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Incomputers, aprinter driveror aprint processoris a piece ofsoftwarethat converts the data to be printed to the form specific to aprinter. The purpose of printer drivers is to allow applications to do printing without being aware of the technical details of each printer model.

Printer drivers should not be confused withprint spoolers, that queueprint jobsand send them successively to a printer.

Unixand otherUnix-likesystems such asLinuxandOS XuseCUPS(short for Common Unix Printing System), a modular printing system for Unix-like computer operating systems, which allows a computer to act as aprint server. A computer running CUPS is a host that can accept print jobs from client computers, process them, and send them to the appropriate printer. Printer drivers are typically implemented asfilters. They are usually named thefront endof the printing system, while the printer spoolers constitute theback end.

Backends are also used to determine the available devices. On startup, each backend is asked for a list of devices it supports, and any information that is available.

DOSsupports predefined character devicesPRN:,LPT1:,LPT2:andLPT3:associated with parallel printers supported in the system. Similarly, serial printers can be used withAUX:,COM1:,COM2:,COM3:andCOM4:.

Users can use commands like, for example,COPYfile1LPT1:to print the content of a file to a printer. The contents is transferred to the printer without any interpretation. Therefore, this method of printing is either for files already stored in the corresponding printers language or for generictext fileswithout more than simple line-oriented formatting.

DOS also provides a dynamically loadable print spooler namedPRINTas well as optional support to support screen captures also in graphics mode throughGRAPHICS. If the optional character device driverPRINTER.SYSis loaded, DOS provides itscode pageswitching support also for the associated printersdifferent types ofdot matrixandink jet printersare supported by default.

Beyond this, there are no system-wide printer-specific drivers for use at application level under MS-DOS/PCDOS. Under DR-DOS, however, theSCRIPTcommand can be loaded to run in the background in order to intercept and convert printer output from applications intoPostScriptto support PS-capable printers also by applications not supporting them directly.

In order to support more complex printing for different models of printers, each application (e.g. aword processor) may be shipped with its own printer drivers, which were essentially descriptions of printerescape sequences. Printers, too, have been supplied with drivers for the most popular applications. In addition, its possible for applications to include tools for editing printer description, in case there was no ready driver. In the days when DOS was widely used, many printers had emulation modes forEpsonFX-80[1]andcommands. Many more recentlaser printersalso have emulation modes for(HP LaserJet) orPostScriptprinters which will work in DOS. It appears that these are also compatible with Windows 3.x.[2]

OnMicrosoft Windowssystems, printer drivers make use ofGDIUnidrvorPScript-based) orXPS(XPSDrv). Programs then use the same standardAPIsto draw text and pictures both on screen and on paper. Printers which use GDI natively are commonly referred to asWinprintersand are considered incompatible with other operating systems, although there is software (such as PrintFil) which will make these printers work in a DOS prompt within Windows.

Win32APIs also allow applications to send data directly to the spooler, bypassing the printer driver; however, few applications actually use this option.

The original AmigaOS up to 1.3 supported printers through a standard series of drivers stored at the required path DEVS:Printers. All printer drivers were stored in that directory, and covered the standard printers in 1985-1989 circa, includedEpsonFX standard driver,Xerox4020, HP, etcetera.

Any Amiga printer driver had to communicate though the standard Amiga printer.device (the default standard hardware device of Amiga dealing with printers), and the standard parallel.device (which controlled parallel port) and the driver would then control the printer on its own.

Amiga printer drivers were an innovation for their time. They spared users from individually configuring each of their applications. They had the ability to print up to 4096 colors.

Through the use of the Printer Preferences program printers could be connected to the serial port as well.

Amiga also had support for a virtual device PRT: to refer to printer.device so, for example the command COPY file TO PRT: caused the file to be printed directly bypassing parallel.device and the default printer driver. Amiga usedANSI escape codes, not the special ones defined by the various printer manufacturers. This way every application on the Amiga could use the same standard set of control sequences and wouldnt need to know which printer is actually connected. The printer driver then translated these standard sequences into the special sequences a certain printer understands.

Amiga internal function PWrite of printer.device writes length bytes directly to the printer. This function is generally called on by printer drivers to send their buffer(s) to the printer. Number of buffers are decided by the persons who created the driver. Amiga lacked a standard Printer Spooler.

Since AmigaOS 2.0 a standard printer.device was changed to control various printers at same time. The Printer preferences were divided in three main panels:Prefs:Printerwhich selects main printer and other basic elements such as Print Spacing and Paper Size.PrinterGFXcontrolled features like Dithering and Scaling.PrinterPScontrolled Postscript Printers. The printer drivers surprisingly remained almost same of Workbench 1.3, with 4096 limits.

This fact led Amiga users to prefer third party Printer Systems with their own drivers, likeTurboPrintandPrintStudio, which introduced not only recent drivers, but also featured a functioning Printer Spooler into Amiga, and featured 16 millions colors printing.MorphOSuses a special version of TurboPrint to pilot recent printers.

Many Amiga programs like DTP programs asPageStreamfeatured in the past its own printer drivers.

USB printers are automatically recognized by thePoseidonUSB Stack. This stack is capable of detecting any USB device by its class, but printers still require a driver to be controlled.

Usually the operating system needs to know the characteristics of a printer. ThePPDfiles are the normal way to supply this information. They have the advantage of being system independent, and there is a freely available large database of them,Foomatic.

PostScript Printer Description(PPD)

Windows Vista printing technologies

Citizen Printer Emulation Modes for Microsoft Windows 3.0

Amiga RKM(ROM Kernel Manual), Printer. Device: provides detailed information about the Amigas I/O subsystems.

Printer Driver DownloadDownload Support Drivers For Printers And Scanners

Dell Printer DriverDownload Support For Dell Printer

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This page was last edited on 2 January 2018, at 13:13.

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