file.

The solution is here

How come the Mac cannot see the printer on the GNU/Linux box?

Check the GNU/Linux box's cups.conf file and verify that you have set Browsing on and that you are using BrowseProtocols cups andBrowseAddress @LOCAL, and that your BrowseAllow and BrowseDeny are configured like this

BrowseAllow @LOCAL

Most likely this is missing. BrowseAddress… determines where the own printer announcement broadcasts go to – @LOCAL is a macro meaning all local interfaces (independent from their actual IP addresses in use – good for cases where DHCP is in place…)

BrowseDeny All

Note that this also needs a correct BrowseOrder directive:“BrowseOrder deny,allow”will work, but “BrowseOrder allow,deny” will not.

All the BrowseAllow|Deny|Order stuff is only relevant for the CUPS boxen as clients. It configures the clients to listen and allow inbound printer broadcasts from (other or localhost) CUPS servers – or play deaf and not show them to the user (even if they happen).

Do the Keyspan USB/Parallel adapters work?

Keyspan adapters have been reported by many users as non-functional on Mac OS X, even though it seems to work well on Mac OS 9. Many brands of USB-to-parallel adapters that work perfectly in OS 9 don't work in OS X.

Where can I get a USB/Serial (Din-8) for my LaserWriter?

There are no current known solutions to mate an apple din-8 (old style Apple serial) to USB. You must use either parallel or ethernet.

If the printer has appletalk port, use that, plus an appletalk/ethernet box (prefereably a hub) and connect it to an ethernet network. If the printer has a parallel port, you can go with a usb/parallel cable (which may or may not work), or you can go the networking route by finding a parallel/ethernet box.

How do I stop the extra gibberish page with every print job?

My guess is that you're using an SMC wireless router. This router is known to concatenate useless banner pages to the print job. There have been some threads on this subject previously but I would suggest contacting the company's tech support department (assuming that you have this brand of router).

Updating the firmware of the wireless router solved the problem.

Go to and navigate to

Customer Care -> Technical Support -> Drivers and Downloads

Then choose Wireless → SMC7004AWBR → then your “part number” (model?)

Here's how to upgrade the firmward. Use this firmware if your router part number is 5435.

1. Upgrade the BOOT CODE 1.20

2. Reboot router.

3. Upgrade the Run time Code 1.41.009 (this a new version)

4. Reset, upgrade firmware, Restore factory defaults & reconfigure the router.

5. Reset AWBR: Press (use a paper clip) the reset button (hard) in the 7004-awbr hold for 10 seconds while the Barricade is powered on. Than sit back and wait while the power led flickers rapidly, then all the 10/100 and link led's will go out than come back on and the port that you are plugged into will come back on. The link light will flash rapidly at this point the unit will be reset to defaults.

6. Upgrading Firmware AWBR: Go to the routers setup page athttp:// Then login. Go intotools → update firmware → enter → click browse and than browse to the.dlf file you have downloaded.

7. Restore Factory Defaults: Go to the routers setup page athttp:// Then login. Go into

tools -> restore factory defaults -> restore -> click OK -> OK

How do I connect my LocalTalk or AppleTalk Printer?

You will need an ethernet printbox with a LocalTalk/AppleTalk port. Then you can talk to it as to a printer with an internal network card.

You can also try an appletalk backend called pap for Printer Access Protocol which can be used on all *NIX systems, for example netatalk on Linux. You can find pap at

How can I print with QuadTone inks?

How can I print PostScript Level 1?

Use the Postscript driver of Foomatic. It has a PreFilter option which you have to set to Level1 so that the output is PostScript Level 1. If your printer is not listed for the Postscript driver


use the Generic PostScript printer.

If you set up the printer with lpadmin, add -o PreFilter=Level1 to your command line to set the option correctly by default.

In the web interface of CUPS or in the KDE Printing Manager chooseConfigure printer and switch the option GhostScript pre-filtering toConvert to PS level 1.

What's the easiest way to add a printer?

Plug the printer into the computer, turn it on, and reboot. Then in Print Center, press the Add button while holding down the option key. In the option menu in the window that pops up, you should see an entry corresponding to your printer. If you select it, you should be taken to the Advanced settings pane with the URI filled in for you.

How do I fix the blue tint in the output?

The current Gimp-Print driver does not support printer color profiles, so the output color will be matched to your display profile. If you are using an exotic display profile then your output color with the Gimp-Print driver will look strange. Even if you use a standard profile the output color will likely not be well matched for your output device.

How come the curves and circles are pixelated?

Try increasing the resolution setting in the Printer Featuresks section of the print dialog box (click on Copies and pages to find it). Also make sure you are using the Adaptive Hybrid dithering algorithm (or Eventone).

How come the test page looks better than application output?

The test page printed from the CUPS web admin does not get the default color correction applied to it, so its colors may look better.

Software and Drivers

Where is the list of Mac Printing Software?

When did Apple start using CUPS?

From Mac OS X 10.2 (codenamed “Jaguar”).

What spooler do older versions of OSX use?

CUPS did not ship with the Operating System, but you can install CUPS.

Where do I get the HPIJS driver for OSX?

Where is the **''pnmtppa''** driver for host-based printers?

Geoff Kruse makes a driverpnmtppa with an installer for Mac OSX. This adds additional support for about six unsupported printers. This information is not currently a part of If you installed an older version of the driver, you may want to run the Disk Utility “Repair Disk Permissions” tool.

pnm2ppa Installer

Why did my HP printer just stop working?

Please update to the latest version of HPIJS (1.3-2) there was a bug in 1.3.1 that prevented printing.

Why can't I print with hpijs/gimpprint?

The HP installation software leaves a running process called “HP Communications” that constantly occupies the usb port. You can simply kill it, or reinstall the HP software (and reboot). When this process is active, you simply can't print with hpijs/gimpprint.

Why does Acrobat Reader only the first page?

Apple's Preview app works fine.

Acrobat prints with a different filter chain that starts with pictwpstops, while the other methods of printing you mention, apple PDF and, print to hpijs with a filter chain headed bycgpdftops. The source of this failure to print multipage documents may be linked to the pictwpstops filter, or it may have to do with peculiarities of Acrobat reader.

OSX 10.1.X

Why aren't the drivers working?

10.1.x doesn't have the underpinnings to use the Linux driver. So, you'll either have to upgrade to Jaguar or install CUPS yourself.

Once you get CUPS in one form or another, there are double-clickable installers for the Linux driver at You'll have to install both ESP Ghostscript and HPIJS. I don't know if those installers have a PPD (Postscript Printer Definition) file included for your printer, so you may have to install a PPD file manually.

OSX 10.2

What spooler did it ship with?

It shipped with a rudimentary LPD installation.

Can I use free driver software?

Theoretically yes. It would require some compiling and shell scripting. It is better to upgrade to 10.2.3, which includes CUPS, and then you can use the free softare.

How come my parallel/USB adapter stopped working?

Many brands of USB-to-parallel adapters that work perfectly in OS 9 don't work in OS X.

OSX 10.2.3

How come the page prints random ASCII? **''1234SX@PJL ENTER PRINTER LANGUAGE=PCL3GUI''**

Instead of using Apple Talk to communicate with the printer, set it up as an IP printer. For this to work, uncheck the Use Default Queue checkbox and specify the queue name.

Why can I only print one page of a PDF file?

Converting the pdf to postscript make the printing output look fine. Problem is otherwise unsolved.

**''"pdftops" cannot be found! Filter "imagetops" cannot be found! Filter "texttops" cannot be found! Filter "imagetoraster" cannot be found!''**

The messages are normal because OS X does not include those filters.

**''Unable to parse AppleTalk address: LaserWriter@''**

I tried using the Device LPD/LPR and it printed, though noticeably slower.

This result simply indicates that while the hpijs setup configuration on the second iMac is correct, the setup on the original iMac is faulty, but the core print system on the original is still functioning properly. I would suggest that you open a web browser on each imac and point it to the CUPS web admin the look at the displayed information for each printer. It will look something like this:

HP_OfficeJet_G85  HP OfficeJet G85, Foomatic + hpijs
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Description: HP OfficeJet G85
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Location:
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Printer State: idle, accepting jobs.
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Device URI: pap://*/HP%20G85/LaserWriter

Compare the setup for the printer on each iMac and see if there are any differences at all (apart from the name and decription).

Can I use a USB to Parallel convert?

Yes, many work.

The belkin cable should be a good choice. Some cables are not supported on Mac OS X, see the Gimp-Print FAQ for more info on this subject

Why can't my RedHat GNU/Linux PC print to the Mac using netatalk?

Turne on printer sharing on the Mac.

System Pref -> Sharing -> Print Sharing

Try sharing with CUPS instead of Appletalk. By default, CUPS is configured for automatic printer sharing within a subnet, and can be manually configured to relay printers across subnets if necessary.

You need to have the driver software installed on the CUPS server to which the printer is attached. So, if you have turbo print for GNU/Linux but not for mac you could connect the printer to the GNU/Linux box; then without installing anything on the mac you should be able to print from it as long as printer sharing is working correctly.

Why can't I print from a Mac to a GNU/Linux box?

This most likely means that your GNU/Linux box doesn't share its printers, and doesn't send Browse broadcast announcements to the LAN.

Can I use **''netatalk''** with CUPS?

netatalk is not relevant for CUPS printing. CUPS printing uses TCP/IP.

Why does the new installer script hang on "running installer?"

You need to force quit the installer, but the software and drivers will be installed. This was reported fixed 21 Feb 03 by Tyler Blessing.

How come I can print from the command line and not graphical programs?

Print via the Preview application. Click on the Preview button in a print dialog; if you haven't changed your default viewer for PDF, the image should open in Preview and you should be able to print directly from there.

It seems that many Mac apps, specifically Carbon apps, use an older spool format that requires a filter called pictwpstops. The source for the filter is in the CUPS package, but can only be compiled on OS X. You must set up local queues up on the OS X machine in order to print from these apps.

There is an IPP backend modification which calles the pictwpstops filter on the local machine. It can be found here:

The CUPS v1.2 development series addresses this problem directly.

Does OSX ship with the latest CUPS version?

It is similar to the latest version of CUPS, although it may report something else. The latest version of OS X (10.2.4) ship with the latest version of CUPS.

How do I get a SCSI backend working?

The shipping version of Mac OS X does not include the scsi (or serial) backend. You need to get them from another source. Right now, if you want the scsi backend you would need to compile it yourself from source.

OSX 10.2.4

Why can't I print to my socket:// URI printer?

You may need to append the port number 9100 to your IP address when you use the socket backend, although it should still print when you don't. You do need to write out the full socket URI and not just the IP address, so in your case would it would be this:


and of course that IP address had better be on the same network as your Mac … unless you have a router in between.

Why can't I print from Acrobat to a remote print server?

Some carbon applications print a PICT encoded postscript file. If you are printing to a UNIX server that is not Mac OSX, then the server does not understand what to do with the PICT file.

The solution is here

How do I add a USB printer with the HPIJS driver?

Using Apple's Print Center application to add a USB printer for use with the hpijs driver is a rather convoluted process. It should be automatic when device information is available, but unfortunately a nasty bug in Print Center's URI creation routine (which will likely never be fixed in Jaguar) has required disabling of the automatic matching and hence the requirement to use of the convoluted option-click-elbow procedure.

The hpijs installer includes an integrated “ReadMe” file that describes rather explicitly how to set up a printer. I must emphasize that it is very important to follow this procedure to the letter if you wish to be successful in creating your printer. I understand that many longtime Mac users may find the set-up procedure unintuitive, but I was not the one who thought it up, and most likely I would have done it differently. Nevertheless, of the various printer set-up procedures available (and there are several) this procedure is the one that is the most “Mac-like” as it requires no command-line skills, and after all, it is only six easy steps, which is not so many for something that you should have to do only once.

If you like, you may run the installer again and print or save the Readme (it is the second screenful of text titled “Important information”). You may quit the installer at this point with no harm done (or if you run it again nothing bad will happen either). In case you threw away the disk image containing the installer and uninstaller (not a good idea in my opinion) here's a copy of the set-up procedure:

Adding USB printers to the system printer list In Mac OS X Jaguar, the process for setting up a USB printer using the hpijs driver is not obvious (you may find it helpful at this point to save or print this file for later reference, as you must first continue the installation process before you can set up your printer). To set up your USB printer please follow these simple steps:

1. verify that your USB printer is connected to your Mac and turned on. If your printer was connected and turned on when you started your mac you may continue. If not, you should restart your mac now before continuing.

2. Open Print Center (located in your Applications folder under Utilities)

3. Press and hold the option key on your keyboard while you click Add Printer in the Print Center toolbar.

4. Within the setup sheet, choose Advanced from the top popup (don't see Advanced? go back and reread the previous step).

5. Click the Device popup and select your printer by name (it should be the last item in the menu list).

6. Finally, click on the Printer Model popup and select your device manufacturer (for hpijs the manufacturer is typically “HP”), then select the correct driver from the driver list and click Add (hint: the driver name should include “Foomatic + hpijs” ).

Warning! You must select the correct driver for your specific printer. If you fail to do this you may get garbled output, or no output at all!

ALPS Microdry

Which driver do I use?

Use the free software printer driverppmtomd You will have to compile it under OS X to use it.

To run a SCSI printer, you will need at least version1.1.17 of CUPS. If the printer has USB, parallel, or ethernet you should use one of those.

Apple Imagewriter

Why does my Mac not recognize my Imagewriter 2?

Most likely the URI is incorrect. While your imagewriter is connected to the network open a terminal on the mac and type atlookup then press return.

Why does the new installer script hang on **''running installer''**?

You need to force quit the installer, but the software and drivers will be installed.

Apple Laserwriter IINT/X

Why is serial port printing so slow?

Serial interfaces max out around 115 kbps, which is a hundered times slower than USB, thousand times slower than ethernet, …

What are the DIP switch settings? Serial port configuration? Startup page on/off?

How can I print without upgrading the printer?

This is a postscript Level 1 driver that will allow you to print text. When printing graphics it stalls “processing page” and eventually stops.

Is it possible to print graphics?

At the moment, not with software. The problem is that the printer speaks Postscript 1, while the rest of the world (and OSX) speak Postscript 2.

You can use Acrobat Reader from Adobe to convert the code into Postscript Level 1, which is compatible with the printer.

cat file.pdf | acroread -toPostScript -level1 >

Try to print the resulting If you have trouble with this, then try this:

1. From PRINT in Safari, selected SAVE AS PDF. (file.pdf)

2. Open Acrobat reader 5.1 for OS 9.x in Classic mode.

3. Open the above file.pdf.

3. Printed the file. (Now from Classic)

The printer is configured in Classic's Chooser using AUTO SETUP.

Can I upgrade to PostScript Level 2?

Yes. The Laserwriter II class printers (SC NT NTX fg) share a similar chassis and differed only by controller board. You should install a IIf or IIg logic board as those are the ones that support Level2 Postscript.

Here are the apple part numbers for these two logic boards:

.661-0662 (IIf)\\ 
.661-0661 (IIg)

The IIg is technically superior because it includes a proprietary built-in ethernet (Apple's old proprietary AAUI port, which would require an adapter for the standard twisted pair cabling (10BASE-T) built-in to all modern Macs since the iMac).

If you already have an ethernet-to-localtalk adapter (which you must if you are printing from OS X to your IINTX) then the only real advantage to the IIg over the IIf is the extra 3MB of memory it included standard (both boards are upgradeable to 32MB of memory).

The going price for refurbished boards seems to be around $70-$80 for a IIf and $130 for IIg (YMMV). If you want to find a source I would recommend searching google for “laserwriter IIf upgrade”.

Randy Hom supplies parts. mailto:DRHOMAE1@prodigy.net

How do I get past the step of using **''atlookup''** to find the printer name?

Hold down the keyboard option key when you click Add printer in

Print Center. Then choose Advanced Setup and PAP

Can I print from Adobe InDesign?

See this Gimp-Print FAQ item on printing correctly from Adobe InDesign. It should be applicable to any CUPS printer driver (not just Gimp-Print).

Apple StyleWriter II

How do I print with CUPS?

Use the Stylewriter II PPD called Apple-StyleWriter_II-lpstyl.ppd.

You will probably need to modify the PPD to refer directly to thecu.modem-printer device driver in the /dev directory

Canon GP 405

Which driver do I use?

This is a PCL Laser Printer. Use the HPIJS driver and pretend you have a Laserjet 4. You'll need at least version 1.3-2 of the HPIJS package.

Epson SC 800, 1200

What is the serial port configuration?

Older stylus models can use


HP CP1700

Why is my printer not listed in the **''Device:''** popup?

You need to discover the IP address of the printer's jet direct box, or else use appletalk if that feature is available on your jetdirect device. If you know the IP address then try the appsocket/Jetdirect backend and set up a printer using the web interface available herehttp://

HP 2500CM

Why does it only print one blank page?

In Mac OS X, the HP 2500CM works fine in postscript mode, and you can use the HP-supplied Mac OS9 PPD without alteration.

HP Laserjet 4/m

Why can't I change paper size?

This is caused by a bug in cupsomatic. You find the currentcupsomatic here. Replace yours by this one (don't forget to have it world-readable and world-executable).

Why do I get **''ERROR: rangecheck, OFFENDING COMMAND: get''** and lose one page?

Please upgrade to the latest version of hpijs and try printing again.

Where do I get a PPD?

Use the ppd referenced by the link below instead of the OSX ppd:*checkout*/lpr/ppds/hp/English/HP_LaserJet_4.ppd?rev=HEAD&content-type=text/plain

Place the PPD somewhere easy to find (I use /Library/Printers/MyPPDs) and manually select it via

Print Center / Printer List / Show Info / Printer Model

Why is the printer recognized, but no driver is listed?

You need to use the advanced set up in Print Center. Option-click (hold down option while you click) on the Add button in the print center toolbar to reveal the advanced option. This Gimp-Print FAQ entry has more info (your driver name will be different for HPIJS, but the process is similar): USB Setup

HP LaserJet 1000

How do I compile the **''oo2zjs''** driver?

These are the commands. You will only need to executegetweb for the printer you won. You may need the “Apple Developer's Kit” to do this.

cd foo2zjs
./getweb 1005     # Get HP LJ1005 firmware file
./getweb 1000     # Get HP LJ1000 firmware file
make install      # Install driver, foomatic XML files, and extra files:

How do I upload the firmware?

A typical command looks like cat /usr/share/foo2zjs/firmware/sihp1000.dl > /dev/usb/lp0 or cat /usr/share/foo2zjs/firmware/sihp1005.dl > /dev/usb/lp0

NOTE: The original HP files are named '*.img'. Sometimes HP supplies these files already-to-download, sometimes they are raw ARM executables and need to have a special header added to them before they can be downloaded. The “make install” step will use the supplied “arm2hpdl” program to automatically detect which kind of file they are and convert them (if needed) to the downloadable '*.dl' format.

HP LaserJet 3300/3320/3330 MFP

Why does the printer simply not work with OSX 10.2.3?

Please upgrade to the latest HPIJS.

Why can I only print random ASCII?

Please upgrade to the latest HPIJS.

Does the printer work with the USB port?

This printer is on a list of devices that may not function properly over USB when using CUPS-based drivers (like HPIJS). Try network printing, or a USB/Parallel converter.

Where can I get a postscript driver?

Search the CDs which come with the printer for a PPD file (file with file name suffix .ppd) and set up your printer as a PostScript printer with this PPD file.

HP OfficeJet

How do I work around the error **''genericclass: waiting for device''**?

There are two possible workarounds. First, try closing the user session, which seems to flush the printer queue. You will have to do this every print job.

Second, you can try unplugging the printer, after printing two documnets. Here's how:

1. Print a short Word document two time.

2. In the print queue, you should now have to pending documents, as well as the error genericclass: waiting for device.

3. Remove the printer's USB cable for a couple of seconds, and then plug it back in. The first page will be sent to the printer, but it won't print. The second page will.

After this, the printer should continue to print as long as you do not do any of the following:

  • Put the Mac into sleep mode.
  • Restart or Shutdown.
  • Do not print with the Officejet drivers provided on the HP CD-ROM.

HP OfficeJet G85

Which cable do I use?

It works with the USB cable.

Which device do I use?

The optimized device to use for the iMacs is theAppSocket or HP JetDirect device with a device URI of socket://

All iMacs configured as above print smoothly to the HP G85 over the network.

NewGen Design XP 12

Where is the manufacturer's Website?

Gone. They are out of business.

Is the printer PostScript?


Where can I get a PPD?

The original PPD can be pulled from OS9. It is located in

System Folder/Extensions/Printer Descriptions

What changes should be made to the PPD?

You should open a copy of this PPD in a text editor and look for the*LanguageLevel keyword. If it is absent or if it is*LanguageLevel: “1” then you will need to use the PSLevel1 driver for OS X and a special PPD will be required, based on your old PPD. If it says*LanguageLevel: “2” or *LanguageLevel: “3” then setting it up is a simple matter of selecting the PPD manually when you set up the printer queue in print center (it will be supported natively in Mac OS X 10.2).

I can't find the PPD file.

The problem is in the way the OS 9 GUI sees the hidden files. You will need to access the system folder to display the real file names.

OkiData 590

What drivers can I try for OSX?

Try the two Okidata drivers located under printer model “ESP” in Print Center:

Okidata 24-pin series CUPS v1.1
Okidata 9-pin series CUPS v1.1

One of these might work for you.

There is currently no driver for OS X.

Samsung ML-1430

Why doesn't the Print Center recognize it?

If you're connected directly via USB try going to

System Preferences/Sharing

and toggle (click it once .. wait a for a state change, then click it again) the setting for “Printer Sharing”. Then try the advanced setup again.

Can I use the GNU/Linux PPD?

The free software PPD will not work for you because it uses a different form of the driver.

openprinting/database/macosxfaq.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/12 14:55 by sampablokuper