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How do I get my printer to work with my computer?
August 9, 2006 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to get my printer to work with my Mac when there are only Windows drivers available?

I own a Minolta QMS 1250W - it's a black and white color printer that I can't link to b/c its a few years old and they don't make it anymore, but to give you an idea, it is very similar to this. My printer has all sorts of Windows drivers which was great when I had a Compaq in grad school, but now I own a mac (an ibook G4, specifically). Is there any way that I can make my printer work with my iBook even though there's no existing driver for it? Or is this some sort of system incompatibility that my non-techie self knows nothing about? If that's the case, do you have any suggestions for an affordable laser printer that will work with both windows machines and macs?
posted by echo0720 to Technology (16 answers total)
 
Gimp Print.
posted by chococat at 6:50 AM on August 9, 2006


Isn't it supposed to "just work?"

Seriously, though, this person had the same problem and was pointed to this driver. You might try that.
posted by TonyRobots at 6:52 AM on August 9, 2006


Gimp Print is built into OS X 10.4.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:58 AM on August 9, 2006


It seems to me that the E model does all the sorts of emulation that are required to print from a myriad of operating systems while the W model doesn't. Gimp Print is called Gutenprint now but your printer isn't listed in the Gutenprint supported drivers.

I found this blog post that has some notes from a fella who seems like a fairly competent Mac guy who was unable to get it to work after compiling drivers by hand. But you might want to drop him a line via his blog in case he later figured it out.

Since you're amenable to buying something to replace it, I recommend you look for a LaserJet on eBay. Find one with an M in the name...the "M" means it has the PostScript stuff that will make it work swimmingly with a Mac. Those slightly-older LJs are really solid workhorses. Your best bet for connectivity to both a PC and a Mac is to get a model with an ethernet connection and hook that up to your router. Should be pretty straightforward from that point on. Hope this helps.
posted by bcwinters at 7:01 AM on August 9, 2006


Seconding Gimp.
posted by k8t at 7:39 AM on August 9, 2006


Or set up the printer as an IP printer!
posted by k8t at 7:39 AM on August 9, 2006


Is the QMS 1250W the same thing as the PagePro 1250W? If so, LinuxPrinting.org has a PPD. It's a Foomatic driver, so you may need to install some of the packages from this page (specifically, Foomatic-RIP).

Or set up the printer as an IP printer!

That won't help you much if you still don't have drivers.
posted by sbutler at 8:15 AM on August 9, 2006


Have you tried the Minolta 1250E drivers to see if they will work on the 1250W? The Konica support page for the 1250E lists Mac drivers.

I've also found that many printers have a compatiblity mode where they will accept another manufacturer's drivers (e.g. HP LaserJet drivers work on many non HP printers.)

Good luck!
posted by JigSawMan at 9:23 AM on August 9, 2006


Sbutler, I found that you could print to an IP printer without drivers quite easily... this was 10.3 though...
posted by k8t at 9:41 AM on August 9, 2006


Try downgrading to a generic PostScript or PCL driver.

I've had success with GimpPrint in the past but it was a bastard to set up. Start there and see what happens.

There are some features you'll maybe never get working no matter how many people allude on the internet that it's possible. I've given up trying to make my KXP7105 print Duplex from the mac. But at the time, I really tried.
posted by seanyboy at 10:04 AM on August 9, 2006


Finally, try searching Groups as well as the web. It sometimes offers better solutions for questions like this.
posted by seanyboy at 10:06 AM on August 9, 2006


Hey all, thanks for the suggestions, I'll try them all when I get home tonight. If you have any more, let me know!

sbutler -- I think that Minolta and QMS are the same thing, so the QMS 1250W is what I have (I think!). I clicked on your link and being the non-techie that I am, completely don't understand. What's a PPD and will something created for Linux work with OSX? :-)
posted by echo0720 at 10:35 AM on August 9, 2006


Oh, and K8t -- how would i set up my printer as an IP printer? Hook it up to my router and somehow assign an IP address to it? Oh my god, I sound stupid...
posted by echo0720 at 10:36 AM on August 9, 2006


I think that Minolta and QMS are the same thing, so the QMS 1250W is what I have (I think!). I clicked on your link and being the non-techie that I am, completely don't understand. What's a PPD and will something created for Linux work with OSX? :-)

A PPD is a file that describes your printer. It says "This printer has features X, Y, uses control code Z, needs filter F, etc, etc." To use it, just add a printer in Printer Setup like you normally would and select "Other..." from the drop down list of manufacturers. Most the "printer drives" in OS X are really PPD files. You can see a ton of them in "/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj".

The OS X printing system is just a pretty graphical interface on top of CUPS and (in 10.4) Gimp-Print. Neither of those technologies were developed at Apple; both of them come from an effort to make Linux printing more bearable. Apple has just improved upon them. So yes, Linux solutions for CUPS and Gimp-Print will run fine under OS X... with one caveat.

Sometimes there needs to be some post processing done before your job can be sent to the printer. It's analogous to letting your secretary cleanup your memo before it gets emailed to the entire company. The driver I linked too uses Foomatic-RIP, so you'll probably have to install that before it works. You might also need ghostscript, but I'm not sure. Give it a try without first.

Sbutler, I found that you could print to an IP printer without drivers quite easily... this was 10.3 though...

IP printing is just a collection of transports to the printer. It includes IPP, LPR, and JetDirect, which are much like Bonjour, USB, parallel port, etc. Your job still needs to be formatted properly before it's transmitted. Now, by default it chooses the Generic PS driver, so perhaps you accidently discovered that that works fine for your model. But the driver would work equally well with any of the other transports too.
posted by sbutler at 11:54 AM on August 9, 2006


Thank you VERY much for the explanation -- I'll try this tonight and let you know how it turned out!
posted by echo0720 at 1:15 PM on August 9, 2006


An update in case you're keeping track...I tried sbutler's method, and then I found something else from the same site saying you have to download the drivers and recompile and then copy the ppd file over. This is probably a little to technical for a girl who's on her first mac since grade school, so I'm going to mess around with a few other suggestions, but I have the feeling I might just end up going the route of buying a new printer. Regardless...thanks for all of your input!
posted by echo0720 at 8:09 PM on August 9, 2006


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