Setting Up PostScript or Ghostscript-Driven Printers

Setting up a PostScript or Ghostscript-driven printer is actually very much like setting up a non-PostScript printer, and you should read that section for details on where to get drivers and how to install them. If you have a choice between using a WordPerfect driver for a non-PostScript printer and using a PostScript driver and piping the results through Ghostscript, you may want to try both approaches. For my Brother HL-660 600 dpi PCL 5e printer, the WordPerfect drivers seem to work a little better, since they're faster than printing through Ghostscript. For my Epson Stylus Color 400, the WordPerfect Epson Stylus Color drivers don't work at all, and I suspect that if they did there'd be little speed difference. Printing via Ghostscript produces better-quality output on an Epson Stylus Color 1520, I suspect because the WordPerfect drivers aren't specific to the 1520, but are general for all Epson Stylus Color models, and so don't produce the higher resolution output of which the 1520 is capable.

The Linux Printer Queue

To set up a PostScript-capable Linux printer queue for a non-PostScript printer, the queue must pipe the output through Ghostscript. This can be done in any of a number of ways. Some distributions, such as Red Hat, include utilities to help set up a printer queue that will use Ghostscript. The details of setting up such a queue are well beyond the scope of this document; I suggest checking your distribution's documentation, a good Linux book, or the Linux Printing HOWTO for details.

For the PostScript-enabled Linux printer queue to work on a system printing to a non-PostScript printer, you'll also need Ghostscript. All major Linux distributions ship with Ghostscript, but they often include older versions that may not include the best drivers, or even have the driver for your printer. You may therefore want to look into getting a more recent version. The main Ghostscript web site is at http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost. This site includes the latest Ghoscript source code, FAQs, etc. If you're using a system that uses Red Hat's RPM system for package distribution, the site http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~typhoon/ includes both libc5 and glibc RPMs for Ghostscript 5.10, including the most commonly-requested drivers.

Which WordPerfect Driver?

WordPerfect provides a huge selection of PostScript printer drivers (searchable on Corel's web site at http://www.corel.com/support/printerdrivers/index.htm), and they don't all work equally well. Some drivers, like most or all of the drivers for HP LaserJets with PostScript capabilities, prepend some special codes that are intended to switch the printer into PostScript mode. Unfortunately, these characters may confuse a print filter, either on your Linux box or on a remote print server if that's how the printer is connected, into thinking that the file is ASCII text. The result will be page after page of PostScript commands printed in (typically) Courier font, which can be quite a waste of paper. Other WordPerfect drivers include commands for features specific to certain printers, and Ghostscript or PostScript printers without these features might choke on these commands. I recommend trying any WordPerfect PostScript driver first in print-to-file mode, then examine the file. If it begins with "%!PS-Adobe-3.0", you at least won't print reams of PostScript code; but if this is the second or later line of the file, it may or may not print correctly. If this is the case, you can either try another printer driver, or try to modify your printer filters so that things will work correctly. I know of no way to test compatibility of the PostScript code itself except to try it.

On the other hand, it's conceivable that some printers won't process a "raw" PostScript file correctly, but would require the sort of mode-switching code that WordPerfect inserts with some of its drivers; so you might just have precisely the opposite problem. If you've set this printer up to print from other Linux PostScript-producing programs, though, you've got this problem licked, or at least you've configured your system in such a way that it should work with a WordPerfect driver that doesn't generate any mode-switching code.

If you're using a true PostScript printer, you might as well try a WordPerfect driver for that printer, observing the caveats above about mode-switching code. If this driver doesn't work because of such code, or if you're using Ghostscript, you'll need to select another driver. Most or all of the Apple LaserWriter drivers work well with Ghostscript. Personally, I've used the LaserWriter Pro 630 driver (in wp60ps02.us.all) for printing via Ghostscript to my 600 dpi Brother HL-660. The 630's driver appears to produce 600 dpi font bitmaps, so I get good results with this one. I've recently replaced the Brother with an Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 4000, which is a 1200 dpi PCL/PostScript model. It works well with the drivers for the Lexmark Optra R+ PostScript, but Ghostscript 5.10 chokes on output from this driver. If you're using a lower-resolution printer, something that produces 300 dpi output, like the Apple LaserWriter II NT (in wp60ps01.us.all), might be in order. If you intend to install and use Type 1 fonts as printer "soft fonts" in WordPerfect, as described in the next section, the resolution of the driver may be irrelevant, since it will be the printer itself or Ghostscript that does the font rasterization. (It's possible that a WordPerfect driver will issue commands to change the printer's resolution, however, so you might conceivably get low-resolution printing even then, depending upon the driver and printer you use.)

For color printers, I've found that the QMS magicolor (in wp60ps01.us.all) driver produces good results, apparently at or around 600 dpi. This is close enough to the 720 dpi resolution of my Epson Stylus Color 400 that the difference is difficult to detect, even on high-quality paper. I don't know if there are any WordPerfect PostScript drivers that produce color output at resolutions of greater than 600 dpi. I've also tried the NEC Colormate PostScript driver (in wp60ps01.us.all), but it only produces 300 dpi output from graphics fonts, and it's also got a bug that causes it to drop back to black text if you select any text attribute (e.g., italics, bold, etc.) in a line of colored text.

Adjusting Printer Memory

WordPerfect drivers include information on the amount of memory installed in the printer. If you're using Ghostscript (or some other PostScript printer than the one whose driver you've installed), this memory amount may be inaccurate. Unfortunately, if you use Type 1 "soft" fonts and put enough of them on a page to overwhelm the amount of memory that WordPerfect thinks is installed, Ghostscript will crash when you try to print the file. It's therefore a good idea to increase the amount of memory that WordPerfect thinks is installed. To do this, select "File-> Select Printer" from the main menu, then click on the printer in question and click the buttons "Printer Create/Edit-> Setup-> Cartridges/Fonts." Change the "font source" from "built in" to "soft fonts," and the "total memory" box will become editable. I don't know what the units are for this item, but I've set it to 32767 for my Ghostscript-driven printers. Values of up to 65535 are possible, but can cause problems when specifying built-in printer fonts.

Built-In Fonts

The different printer drivers include information on different fonts that are standard on the different printers. Therefore, using a driver for a printer that's different from the one you've got may result in an inability to access fonts that are present on the printer, or in the presence of fonts in WordPerfect's menus that don't exist on your printer. The same thing can happen with Ghostscript. With the latter, if you see printer font names in WordPerfect's menus that aren't present in Ghostscript, it may be possible to add them by editing Ghostscript's Fontmap file, assuming you've got the fonts themselves. To find the font, check out http://www.ssifonts.com, which has a handy font name cross-reference database. This may point you to the originator of the font, or to a clone of the font. Hewlett-Packard has an archive of the fonts that are standard on their laser printers in their OS/2 software archive. It's a 2MB self-extracting zip archive (.exe extension, but InfoZip can process it). This could be handy in getting good screen display of built-in PCL fonts, but I've not tried it. It's also possible that you've already got the font, in WordPerfect's shlib10 directory. It could also come in one of the fonts archives that are optional with Ghostscript. Once you've got the font, try copying an existing Fontmap entry, and then "print" a file to disk using the WordPerfect driver and font in question. Examine the PostScript file to determine what font name to use in the Fontmap file, and point the Fontmap entry to the Type 1 file in the shlib10 directory, including the complete path (or create a link from this file to your Ghostscript fonts directory). To determine which Type 1 file to associate with the font name, try using grep, as in "grep Garamond *.afm" to locate the .afm file(s) for Garamond.

It's possible to tell WordPerfect about fonts you've added to your Ghostscript Fontmap file (or installed in a PostScript printer). You can do this by getting to the "Printer Setup" dialog and then clicking the "Catridges/Fonts" button and changing the "font source" from "built in" to "additional fonts" ("soft fonts" in WordPerfect 7) and changing the "font groups" to "WPFI Type 1 (Soft Fonts);" however, this only works if you've already installed the Type 1 fonts as "soft" fonts for the printer driver in question (see the section on font installation for details). If you have, you'll see a list of available fonts, and you can select whether each individual font is always present in the printer (as it would be with Ghostscript if you've created an appropriate Fontmap entry), or should be downloaded (the default). If you're trying to gain access to fonts built into a PostScript printer, you'll need access to Type 1 font files with the correct font names. Try the manufacturer if you don't have these.

Note that you'll need to install the font twice -- once as a "soft" font and once as a "graphics" font -- to be able to see the font on-screen as well as on the printed page. If it's not installed as a "graphics" font, some other font will be substituted on screen, though it should print fine.


Go on to the font configuration section.
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Copyright © 1998, 1999 by Rod Smith, rodsmith@rodsbooks.com