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Which printer should I get?

NJRoadfan

Well-known member
If you have netatalk 2.2.x setup elsewhere, you can use its PAP server in lieu of a printer that lacks native support (This will work with any printer that supports Linux using GhostScript as a RIP). That or one of many USB print servers still available that support AppleTalk (they'll work with any printer with built-in PostScript).

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Meta note about my particular printer from 2006: I have a Xerox Phaser 6120EN (which is color) and I chose it specifically over the HP Color LaserJet 1600/2600 at the time because of its wide compatibility with older computers. In 2006, an 840av was unironically my main sideboard, not as a vintage thing but as an "IRC while I do photoshop batch jobs on my G3/G4" thing, and my other machines were mostly OSX, but I foresaw a need to print from system 7/8/9.

If I were to pull it out of its box and turn it on I don't at all doubt that my Plus would see it on the network and be able to submit a print job, but one of the color toner cartridges  ran out and I need a new one and new color toners for this machine are $115 or so and for that money (approximately) you can buy an entire whole new black-and-white (sometimes multifunction) laser printer.

For me, my printing needs in 2006 are way different to what I'd realistically need in 2020, so it would be fair to say that I am unironically considering getting a cheap new printer that only works with modern computers, because my need to print on 68k Macs is vanishingly low.

(To be honest, my need to print at all these days is vanishingly low and that's the main reason why a low end laser is at the top of my list, if you print once a week or more then you might be in the realm where "continuous ink supply system" inkjet printers are worth looking at, and, HP has a CISS-like laser printer called the NeverStop which similarly has a fairly low $/page over time, but of course it costs more up front to buy the machine than with their least expensive lasers, where the toner-drum cartridge might give you 1000 pages but cost $100.)

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
A few years ago I was investigating new printers. I bought a HP Enterprise M605n which lacks a native generic postscript driver and does not support AppleTalk. When I say native postscript I mean handled by the printer not processed by the client computer before being sent to the printer. 
 

Money isn’t the object here, compatibility and ease of use is. I cannot ask an office of users to output a ps file for every print job and move it over to a print spooler. 500+ documents are printed daily. 
 

If you can find a high end laser printer that supports AppleTalk and can be printed to using the built-in Classic OS 9 LaserWriter driver I would buy it tomorrow. I cannot print from OS X’s installed drivers it does not work from HyperCard. 

 
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beachycove

Well-known member
Totally on the mark here. I maintain an office of G5 Macs running HyperCard for various tasks and printing from Classic OS 9 using the LaserWriter driver. They need to use HP LaserJet printers from the 2005 era because modern ones just don’t work. None of them do. 
 

First is the driver issue. Most modern postscript printers process on the PC and send a job to the printer in its own native interpreter language. Old school postscript printers could be printed from an old Linux version. Modern printers almost exclusively require Windows for its drivers. 
 

Secondly, as you point out, the lack of support for AppleTalk essentially cuts off the ability to print to most printers even if they are native postscript. 
 

I have a storage unit with 5 spare HP LaserJet 4200 printers and G5 Macs all ready to go for when something fails. 
 

When I need to print something really big using HyperCard (like a government filing consisting of 2000+ printed pages) I print to .ps and use Preview to convert that to PDF. Once as a PDF anything can print it. 
 

If anyone can locate for me an enterprise quality (needing to print 500+ pages daily) printer, capable of native postscript, has AppleTalk, and doesn’t need a driver for Classic Mac OS 9 I’d love to hear it. 
Now that is interesting.

Might I ask what is in HyperCard and why not a more recent, conventional database?

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
Now that is interesting.

Might I ask what is in HyperCard and why not a more recent, conventional database?
The business does mail order, and other things that are government regulated (meaning reports to the governments digitally are required). The system evolved from a simple thing to simplify shipping to being a complete mail order and business solution. It just works. And that’s the problem. The company consulted with a software developer two years ago and a replacement would take 2-3 years to develop and cost $400,000 plus $50k/year. It wasn’t guaranteed it would do everything we need it to do in the end. 
 

So to keep the business from being interrupted we just found solutions to keeping it all going. G5 machines with Intel enterprise SSD on RAID 1 in each Mac, a Linux server which also does some of the legwork for HyperCard. The HyperCard has http xcmds for moving data between itself and the Debian server. It works quite well actually. 
 

It all interfaces with various levels of governments in two countries using various file formats including XML. 

 

NJRoadfan

Well-known member
A few years ago I was investigating new printers. I bought a HP Enterprise M605n which lacks a native generic postscript driver and does not support AppleTalk. When I say native postscript I mean handled by the printer not processed by the client computer before being sent to the printer.


Netatalk's PAPD will handle that, or grab one of these and plug it into the USB port: https://www.amazon.com/IOGEAR-1-Port-Print-Server-GPSU21/dp/B000FW60FW

The IOGear dongle claims to support AppleTalk using the LaserWriter driver as long as your printer natively supports PostScript (which it does).

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
Netatalk's PAPD will handle that, or grab one of these and plug it into the USB port: https://www.amazon.com/IOGEAR-1-Port-Print-Server-GPSU21/dp/B000FW60FW

The IOGear dongle claims to support AppleTalk using the LaserWriter driver as long as your printer natively supports PostScript (which it does).


Here are the specs of that device:


 


Requirments




  • Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista , Windows XP
  • Mac OS* X 10.3.9+


I'm using Mac OS 9.2.2 under Classic.  Not supported.

 

Daniël

Well-known member
Here are the specs of that device:


 




I'm using Mac OS 9.2.2 under Classic.  Not supported.


Yet lower down on that same page it says:

Requirements: -Windows 10, Windows 8. 1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista , Windows XP -Mac OS 9. 22 or later-Unix/Linux-Printer with USB connection-DHCP server on the network Note 1: For Google Cloud Print via Chrome, please use firmware version 9. 09Note 2: Only serial number after OU79USZ1B00001 can be upgraded to firmware to 9. 09. Please check with IOGEAR support team for any questions.

And:

Requirements:

  • Windows® 98SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7 (32 & 64-bit)
  • Mac OS 9.22 or later
  • Unix/Linux
  • Printer with USB connection



Seems like it should work then.

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
Yet lower down on that same page it says:

Requirements: -Windows 10, Windows 8. 1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista , Windows XP -Mac OS 9. 22 or later-Unix/Linux-Printer with USB connection-DHCP server on the network Note 1: For Google Cloud Print via Chrome, please use firmware version 9. 09Note 2: Only serial number after OU79USZ1B00001 can be upgraded to firmware to 9. 09. Please check with IOGEAR support team for any questions.

And:

Requirements:

  • Windows® 98SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7 (32 & 64-bit)
  • Mac OS 9.22 or later
  • Unix/Linux
  • Printer with USB connection



Seems like it should work then.
Interesting!  Thanks!!

Based on the manufacturers website it only supports 10.3.9+ and doesn’t list OS 9.2.2. 
 

I’ll have to look into this more but on the outside it doesn’t appear to support the protocols that I need. 

 
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Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
If you can find a high end laser printer that supports AppleTalk and can be printed to using the built-in Classic OS 9 LaserWriter driver I would buy it tomorrow.


In addition to the IOGear device, check out the Phaser 3330 I linked above. It's not, like, "LaserJet 9050" class, but it appears to be the highest end brand new printer I have been able to find that supports AppleTalk. Higher end than that, in Xerox at least, they don't appear to support AppleTalk any more, so I bet the 3330 is on its proverbial way out.

Xerox says "up to 6000 pages/month" - tough to tell what it'd be like under your workload, but at worst, you can just get more than one of them and split the workload among them. They're under $300 USD a pop, as well.

Outside of that you're gonna need to be looking at, like, doing print queuing with another machine and re-sharing a newer printer or maintaining older printers.

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
Cory, I think I’ll look into the IOGear device as it looks promising. Our printing needs are generally a 60+ ppm printer, with toners good for about 15,000+ pages, and monthly print volumes are always rated higher than expected. Like horsepower, you kind of divide by 10 for the real rating. 
 

The LaserJet 4200n we have are rated for a volume 10x higher than we print on them and they handle the load just barely. Regular maintenance like fuser, rollers, are required. Even had to replace the laser devices twice, and a JetDirect card once. Over the past 20 years maintenance has been about $7000. 
 

I have 4 spare reconditioned 4200n printers, and 2 of them in use, plus a 605 enterprise printer. The real issue is starting to be toner availability. Because of the high print volume we go through toner about a cartridge every few months. I’ve managed to get 20-25,000 copies per cartridge. 
 

There’s a local service company I’ve been using for the past 20 years. I’ve tried various third party and reconditioned toners from that place and from others like staples etc, and for some reason there’s something with our environment that I only get 500 copies before it starts streaking and fading. I therefore only use original HP toner. 

 
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