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New HP printer drivers for RISC OS

By Chris Williams. Published: 5th Mar 18:06:21 | Permalink | Printable

Earlier last week, Jonathan Briggs announced the availability of his revised RISC OS printer driver for the Hewlett Packard DeskJet 895Cxi printer.

The original driver provided settings for EconoFast, Normal and Best qualities with Plain Paper plus Normal and Best qualities with Special Paper where the type of Special Paper was not specified, according to Jonathan's announcement. The revised driver provides:

  • ...settings for EconoFast, Normal and Best Black qualities with Plain Paper.
  • ...sends the correct codes to the printer, for Normal quality with Transparency media, and Best quality with Coated Paper and Glossy paper.
  • ...a more appropriate icon bar symbol.

Jonathan also recommends RISC OS 4 and !Printers 1.64 is installed along with the driver. Also he has been asked to "have a go at" drivers for 3 other HP devices, to which we look forward to. Incidentally, the drivers can be obtained by emailing Jonathan.

Drobe contacted Jonthan regarding this development. Here's what he had to say for himself:
"Last year I was looking for a new printer to replace my HP LaserJet 5L. This had given good service but I was starting to feel the need to be able to print in colour. On looking around it was fairly obvious that not many colour inkjets were supported on RISC OS and that those that were, required special software for ink cartridge alignment.

I've always found HP printers to be both reliable and reasonably priced. I was therefore very interested to discover that HP had launched a range of printers which included 'automatic' ink cartridge alignment. This was the 900 series DeskJets. They have a built-in optical sensor and adjacent blue LED which is used to align the cartridges. It does this by printing a variety of grid patterns, scanning the patterns and then deciding for itself which settings produced the best alignment. This works very well on the 970 I purchased and is fun to watch as you can see the blue glow clearly.

The downside was that there was no driver available for these printers. I decided to buy a 970 and see if I could produce a driver myself, this could be considered either a bold or stupid move on my part. Fortunately I was able to produce a driver which provided support for 300 and 600dpi modes in full colour and with a variety of media specified. Unfortunately I was not able to support HP's PhotoRet mode which is used for photo-realistic printing, therefore either a PC or an Apple is required for this. Also I was not able to provide support for the duplex attachment which is included with the 970, however I don't consider this a great loss as use of the duplexer requires the top/bottom print margins to be larger than normal and in my experience of using it under Windows isn't any quicker than printing odd then even pages manually.

After having supplied copies of my driver to a number of other RISC OS users I began to wonder if I could produce revised or new drivers for other HP DeskJets. This I have now done and recently have advertised a variety of them on the comp.sys.acorn.announce newsgroup. I now have drivers available for the following DeskJets:

  • 690C
  • 895Cxi
  • 930C
  • 950C
  • 970Cxi

I also have drivers for the HP PhotoSmart 1215 and 1218 printers which have slots for direct printing from digital camera memory cards. Finally I have also done a driver for the Xerox DocuPrint C20 Postscript/A3 printer.
I supply with all the above drivers a small application which provides the driver with an appropriate image for the icon bar. The icon bar images are of the actual printer the driver is controlling.

My drivers are all available from me via email. A 5 donation per user is appreciated."

Jonathan Briggs: jbcb@globalnet.co.uk

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