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10.5: Get CUPS-PDF 2.5 working in Leopard Printers
Leopard only hintThe latest version of CUPS-PDF does not work in Leopard (10.5); when you go to add the printer, the CUPS-PDF printer-type option never appears. Here is how you can make it work.

The problem is that the current version compiles by default as a 64-bit executable, and it doesn't seem to play nicely with Leopard. After installing the Mac-ready version of CUPS-PDF, if CUPS-PDF doesn't appear as an available type of printer when you click the '+' in the Print/Fax System Preference panel, look in /Library/Logs/CrashReporter for relatively new files with names that start with cups-pdf (you can do this using Console, in Applications » Utilities).

Open one of these files, if you find them. If you see anything that says x_64 in there, you are probably having a bit width conflict. If so, you will need to replace the actual cups-pdf executable at /usr/libexec/cups/backend/cups-pdf with one that you compile yourself using the 32-bit flag for gcc.

Download the cups-pdf source, and compile it according to the included readme -- but add one more flag to gcc: -m32. Note that you will need a version of XCode installed that is correct for your system. For 10.5.x, that is probably XCode 3.1.3, which is no longer available at the Apple Developer Connection -- you'll have to use the version on your original 10.5 installation disc.

You'll get a warning, but the resulting cups-pdf should be 32-bit. When you replace the one that the installer put in, at /usr/libexec/cups/backend/cups-pdf, you should be fine. You may have to restart cups itself with sudo killall -HUP cupsd.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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10.5: LaserJet printer crashes and the Papyrus font Printers
Leopard only hintSeveral models of HP LaserJet printer are known to crash or hang when certain documents are printed from 10.5/Leopard machines. The culprit may be a bad or corrupted font, in particular, version 6 of the Papyrus font. In short: replace the font file with one from a 10.4 installation to stop the printer crashes.

The longer version: I have a Color Laserjet 3800n and also a 2430dtn that crash any time a document that uses the Papyrus font is printed from a machine running Mac OS 10.5.x. They display an Error 49.4 C02 code and the printer must be powered cycled to clear the problem. HP lists this code as 'A critical firmware error has occurred;' not particularly useful or informative. The same problem did not occur when printing from 10.4.x machines.

This all led me to look at the font itself. The file always passes the verification tests in Font Book; there is nothing overtly wrong with it. But, it clearly does not get along well with these HP Laserjet printers. The version of the font installed on a 10.5 system is is 6.0d6e1. It contains both Regular and Condensed versions of the font.

I went hunting for a different version of the Papyrus.dfont file and found one on a 10.4.11 machine. It is version 4.0d1e1 and contains only Regular, not Condensed. Replacing the newer font with the older one in the /Library/Fonts folder allowed me to successfully print documents using the Papyrus font. This has fixed the printer crashing problem for me.
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Make the Lexmark Z22 printer work with OS X 10.5.8 Printers
I seem to have a knack of getting printers that are not natively supported in 10.5, and Lexmark support seems to be very sparse. With some perseverance, however, I now have my Z22 printing in 10.5.8. Similar printing support pages on the web seem to indicate similarities between the Z22, the Z23, and the Z34, as well as some others. Google is your friend; YMMV.

You'll need this PPD for the Z22, and this page has three links to open source software to install. For those who want the inside scoop, there are lots of support details to read and digest on the page, so take your time and look at what's there...
  1. HPIJS: The HPIJS driver is the first free, open-source driver issued by HP for their DeskJet and LaserJet printers. This package requires, but does not include, Foomatic-RIP and Ghostscript for Mac OS X.
  2. Foomatic-RIP: The Foomatic-RIP package installs the necessary core runtime components to enable printing with Foomatic machinery in Mac OS X.
  3. GPL Ghostscript: GPL Ghostscript 8.64 is an open-source PostScript interpreter that includes integrated support for the CUPS printing system in Mac OS X. It is the replacement for ESP Ghostscript.
Install Ghostscript, then Foomatic, then HPIJS. Download the tweaked Z22 driver and save it in a known location on your hard drive. Turn your printer on and connect it to a USB port. Open the Print and Fax System Preferences panel, click the + sign, and double-click the printer in the default list. Pull down the 'Print using' menu and select the 'Other...' option, then navigate to the tweaked PPD you saved to your hard drive above.
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10.6: How to use OCR with HP multi-function printers Printers
Snow Leopard only hintHP's printer software and utilities were replaced with built-in items in OS X Snow Leopard, after a few tense days where HP initially declined to support the new operating system. Many of us remember our outrage when some HP spokesdrone actually stated that users should buy new printers if they wanted Snow Leopard support. Those of us who didn't run screaming to Canon or some other brand have made do with a reduced feature-set for our HP printers. In particular, OCR functionality is no longer supported by HP.

I tried the following, and not only did it work for me, but it was a really sweet solution. At its heart is Tesseract, an open-source OCR engine that originated at HP (how's that for irony) and is currently maintained (and used) by Google.

I found that some of the online instructions for deploying and using Tesseract were a little bit confusing and contradictory. But here's what worked for me. As always: proceed at your own risk; I make no guarantees, and while I have tried to be careful I can't be certain that all the necessary steps are present, or safe, nor can I provide support.
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Modify default custom print settings in 10.5 and 10.6 Printers
This hint allow you to modify the default printing preset, that is, the preset selected by default for an already-installed printer. It all happens (in 10.5) in the file named com.apple.print.custompresets.plist in your user's Library/Preferences folder. In 10.6, the file name is more complex:

com.apple.print.custompresets.forprinter.YOUR_PRINTER_MODEL.plist

To edit these files, you can use your favorite binary-capable text editor (TextWrangler, BBEdit, etc.), or the Property List Editor that comes with the free XCode development environment. Start by saving your favorite printer's printing preset through the GUI the usual way, then edit the plist mentioned earlier.

What you are looking for is the com.apple.print.lastPresetPref key, which has a class of string, and a default value of Standard. Just replace Standard with the exact name of your saved preset, then save the edited file. If you're running 10.5, you're done -- voilą!

In 10.6, you also have to modify the com.apple.print.lastPresetPrefType (class is Number) key in the prefs file. You might need to play around a bit to find the number that matches your desired preset. In my case, with only one saved preset, it was 3.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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Modify some Canon printers to enable CD/DVD printing Printers
I burn a fair number of CDs and DVDs at home, and I've never been thrilled with my labeling options: stick-on labels can come unstuck, or unbalance a disc, and LightScribe takes forever and looks, well, not all that good. I own a Canon printer, and was thinking "there must be a way to do this; it's a newish printer." But after some web searching, it seems Canon users -- at least in the USA -- can't print directly on CDs and DVDs, thanks to an Epson patent (I believe it's this one) on such technology!

That was frustrating, to say the least, and I thought I was resigned to either buying an Epson printer, or perhaps a customized CD/DVD printer (quite spendy)...but then I stumbled across this page. It turns out that many Canon printers can, with a bit of work, print on CDs and DVDs.

The secret is that Canon ships the same printer models in both the US and Europe, and European models can print on CDs and DVDs by default. So that means that many Canon printers (including my Pixma iP6600D) include the hardware necessary for printing on CDs and DVDs (namely, a slot into which the CD/DVD can slide), but it's blocked off on printers sold in the United States. So with just a bit of work and a minor expense, I was able to add CD/DVD printing capability to my Canon printer. After testing it last night (I had only one printable CD in the house!), I can say it works amazingly well.

The above link got me started, but after more Googling, I found The-Five-Easy-Steps.html, this page, (Ed. note 7/16/10: that link is now broken, so you may need to search again) which has a big FAQ, and a bit more detail on some of the steps. I won't replicate the modification steps in detail here, because they differ for each model of printer, but read on for some basic notes on my experiences with the modification.
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10.6: Revert to older Canon drivers to recover features Printers
Snow Leopard only hintSome Canon printer drives have had problems with 10.6 and not displaying all print options. I know this sounds completely counter-intuitive, but bear with me...

With 10.6, some drivers were broken and Canon (like most companies) was pretty quick to release new drivers. In the case of Canon's Pixima iP##### line, there have been two different printer drivers. CUPS 10.26.0 (same for all models) and an earlier one (number varies for specific model). I have two Canon Pixma printers, the iP4500 and 5200, and this is what I noticed for my printers. Looking at Canon's site, I suspect most other printers in the same line to be the same.

For the iP4500, my main printer: The most recent driver (10.26.0) was updated in September, and includes 10.3 to 10.6 compatibility. This driver type has existed since before 10.5, and has worked fine. In Snow Leopard, however, some printer options (black and white, speed setting, etc.) are missing.

The solution I found was to install the driver labeled 6.9.3 from Canon's site. It states only 10.2 to 10.5 compatibility, but it installed fine on multiple computers. Once installed, I had access to all the regular driver options, as well as supply level indicators that didn't work in 10.5. That was good! Trying the old driver definitely helped, but there's a mystery.

Mystery: The 6.9.3 driver shows up on the system as the current 10.26.0 driver, but on Canon's site, it definitely has a release date three months before the 10.26.0 driver was released. After reinstalling the 'new' driver that gave me problems before, there appears to be no change. But I have also installed the Apple driver update. On another computer, one that doesn't have the Apple driver update, I didn't reinstall the new driver, but the old one works better.

In short, if you're unhappy with your Canon print options in 10.6, you might want to try the older model-specific driver from Canon's site.
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10.6: Restore features on older multifunction printers Printers
Snow Leopard only hintWith Snow Leopard, some multifunction printers will only print, because the new drivers from Apple do not support any other functions. But you can still get some older models to work, provided they were released prior to the switch to Intel in 2006.

I managed to get my HP PSC 1110 printer to work this way under Snow Leopard:
  1. Get the new Apple printer driver for your model using Software Update and install it.
  2. Install Rosetta, if you haven't done so already.
  3. Make a backup of your system, in case something goes wrong.
  4. If you don't have the PowerPC driver and software (not the Universal version) from the CD or DVD that came with your printer, get it from the manufacturer's website.
  5. Install the software as normal. This will give you a second printer for your model of printer in System Preferences. It should also install all the related scanning software, etc.
Now test if it works. As an added bonus, I have an old PowerPC program on my system which crashes every time I try to print from it to the 'new' printer, but it works fine with the 'old' one. (Note: for ink printers, you mght need to realign the catridges).

Perhaps it would also work if you force the scan programs to start in PowerPC mode (by deleting the Intel configuaration using e.g. Tinker Tool System), but I haven't tried that.
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10.6: Possible solution for printing to HP Deskjet 990cxi Printers
Snow Leopard only hintI have a venerable HP Deskjet 990cxi with a double-sided print feed attachment. It has worked brilliantly through all the versions of Mac OS X I've used. However, with Snow Leopard, I'm stuck with using single-sided printing via the free Gutenberg printer driver, as HP has declined to support this model in Snow Leopard.

After some experimentation, I've found that the native HP DeskJet 9800 series driver seems to work fine -- I've got my double-sided printing back. Additionally, the driver also seems to be giving me ink supply levels details, functionality that the original driver never had.

Hope this is of use to anyone else out there struggling to get this printer working in Snow Leopard.
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10.6: Get an HP print server working with Snow Leopard Printers
Snow Leopard doesn't support AppleTalk, but has IP print protocols built-in. So an HP print server (or a networkable printer) should work, right? Tunrs out it's not as easy as it sounds -- not because of Snow Leopard, but because of a few vital details which HP's help desk and tech forums don't mention.

The following relates to an HP JetDirect EX Plus print server (J2591A), but can be adapted for most hardware. First, do a Cold Reset of the print server. This step should never be omitted, as it resets to factory defaults and makes the server reachable on a network to change its details (more on that later).

Doing a Cold Reset on most HP products is not as simple as turning the power off then on again. For the JetDirect, remove all cables (including power). Then plug power in while holding the Test button down for 10 seconds, then unplug power holding the Test button down for another 10 seconds. Then reconnect all cables and power up again. Sounds weird, but this is the only way it will work.

Next, find the IP address of the print server. After the JetDirect has been going for at least two minutes, just press the Test button once and it will print out its configuration pages. The IP address will usually be 192.0.0.192, with no subnet mask or network server specified. Now change your Mac's IP address to the same range as the JetDirect, so that your Mac can connect (System Preferences » Network » Ethernet). This is just temporary, so take a note of the settings before you do this, including the Subnet Mask and Network Server. Change the IP address to 192.0.0.10 Use Manual settings, not DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol).
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