GemPrint project progressingBy Chris Williams. Published: 8th Dec 2003, 20:37:43 | Permalink | Printable
MW Software renames ROUGPS, explains the current situationMW Software has this month renamed its ROUGPS project to a more friendlier sounding GemPrint. while releasing details on how the project is progressing. MW Software explained to drobe.co.uk that 'ROUGPS' was "uninspiring and difficult to pronounce and remember". In a further tease, a screenshot of MW Software's printer driver software has also been posted on their website.
GemPrint is MW Software's daring project to give the RISC OS platform a significantly greater range of modern, high quality printer drivers. The GemPrint software is quite modular and may seem fragmented at first, as it consists of the GPDriver module and the GemPrint end user interface. The GDriver component is based on the popular, well supported open source gimp-print library and is the software that communicates with your printer. The GemPrinter user interface works with !Printers and the GPSetup application and acts as a generic software layer between !Printers and the new gimp-print based drivers. The GPSetup software allows you to configure GPDriver output in a way !Printers can't - for example, control over error diffusion, paper feeds and types and brightness and colour.
"From a user's point of view the system looks like a normal printer driver", Martin Wuerthner of MW Software told us this week.
"As usual, you install a printer by double-clicking on a RISC OS PrintDefs file. Then, you set up the resolution and connection type in the Configuration and Connections windows provided by !Printers. In addition, there is an application called GPSetup that allows you to set up additional parameters.
"Then, you print normally from any RISC OS application that supports printing via !Printers, e.g., ArtWorks, PhotoDesk, Impression, OvationPro, Draw, etc."
Having a lot of RAM has never been a priority for RISC OS users, seeing as one can comfortably use a machine with only 64MB fitted. However, users with RISC OS machines laden with RAM will be smug when they learn of the system resources GemPrint needs in order to perform high quality, full resolution printing.
For example, take a full page A4 photo at 1440 by 720 DPI in Artworks 2 running on a 600MHz XScale Iyonix. Martin told us that printing such a page took about 35 seconds before the desktop began multitasking, followed by another 24 minutes and 80MB of RAM to convert the page for an Epson Stylus C84 at the highest quality setting. Martin stressed that these timings are very much subject to change as the software is still in development and shouldn't be considered as a benchmark.
"Fortunately, you will find that even at lower resolutions and lower quality settings, the print quality by far exceeds that of current RISC OS drivers", Martin added.
"The reason is that in contrast to popular belief, what the current RISC OS drivers lack is not mainly support for high resolutions, what is really missing is support for soft-weaving, i.e., the driver's ability to arrange the pixel rows and columns in a way that makes optimal use of the printer's nozzles, improves quality and eliminates the dreaded banding effects (stripy printouts).
"Apart from being able to weave, Gimp-Print can also make use of variable drop sizes (drop modulation technology) and photoreal inks on printers that support these features."
The first public release of the GPDriver module will use Gimp-Print version 4.2.6. MW Software hope to have the first release of GemPrint complete in time for January 2004, if not earlier.
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