DJ500 dead after >= 16 years.

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Fri Feb 22 06:13:13 UTC 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-questions at
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Gary Kline
> Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 12:02 AM
> To: FreeBSD Mailing List
> Subject: DJ500 dead after >= 16 years.
> 	Guys, I need some input about what kind of _new_ printer to buy
> 	for my desktops.  I'd like to hang the printer off my FBSD box;
> 	my Ubuntu platform is probably too far away. At least 3 meters.
> 	Circa '01 or '02 I figured my olden DJ500 had cost ~$45/year.
> 	Not counting the ink.  It kept chugging around until a month or
> 	so ago and by now  it really is worm out.  It makes it's old,
> 	clunking, grinding sounds when I power dowwn, but nothing when I
> 	boot up.  And a friend stopped by this afternoon and checked.
> 	Cabling is fine; printer has power.  None of the buttons respond;
> 	no  reset, no formfeed, nada.  Only two of the usual three LED's
> 	are lit, so it's probably broken, burn-out, or worn out wires
> 	somewhere.   
> 	The problem with buying New---and my wife is threatening me 
> 	if I buy some older, junker printer---the problem is getting any 
> 	of these printers that do everything but shine your shoes is:
> 	are there drivers to make them work with FreeBSD?  I don't care 
> 	about fax, or features like scanning and copying.   About the same 
> 	with color since most files are code or essays.

Yes, there are for most printers, but it takes some juggling for

Start at and look up
the printer in the database.  It will tell you a tremendous amount
as to whether the printer will work.

Naturally, if your budget can afford it, a PostScript printer is
the way to go.

The one thing I would caution is that anything that uses the PC
to rasterize the page requires a lot of CPU power.  For example I
have an Epson Stylus C84  (I bought it mainly because it uses separate
ink cartridges for all the colors so when the printer runs out of
ink in one color, your not throwing away perfectly good ink in the
remaining chambers)

This printer uses a complex series of filters, gimpprint, ghostscript and
so on to take the PostScript page and convert it into whatever nasty
proprietary junk the printer speaks.  It worked perfectly once I figured
everything out.  The problem is that when I first set it up I used a
300Mhz Pentium II and it took at least 3-4 minutes to digest a complex
page and send it to the printer.

> 	Nutshell, I'd like anyone's ideas/experiences with some of these 
> 	new HP/<<< or whateverbrand>>> printers. I wouldn't *mind* if I
> 	could scan in text from a techy paper into HTML or PDF or text.
> 	But mostly, like 99.44%  plain black text.  My old deskjet used
> 	gs as a filter to print PostScript.  Do we have any such plugin
> 	support, or are printers still roll-your-own? 

Here's an interesting story.  On my desk at work I have a Mac running
MacOS 10.4   We have an HP 3550 color laserjet that does not have
postscript.  When I setup the Mac I downloaded the driver from HP
and it did not work - the printer merely printed out raw postscript
code - obviously the driver was for the postscript version of this
printer.  Well, Macs run cups and it took me a couple hours of downloading
some code packages and compiling them on the Mac and doing various things
but I did eventually end up with a similar thing on the Mac - the print
jobs are passed to ghostscript on the mac then to a special driver
someone wrote that converts the gs output to something the printer
can understand.  The thing that really irked me about the whole thing
was that in all of the documentation from both HP and Apple, the
HP 3550 is listed as a supported printer, and no mention of a need
for a postscript chip is made anywhere.

We aren't the only ones screwed over by the printer manufacturers.


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