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DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

 
shrloc
Occasional Contributor

DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

We are having a great deal of difficulty finding printer models that work under DCPS. HP models that are on the SPD are either discontinued or on indefinite back order. Other manufactures with comparable models, such as Lexmark are readily available, but are not on the SPD list. Also many Department heads are watching their budgets and are therefore looking more and more towards MFPs.
HP is very willing to “loan” devices for testing, however I have not had the same luck with other manufactures.
So what I am looking for is this: What makes and models of printers (multifunctional and otherwise) are folks using successfully? Even if they are not on “The List” I would like to hear about them. If there are little tricks that are needed to make them work, I would like to hear about that as will.

Any help and/or suggestions will be graciously accepted and greatly appreciated.

Thanks, in advance
Denise
8 REPLIES 8
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

What printing features do you need? Postscript?

If you're looking to use current or future HP printers, this discussion would be best held more directly with the HP OpenVMS folks.

If you're rolling your own support, then printers with Adobe Postscript or with a good Postscript emulation and bi-directional communications should work with DCPS. The obvious wrinkle: a bad Postscript emulation can be a problem, and there are a number of those around, and some printers don't have bi-directional communications.

For "tricks", see the so-called "unrecognized" printer configuration information in the DCPS documentation, and related that occasionally gets posted here in the forums and over in comp.os.vms newsgroup.

Here's a general IP-printing topic I wrote up a while back:

http://labs.hoffmanlabs.com/node/129

AFAIK, HP hasn't adopted support for specific features of MFP-style printers with OpenVMS such as scanning; Postscript or an emulation and the communications path are key here, regardless of the sort of printer.
shrloc
Occasional Contributor

Re: DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

We use DCPS to create queues that do specific things, such as duplex , landscape and /or a tray selection. The user can then select whatever they need based on the name of the queue. For example a user who sends his job to Q1_LAND_T3 will have his job printed landscape on paper in the third paper tray. So as you can see I am not looking for anything fancy just a way to use a device's basic functions.
My issue is that there are less and less available printer models that DCPS will work on. Contact with HP support has historically involved some testing and what not, and then when it comes down to "it's not a supported printer" there is not much they will do for me. I am sure for a fee they will built a module for that model, but then what happens when that model because unavailable?
I have used the trick of setting a logical for Product_name as well as some others. It worked for some, but I am finding that it in a lot of cases it no longer works.
If I can get my hands on a potential new device and test it myself that would be find, but few manufactures seem to be willing to let me have the equipment without a commitment to buy. So I am hoping that someone some experiences that they are willing to share.
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

I'd talk to HP OpenVMS. Not to HP Support. The latter will (and should) follow the troubleshooting and the support scripts; when you get to an unsupported device, you'll usually (and should) get a full stop. The former folks can accept feedback and can evaluate changes. Sujatha Ramani (first.last@hp.com) would be a reasonable initial contact for HP OpenVMS.

There isn't a panacea here. There's no generic answer. This is standard device support "fun", and the issues and the problems are the same whether this is printers or disks or memory modules or most any other unsupported widget. You buy, you test, you might find problems, you try to fix those (with the unrecognized settings, in this case) and you either resolve the issues and use the devices, or you punt and try something else.

Or you pay for somebody to do that work for you, which is what the "support" tag means in OpenVMS-speak.
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

ps: even if you find somebody with a particular printer of interest that can hand you the unrecognized settings, a firmware change or change within the printer firmware can sometimes derail a printer.

And yes, it's not fun that the DCPS stuff is aging. I tend to use the lpr/lpd path for various stuff these days, and all of the fancier text processing (including Postscript to PDF or Postscript to PCL) all occurs else-platform. Printing ASCII files works just fine via lpr/lpd or telnet or such.
shrloc
Occasional Contributor

Re: DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

The problem with the "punt" option here is that managment's answer to this is "pull" the offices that need new devices off of the OVMS platform.
Paul Anderson_7
Frequent Advisor

Re: DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

I made many changes to DCPS over the years to get DCPS to work more easily with printers that were not on the supported list. DCPS now assumes all printers have PCL interpreters, the PostScript synchronization step which many printers choked on was removed and LPD support was added.

Lexmark printers usually work just fine with DCPS. There were no unusual changes to DCPS made for them.

Xerox printers required PostScript commands to be changed within DCPS. If you are trying a Xerox printer not on the list, but for which a similar model is supported, define the "product name" logical name:

$ DEFINE /SYSTEM /EXEC -
_$ DCPS$queuename_PRODUCT_NAME -
_$ "printer name"

where "printer name" is one of the printer model names listed in the DCPS Release Notes. This will often make DCPS send the appropriate commands for that printer and, if it is similar enough to the model you're using, may get the printer to work.

Many printers, such as Xerox models, also require the use of LPD or spooled LPD instead of Raw TCP as a connection protocol. Raw TCP is preferred because it's bi-directional and can return error messages, but sometimes you just gotta use LPD.

Paul
EdgarZamora_1
Respected Contributor

Re: DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

"So what I am looking for is this: What makes and models of printers (multifunctional and otherwise) are folks using successfully? Even if they are not on "The List" I would like to hear about them. If there are little tricks that are needed to make them work, I would like to hear about that as will. "

We are using Toshiba MFPs (all models, dozens of them) company-wide with DCPS, using IP_LPD. One other thing we had to do to get this to work successfully is to define/system DCPS$queue_name_SPOOL "TRUE". Hope that helps.
Peter Zeiszler
Trusted Contributor

Re: DCPS V. 2-7 and the dwindling supply of functional devices

We had to actually goto ScriptServer for our printing needs for the unsupported printers. It works great. We now use it for the bar code printers (where we can get it to work with them) and for the canon printers.
We use the parameters variable to setup printer setup/formats (works similiar to the forms).