SUMMARY: SPARCPrinter and Solaris 2.*

From: Robert Benites (
Date: Wed Apr 16 1997 - 10:37:50 CDT

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get this SUMMARY done. It has,
however, been a very worthwhile experience, trying to get our
SPARCPrinter to work under Solaris and with ghostscript (gs). I hope I
can provide some answers to others.

I had posted originally that we'd upgraded from Solaris 1.1.1 to 2.5
and ran into problems trying to install an old version of NewSPrint
(1.2). We learned we needed a newer version of NewSPrint, 2.5P. At the
same time we also found Sun no longer sells 2.5P, it has been
"discontinued." However, we were able to find an unopened copy of
2.5S (predecessor to 2.5P) from a reseller and so we purchased his
last copy. An important fact I've been made aware of is that old
version of Solaris 2.* NewSPrint will *not* work under 2.6. So while
we're able to use the NewSPrint we have now, we will *only* be able to
use the SPARCPrinter via gs should we upgrade to Solaris 2.6.

Many people wrote to tell me that I could print to our SPARCPrinter
using gs. This is true, but, you *must* have NewSPrint installed -- or
at least two components from the installation package. gs must also
have been built using the SPARCPrinter installation instructions (see
devices.txt in the gs installation materials). Even if you are able to
get gs built to support the SPARCPrinter, it is somewhat of a
kludge. More on that later.

I received many suggestions that it would probably be in our best
interest to junk the SPARCPrinters and just buy some new HP
network-ready printers. In the next breath, these same respondents
provided testimonials about how great HP's "jetadmin" software
is. Unfortunately, we are a small university and don't have the luxury
of simply junking the SPARCPrinters, especially since they are
relatively new. I received *many* messages from people about how
upset they are that Sun has essentially hung us out to dry. It seems
Sun should make the necessary components freely available to
SPARCPrinter owners so they might be able to use them a little longer
with a product like gs.

The instructions to build SPARCPrinter support into gs presuppose that
NewSPrint is installed. You need only two components from that
NewSPrint install CD, a header file (lpviio.h) and the device driver

I received very helpful instructions on how to integrate the device
driver. Use the following commands:

cp ./lpvi /kernel/drv
add_drv -m '* 0666 bin bin' -i 'SUNW,lpvi' lpvi
echo "type=ddi_pseudo;name=SUNW,lpvi \M0" >> /etc/
touch /reconfigure

Do be careful, the whitespace on the echo command between "lpvi" and
"\M0", *must* be a tab character.

After doing the above, I recompiled gs with the aforementioned header
file and voila, I could print postscript files to our SPARCPrinter.

I said gs and the SPARCPrinter is a "kludge" because the catch is that
gs only prints postscript files. What you need is some utility which can
translate things like ascii text, gif, jpg, etc., into postscript. The
best package I've found to do this is the "convert" utility, a part of
the ImageMagick product. It is available from:

ImageMagick client executables are available for some platforms, see:

ImageMagick is a pretty nifty set of programs. The "convert" utility
will pretty much convert any format to any other format, or so it
seems, along with a lot of other great functionality.

The nice thing about gs is that once you have a postscript file, I've
been told it's much faster than NewSPrint and provides more flexibility
than NewSPrint does. But getting the postscript file, well, that's a
job. convert is a giant help.

The bottom line, however, seems to be that while you can't buy
NewSPrint from Sun any longer, you could get a copy of the device
driver from the Solaris 2.5 CD in patch 102211-03, and the header file
from some other generous individual. Then you can build gs with
SPARCPrinter support and continue to use it, for the time being that

You should, however, be looking at purchasing a HP (or some other
vendor) printer.

Finally, if NewSPrint in itself weren't problem enough. I received two
messages, one from Christophe Diarra:

> You have to install NeWSprint 2.5 - Rev B and patches: 102211-04,
> 102114-04, 102113-03.
> If you want to print form NT clients or print Acrobat files, install
> patches: 103093-07, 102964-05, 101656-10 .
> Note: if you are using SunSoft Print Client on the print server, NT
> clients will not be able to print even after installing all the
> patches.
> I have the problem to print from NT clients and SUN did not get a
> solution yet. I have SSPC installed on the print server.

The other from Glenn Carver in which he details patches that while
correcting some problems, still does not provide error-free service
with his SPARCPrinter:

> Yes, in fact I've had to install several patches. What's crazy is if
> you don't' install 102211-03, newsprint doesn't work on solaris 2,
> even though it's supposed to be the solaris 2 version. If you don't'
> install it, only the first file is printed. After that the newsprint
> server hangs. In the end I've installed 102211-03, 101656-08 (xview
> jumbo patch), 101719-02 (corrects thick lines), 101941-02 (printer
> doesn't report status), 102114-04 (patch for printing PC files).
> I still have trouble with the software hanging every so often. I've
> had to resort to sending the printer a 'reset' postscript file every
> 10 mins.

If you have any questions, I have not answered here, please email me.

Thanks again to all the people who responded: (Marc S. Gibian) (Todd LeRoy) (Dennis Schwindt) -- The aforementioned reseller! (Ann Rautenbach 3267 Systems_Administrator) (Rich Snyder) (Matthew Stier) (Rick von Richter) (Christophe DIARRA)
bismark@alta.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Bismark Espinoza) (Louis Hoo) (Karl E. Vogel) (Jason Coombs) (Dan Stromberg) (Himanshu Gohel) (Brett Lymn)
And one other anonymous individual...

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