Brother HL-L2340D printer and lpd?

Victor Sudakov vas at
Thu May 7 04:14:58 UTC 2020

freebsd at wrote:
> On 2020-05-05 11:49, Kurt Hackenberg wrote:
> > On 2020-05-05 14:01, Victor Sudakov wrote:
> > 
> >> A PostScript translator (GhostScript or any other) can be expected to
> >> "raster" the PS input incorrectly if this input contains encodings it does
> >> not understand, or glyphs/fonts it is lacking.
> >>
> >> I've seen so many problems with Cyrillic in my life, believe me. I've
> >> seen PDFs with some Cyrillic glyphs replaced by garbage, and much more
> >> of such weird stuff than I wish to see.
> > 
> > 
> > It would be nice if you could send plain Unicode to a printer. Ideally, 
> > I guess, either compressed or not -- UTF-8, UTF-16, or UTF-32. I don't 
> > expect it to happen.
> In support of the "I don't expect it to happen" statement:
> For many many years, in many many printers, no rendering of any kind
> is performed inside the printer.
> These printers expect all input in the form of a binary raster, many
> times this raster itself is in a proprietary non-standard format. This
> is regardless of interface type: network, USB, LPT, etc.
> All rendering of all fonts, embedded images, everything, is performed
> in a "driver" running on the computer interfaced to the printer. Often
> these "drivers" are also proprietary binary blobs which only function
> on a specific operating system. 

The above observation is true only about el cheapo winprinters. I have
30 years of experience with different office grade printers (beginning
from dot matrix Epsons and some Soviet clones thereof) and I can assure
you that any decent printer (above the minimum budget level) attached to
a DOS box could print text by simply typing


at the DOS prompt. No "driver" required.

More expensive printers could print PostScript directly:


Again, no driver required.

> Conclusions:
> 1) Why, at this point, would anyone be surprised that a printer will
> not take plain text directly as input? 

Experience, just experience.

I've seen numerous Canons, HPs, Xeroxes, Kyoceras and what not with a
built-in TCP/IP printserver, or attached to printserver appliances -
they all could print plain text when sent to the appropriate queue

True, very often they would not print Cyrillic, and I had to install
printcap filters to load a Cyrillic font into printer before actual
printing. The Cyrillic font was usually a blob to be concatenated with
the text job (before it). It has always worked.

Moreover, in some recent larger office color printers I've seen the
ability of uploading a PostScript or PDF file via FTP or even from a USB
flash drive which is then printed autonomously.

Speaking about this particular Brother HL-L2340D printer - I read the
specifications, found out that it supported the LPD protocol and was
sure that this one was like others. Probably I was being too optimistic. 

With this new experience, I'll be more cautious in the future, but I
don't have an idea yet how to filter out printers without line printing

Victor Sudakov,  VAS4-RIPE, VAS47-RIPN
2:5005/49 at fidonet
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