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Cough up the cash, says MW Software

By Chris Williams. Published: 22nd Jan 2004, 23:49:22 | Permalink | Printable

Gimp-Print project ready to rock and/or roll

Gimp-Print logoCast your mind back to August when MW Software was toying with the revolutionary idea of a gimpprint based printing system. No money was asked, except for anyone interested to send an email to register a firm interest. In October, things started taking shape and eventually the project was renamed to Gimp-Print after previous titles fell through for various reasons. This week MW Software completed the GPDriver software.

While the RISC OS online media throws itself into a Gimp-Print frenzy, MW Software has begun chasing up those who pledged support for the project by asking them to put their money where their mouth is and donate cash.

"Many thanks for committing to funding the creation of a RISC OS printer driver based on the Linux Gimp-Print system supporting high quality, high resolution photo-real printing", Martin Wuerthner of MW Software told supporters of Gimp-Print in an email today.

"The coding for the project has been completed and the software is currently going into beta test. This means that it is time for me to collect the promised funding."

The software is currently in beta-test, although supporters are promised a copy before the end of the month. Donations can be paid by cheque, cash, bank transfer or PayPal. MW Software recommends at least a StrongARM or XScale powered computer with 128M of RAM recommended and 64M minimum for Gimp-Print. An A4 page with graphics printed at 720dpi will require 100M of free RAM, for example. You'll also need RISC OS 3.5 or higher, and it's Select and OS 5 compatible.

Martin warns supporters that, "your payment is a donation, so you are not buying a software product with the usual levels of warranty and end-user support", however he does naturnally insist that that Gimp-Print is a "high-quality piece of software."

Gimp-Print utilises the open source gimpprint library, which due to its popularity, supports a vast number of printers - ideal for RISC OS to tap into. According to Martin, the first release is for donators only so as to limit the impact of managing end user support. As components of Gimp-Print use GPL software, they too will also fall under the distribution conditions of the GPL. Martin has also commented that he intends to eventually release all of Gimp-Print as free software.

Gimp-Print will hopefully make a great addition alongside MW Software's Artworks 2 graphics software.


Gimp-Print webpage Supported printer models, screenshots, mailing list

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I have a high regard for Martin and I'm sure this is going to be a very important piece of software. My 'donation' has been sent.

 is a RISC OS UserEddie on 23/1/04 7:48AM
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I see you have now employed an ex-tabloid headline writer ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 23/1/04 9:04AM
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I just wonder if GIMP-Print will do anything in terms of quality or speed for the output from my Epson Stylus 600. It's an old printer now and was supported by Acorn. For the most part I have been quite happy with the results but wonder what I might be missing. :-)


 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 23/1/04 9:54AM
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Your Stylus (Color) 600 was supported by the Acorn driver, yes. But not in a photo-real way. I believe you will find that Gimp-Print will print photos that look like they were printed on a PC with your printer. :)

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 23/1/04 3:27PM
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Not that I read the GPL to much, but it does mean that although the donators get first pick, sexual favors for said donators might get you a copy too :)

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 24/1/04 12:42PM
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NoMercy: The funding section on Martin's Gimp-Print page explains why some bits are GPL, and some bits aren't. Just having the GPLed bits probably wouldn't help you a lot.

 is a RISC OS Userilludium on 24/1/04 2:07PM
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Why lots of Ram for printing? Why not using !Scrap / WimpScrap, as many well known programs will do? I believe many guys will not have fitted so much Ram to their RISC PC, and much more guys don't have an IYONIX.

 is a RISC OS UserGollum on 24/1/04 5:36PM
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Personally, I have found that the PC prints in halftone, even when I ask it to print in error diffusion

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 24/1/04 6:00PM
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Good excuse to get more RAM then. I was going to suggest scan.co.uk as they have good 64mb SIMMs at very reasonable prices but a quick look at APDLs website shows that their prices are similarly low. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 24/1/04 6:48PM
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Gollum: printing would probably take far longer if you stored the data on the hard disc and processed it from there. Imagine reading and writing 100MB a few times. If you want printing like that I expect you'd not mind paying a bit for more ram.

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 24/1/04 9:44PM
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Should it not just use the RAM if available, and if not use disc?

I had a look at virtualise earlier, and at 10 -p&p it seems more logical to buy a 64MB SIMM from APDL

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 24/1/04 11:08PM
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In reply to Andrew Duffel: Where did you find a price for Virtualise since we haven't decided what we're going to do with it yet ?

(Though I would think that price would probably be about right if we do, although it woud be inc. VAT and P&P, not plus)

 is a RISC OS Userapdl on 25/1/04 8:06AM
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I found it here [link] but am I right in thinking that APDL now owns all the ex-clares titles.

10 for the product, 3 for P&P

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 25/1/04 8:39AM
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There could well be a bigger market for it now since more than 128mb RAM in a RiscPC is very expensive and it seems that even 128mb may not be enough for high res printing of an A4 page. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 25/1/04 4:18PM
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2x64MB can be obtained for under 45UKP.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 25/1/04 4:49PM
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Anyone know where you can get RAM upgrades for Iyonix?

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 25/1/04 5:30PM
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[link] may be a good starting point.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 25/1/04 5:42PM
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mrtd: Castle or CJE would sell them. Or APDL?

TheDoctor: I'm not sure I'd call Risc PC RAM "very expensive", considering that not too many years ago people were paying a hundred pounds just for 2MB of VRAM, or 64MB of RAM, or whatever. My Risc PC has 192MB RAM in it, so that should be adequate (512MB in my Iyonix will be plenty). Will that many people really put up with much slower printing just for the sake of saving twenty-five pounds or so?


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 25/1/04 5:45PM
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If I find printing a problem then I think I am more likely to shell out 20-30 pounds or so to upgrade the RAM than use a commercial virtual memory product.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 25/1/04 5:56PM
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Perhaps that Gimp Print should use both memory methods (IE switch between them in a config menu)

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 25/1/04 7:37PM
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Just to clear up some misconceptions, to save Martin the time to do it...

1.) Saying "use WimpScrap instead of RAM" is not really sensible. Keep in mind that the part that is so incredibly RAM hungry is the more-or-less plain port of gimp-print, not any of its RISC OS parts to integrate it into the RISC OS printing system. So the most important strategy to follow is to make little or no changes to the gimp-print code itself during porting it, to be able to integrate new versions with a minimum of effort.

This means that it would be very unwise (as well as difficult and very time consuming!) to wade through all the gimp-print code to create a whole new, RISC OS specific memory management method.

It is really all RISC OS' fault for not introducing a virtual memory system during the past 15 years. You can't expect developers allocating their valuable time to solving a problem per-application that should have been solved for the whole OS a long time ago. And since solutions like "buy more RAM" or "Virtualise" are available, I don't really see the point - keep in mind that Gimp-Print will be quite slow anyway, and doing memory management on your harddisc will surely not speed it up!

2.) The fact that gimp-print is GPL does not mean that you can get Gimp-Print for RISC OS for free, because certain parts that link gimp-print into the RISC OS printing system are not under GPL. Whether Martin will sell them or give them away is entirely up to him.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 25/1/04 7:38PM
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Gollum: I do not know many "well known" programs that allow you to switch to hard disc storage when they need a certain amount of RAM being available for random access - remember this is not about storing something, this is about complex processing. Only PhotoDesk springs to mind that offers something like this. Incidently, I suspect that Gimp-Print should work reasonably well with Virtualise, maybe the performance impact would not even be that significant, but I have not tried.

Secondly, my initial hints about memory consumption may have been a bit misleading: The quoted amount of memory is needed for printing using the "Highest quality" resolution setting. Printing using the standard setting takes only half the quoted amount of memory. To be honest, I could not see a difference - even at 1440dpi "standard", the printed photo looked just perfect to me, so it is still a huge improvement over the standard drivers.


 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 26/1/04 7:36AM
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APDL: You could always bundle Virtualise with large simms

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 26/1/04 7:47AM
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I'll say it again. More than 128mb is expensive. More than.

The impression I got was that 128mb might not be enough. Therefore people might (depending on their printing) require /more than/ 128mb.

Therefore at least one of the simms in the machine would need to be a 128mb simm. These are expensive.

Jess: What would be the point of bundling Virtualise with the large simms? Surely people buying the large simms will have little need of it.

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 26/1/04 5:24PM
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The Doctor: 128MB total should be plenty if you are not wanting to print very high res A4 graphics. I doubt the average user will. Also, if you can afford to be printing high res photos (which I expect would be done on high res paper) then I am sure that you would be able to afford 52UKP for a 128MB SIMM

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 26/1/04 5:55PM
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I presume the list of supported printers stems from those supported by Gimp-Print, and not those that Martin has chosen to be a part of the RISC OS port. Am I right? If not, will newer printers such as the HP 5850 be supported?

I also looked at the RISC OS Gimp-Print webpage but couldn't see any mention of USB compatibility with the IYONIX and with Simtec's card. I presume that Gimp-Print will work with both as both work with !Printers.

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 26/1/04 6:16PM
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Some people might want to print on paper-sizes larger than A4. What about these huge A0 printers? RISC OS is probably not capable of handling enough RAM for this.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 26/1/04 6:20PM
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you can put 1GB in an iyonix

proper RISC OS 'puter...

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 26/1/04 6:43PM
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The Doctor:

I think your first point answers your query about my suggestion.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 26/1/04 7:04PM
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To give this disucssion a new twist: Before everyone buys lots of RAM, please note that the memory requirements are also dependent on the printer model. For example, an Epson Stylus 860 requires around 12MB (twelve) to print an A4 page at the highest resolution (1440x720dpi, highest quality). The example I quoted was something like a worst case example, just to avoid people complaining afterwards.

NB: Please do NOT e-mail me and ask how much memory a specific printer model needs. I will try and make more information available but I cannot respond to individual queries regarding this matter.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 26/1/04 7:47PM
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ksattic: The list of printers is those supported by Gimp-Print yes. You can check status of support for a particular printer on [link]

Martin answered a question about USB on the mailing list in the last couple of days as well. Basically Gimp-Print is just another way of generating the codes for the printer, working as part of the RISC OS printing system. This means it can communicate with any printer your current !Printers can, so yes for Iyonix USB, and I'd assume the same for Simtec USB (I've never used Simtec USB myself).

 is a RISC OS Userilludium on 26/1/04 7:50PM
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Perhaps the wrong place to ask but we are just talking about RAM...

I'am pretty sure to have fitted "enough" RAM in my RPC for GIMP-Print. But due to well know DA-"too much memory"-problem i have to limit the maximum DA size for all applications using SYS "OS_DynamicArea", 8, 24*1024*1024, 0 ,0. So i am asking myself if GIMP-Print will be affected by this limit?

Sincerely Hauke

 is a RISC OS UserVLIW on 27/01/04 4:09PM
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Hauke: Not a big problem, but I wonder why you chose a value as low as 24MB? GPDriver uses multiple DAs since it has become pretty common that DA sizes are limited. However, I have never seen anyone limiting it to such a low value. GPDriver expects to be able to create 32MB DAs. So, I suggest you change your limit to 32MB.


 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 29/01/04 2:58PM
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