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Print Queue "Lowercase" Field

 
Jack Trachtman
Super Advisor

Print Queue "Lowercase" Field

When I use the SHOW QUEUE/FULL cmd on our print queues (which use TELNETSYM), I see lines like:

...
/DEFAULT=(FORM=DEFAULT)Lowercase /OWNER=[XZ,AB]
...

What is "Lowercase" telling me?

The System Manager's Essentials manual says you can add a /LOWERCASE option to print devices, but the INIT/QUEUE cmd doesn't have this option, so I'm confused as to why this appears.

TIA

6 REPLIES 6
John Gillings
Honored Contributor

Re: Print Queue "Lowercase" Field

Jack,

Back when VMS V1 came out, a common printer technology was the "chain" printer. It was a horizontal bank of 132 hammers with thing like a bicycle chain running past them at spectacular speed. On the front of each link was a letter form, like on a typewriter. By some black magic control system the hammers were made to hit the chain just as the right letter wizzed past. At the same time paper would be running vertically past the hammer bank at an equally spectacular speed. Somehow an entire line would be written almost perfectly straight with the whole row of hammers firing at exactly the right time.

Amazingly enough, this was capable at printing fanfold paper at speeds that were possibly faster than a modern laser printer. Fast enough that the output bins had special interlocked safety shields because getting in the way of the paper stream being spewed out could be quite dangerous! They were also hideously noisy and changing the ribbons very messy.

One of the other downsides was an extremely limited character set, generally UPPER CASE only.

In deference to this history, OpenVMS retains a setting for printers to indicate that it's uppercase only, and this attribute is reflected in the SHOW QUEUE display.


See HELP SET PRINTER/LOWERCASE:

SET

PRINTER

/LOWERCASE

/LOWERCASE
/NOLOWERCASE

Indicates whether the printer prints both uppercase and lowercase letters or only uppercase. When the operator specifies the /NOLOWERCASE qualifier, all letters are translated to uppercase.

The /[NO]LOWERCASE and /[NO]UPPERCASE qualifiers are complementary; that is, the /LOWERCASE qualifier is equivalent to the /NOUPPERCASE qualifier, and the /NOLOWERCASE qualifier is equivalent to the /UPPERCASE qualifier.
A crucible of informative mistakes
Hakan Zanderau ( Anders
Trusted Contributor

Re: Print Queue "Lowercase" Field

I asked VMS-engineering the same question a year ago.

>>> The â lowercaseâ characteristic exists on
>>> all print queues and is a remnant from
>>> the days when some line printers only
>>> printed uppercase characters.

regards,

Hakan Zanderau
HA-solutions
Don't make it worse by guessing.........
Wim Van den Wyngaert
Honored Contributor

Re: Print Queue "Lowercase" Field

Here is even a manual of a IBM line printer.
http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/ibm/14xx/GA24-3073-8_1403_printer.pdf

There even existed special versions to print numeric data only (faster).

Wim
Wim
Barry Alford
Frequent Advisor

Re: Print Queue "Lowercase" Field

I remember line printers which had a drum in place of a chain rotating around the horizontal axis - each of the 132 columns had the 63 ASCII characters from "!" through "_". It also had a Braille mode, which just used the full stop/period character with the hammer force turned up high!

I suppose someone will ask why the DCL commands DECK and EOD are so called...
Jack Trachtman
Super Advisor

Re: Print Queue "Lowercase" Field

I hadn't realized I'd get an interesting history lesson in response to my question!
(Actually, I've been around long enough to have worked with all of the technology mentioned!)

The answer is as I expected - a notice that the printer can print LC as well as UC. I was just surprised to see that notation associated with a printer using the TELNETSYM driver, where the SET PRINT cmd probably cannot be used since the printer is not directly connected to a "printer" port.
Michael Moroney
Frequent Advisor

Re: Print Queue "Lowercase" Field

These printers could also overprint characters on top of each other by printing a line, not advancing the paper, and then printing another line. This feature could be used for underlining by printing a line of "_" characters.

When I was in college, someone had files that abused this feature to print GIANT black and white pictures of the moon, sexy actresses etc. Each pixel was one character space. Black areas might be overprinted 5-6 times.