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Printers, aka an old time sysadmin



Well, today, I feel like a real, old time sysadmin. Now, I didn't have to
write a driver in assembly for the printer, but....

We got this huge, 44" HP Designjet z3200ps printer. Only supports Win and
Mac. Fine, I hang it off of one of our servers on a subnet (at $0.96/foot
paper, we're the only ones who print on it....). Then I'm thinking that
all I really need is a .ppd. My co-worker, who's also got a Mac, d/l's the
Mac driver and extracts the .ppd. The Windoze one is apparently buried in
a dll, you see....

I then figured out how to hack a .ppd.

First, I found an ifdef construction, for Mac-only information. That
worked on the small paper (24" width roll, "small"). Then the real paper,
the 42" stuff. Why HP sells a 44" printer, but 42" paper, dunno, but....
there's no option for large format printing. After a pointless waste of
half an hour on HP's "live chat" (not sure how many chats the guy was on),
he tells me there's no driver. I call HP support, and talk to someone who
seems to know a little more... but is sorta fuzzy on .ppd's, and then
tells me that there ought to be an option to set a custom size, and seems
to confirm what I read (in vi) in the ppd, that there are no settings for
42" paper.

So I hacked it, and added settings for 42"x34", and 42"x60" (the usual
size for posters). A lot was cut, paste, and substitute, but the one
gotcha is that the actual paper size that the printer sees is in points.
Once I got that, it worked beautifully.

Anyone needs any info about hacking a .ppd, feel free to email me; if you
have a beast of a z3200ps, I'll be glad to send you a copy of mine.

              mark



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