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OpenVMS compatible printers?

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Regular Advisor

OpenVMS compatible printers?

Hi folks. Our client is currently looking for a backup printer for their HP LJ 4250 that they use for printing from our VMS servers. Question is: what are the general characteristics of printers we need to check, that are normally compatible with OpenVMS, i.e. PostScript support?

Our servers are on OpenVMS v7.3-2, TCP/IP v5.4 ECO5, and we use LPD for printing raw data.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Honored Contributor

Re: OpenVMS compatible printers?

You may wish to look at DCPS (no cost for licence) which supports a wider range of printers. The DCPS SPD lists the printers supported

The SPD etc can be found at

Are you printing PCL or postscript?

Purely Personal Opinion
Regular Advisor

Re: OpenVMS compatible printers?

Hi Ian, we are using PCL.

Yes, I believe using DCPS can be better, but we are currently stucked with our current configuration. Thus, we need to find a printer that will be compatible as well with LPD.
Honored Contributor

Re: OpenVMS compatible printers?

When you use LPD you tell your application to use a specific printer queue for printing, right? Just tell it the name of a DCPS queue and you are fine.

regards Kalle
Honored Contributor

Re: OpenVMS compatible printers?

If you find a printer that looks like a huge good deal in terms of its price, look very carefully at the host support, and at the list of printer features and printer requirements.

Cautionary tale: Folks I have assisted have either considered or have purchasing a LaserJet 2600 for use with OpenVMS. The LaserJet 2600 is a fine low-end printer and quite well suited for its target market of entry level and acquisition cost sensitive Microsoft Windows printing. But the LaserJet does not work with OpenVMS.

This particular printer uses the host for all rendering for its print processing. Which means you need full and specific driver support for the printer for the target platform. This particular low-end printer appears to uses the host as the rendering engine, and the drivers that provide this are available only for Windows and Mac OS X, and not for OpenVMS nor AFAIK HP-UX.

Here is the HP phrasing for the LaserJet 2600n series: "Host-based (uses the processing power and resources of your computer to process the print job. No PCL or PostScript)"

Think "WinModem" or "dumb frame buffer" and you'll have the general range. (This isn't necessarily a bad solution, either. You do need to have the requisite host software that provides the processing and the entirety of the package. And that software availability is the wrinkle for OpenVMS users for these devices.)

As for general recommendations, here's a Rule of Thumb: if the printer runs with Mac OS X, Linux or HP-UX or Solaris or another non-Windows platform without requiring a specific (printer) driver kit, then there's a reasonable likelihood the printer will also operate with OpenVMS without a whole lot of fussing.

Do look for integrated PCL and (if you want DCPS) Postscript, or (far more common) Postscript emulation.

And look for features your environment might require, such as appropriately-large paper handling capacities -- OpenVMS can generate a whole lot of paper, and refilling the tray can consume staff time and effort to continuously re-fill the dinky input trays -- or duplexing or specific finishing features. Or print speed. Or color.

An integrated network connection is something I tend to list as an absolute requirement for any printer. There are only a very few cases where I'll use a host -- one such case is when a specialized printer or a printer such as the LaserJet 2600 is an inescapable requirement of the configuration.

For those that DCPS officially supports, do check the DCPS SPD. If you don't want to dig and if you don't want to mess around, this is the easiest approach.

The LaserJet 4250 (still being sold) and the LaserJet 4350 series are a direct drop-in replacement for the LaserJet 4250.

There are discussions around concerning how to get DCPS to recognize an unsupported printer, assuming the printer responds to Postscript. Check the OpenVMS FAQ section on DCPS (FAQ: <>) and the *unrecognized* logical names.

I've posted up an article on this general topic a while back, and that is available at: -- I've also posted up an article on landscape printing and other such details using OpenVMS device control libraries, that if you don't or can't choose to use DCPS.

Stephen Hoffman
HoffmanLabs LLC
Regular Advisor

Re: OpenVMS compatible printers?

Folks, thanks for your replies. I believe I have the general information here now. I am closing this thread.
Regular Advisor

Re: OpenVMS compatible printers?

Information has been obtained. Closing thread.