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Byte Knight

Network laser printer for old / modern Macs?

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What would you guys recommend for a networked laser printer that I could use to print all the way from my 68k Macs (with ethernet cards) to my 2013 MacBook Pro?   Or is there even such a printer?

 

Thanks in advance!

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I'd have thought the most sensible option would be to get a reasonably modern one with Linux/CUPS support, then run netatalk 2 or something to share it out as a postscript printer.  That's what I've been doing, I've attached a raspberry pi to the side of mine for sharing and so forth (though I haven't actually tried the netatalk bit yet...)

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There’s a good thread on this here.  I haven’t actually tried it yet, but have been meaning to for a couple years. 

 

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On 4/5/2020 at 1:28 PM, Crutch said:

There’s a good thread on this here.  I haven’t actually tried it yet, but have been meaning to for a couple years. 

Thanks, I had already read through that thread.  According to this site, it looks like the Brother DCP-L2550DW may be the way to go, and they've got them new on eBay (from newegg) now for $149 shipped!  Not a bad deal considering the old HP Laserjets sell for about the same price...  I've ordered one and I'll see if I can get my SE/30 on up working with it.

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The Brother lasers seem to be a pretty good choice IME.  I have one and it's been good for me.  The main thing to bear in mind with them is that their network stack seems to be a little bit flaky.  But then printer software in general is a bit questionable, so I don't think they're much worse than anyone else in that respect. :-)

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On 4/5/2020 at 8:51 AM, Byte Knight said:

What would you guys recommend for a networked laser printer that I could use to print all the way from my 68k Macs (with ethernet cards) to my 2013 MacBook Pro?   Or is there even such a printer?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

On 4/5/2020 at 8:55 AM, cheesestraws said:

I'd have thought the most sensible option would be to get a reasonably modern one with Linux/CUPS support, then run netatalk 2 or something to share it out as a postscript printer.  That's what I've been doing, I've attached a raspberry pi to the side of mine for sharing and so forth (though I haven't actually tried the netatalk bit yet...)

+1 on Netatalk, it’s what I plan to do - this reddit post has a pretty good how-to.

 

Ultimately this means that most any laser printer will work fine, just doublecheck linux support as @cheesestraws said

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My LaserWriter 12/640PS works on damn near any OS... if I can't connect to it through Ethernet, I can use serial... I can print to it from Windows 10 or Mac OS 7 or anything in between.  Very flexible printer.  

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Back in the day I wanted a 16/600 - very similarly widely compatible, I think you can use LaserJet 4 drivers on it and then it becomes as universally compatible as it is possible for a printer to be, as far as I happen to know.

 

I've got a Xerox Phaser 6120, which I got new in ~2006, so, like, it's a relic as well at this point, but I don't see why it wouldn't still work on newer Macs, and, it was working well with the laserwriter 8 driver, too.

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4 hours ago, Cory5412 said:

I've got a Xerox Phaser 6120, which I got new in ~2006, so, like, it's a relic as well at this point, but I don't see why it wouldn't still work on newer Macs, and, it was working well with the laserwriter 8 driver, too.

 

I'm in a similar printer space.  I got a Kyocera Ecopro C170N back around 2007 or 2008.   It is still working well, though toner is now discontinued.   The print engine is the same as some of Kyocera's office machines for which toner is still available.  I've done a comparison and the cartridges look identical, but I have not actually installed one yet, because my printer still hasn't run out of any toners.    I just don't do that much printing, which is another reason inkjet is not a good choice for me.

 

Actually, inkjet is never a good choice.   If you print a lot, consumable quickly eat up any cost saving at purchase time, over a laser.   If you don't print often, the ink dries out and clogs the heads.   However, I think the best inkjet quality is still better than the best laser.

 

As Cory wrote, my printer is probably relic at this point.  I do sometimes wonder if I couldn't have better image quality with something newer.

 

Byte Knight's link is wonderful news.    I've been concerned that if I ever need a new printer that my choices would be nothing, or hunt the used market.   Nice to read about the LPR work around.

 

I do wonder if any printers still have Appletalk support included but not specified, just because it hasn't been worth the effort to pull it out of the firmware.

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@Byte Knight Theoretically any printer that has native support for PostScript should be usable on a vintage Mac, assuming you can get TCP/IP on your vintage Macs.  No host-based printers.  So be careful if looking at an HP printer.  A lot of HP's cheap and mid-range printers are host-based.

 

I have a Xerox 6600DN at home, and it works well.  Interestingly, it still supports AppleTalk.

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What driver would one use to print to such a printer from System 7 say?  Would it just be the standard LaserWriter driver? 

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Brother printers seem to support almost every protocol under the sun.   I have a multifunction (MFC-2740DW) and a color brother.  Both support BR-Script which is a postscript interpreter, as well as printing via LDP/LPR and port 9100.  On an Apple II BBS (Captain's Quarters) somebody had noted that Tree Hugger software would allow a IIgs connected via Uthernet to talk to a printer over port 9100.  Using a driver package called Harmonie that allows the IIgs to use HP PCL compatible printers worked allowing me to print to my Brother over Ethernet from my IIgs.

 

For the Mac two options worked -

I followed the guide at http://bylenga.ddns.net/index.php?page=68KPrinting.php and was able to get LDP/LPR PostScript printing to my Brother working over Ethernet on my 7.5 and 8.1 Macs.

 

I then followed the instructions on the Reddit post noted earlier in this thread (with LOTS of trial and error modification) to get printing working on my Raspberry Pi Netatalk server that shares my Macs.  That's working now and I think better than the LDP/LPR option as I don't need to worry about using Desktop Printers and instead can just select my Brother from the Chooser.  I haven't setup my Color brother printer yet, but that's next on my list of things to try.  I think that will be MUCH easier...

 

The desktop printing option requires a newer version of the LaserWriter 8 driver which seems to require at least System 7.1.1.  I just run System 7.1 on my SE/30 but I did need to still use a version of the LaserWriter 8 driver (LaserWriter 7 started talking to the print spooler but would time out - this behaviour was noted in another post I found also).  Because of that, I'm not sure if this will work in System 6, but for me that would be more of a curiosity anyways.

 

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So I got my Brother DCP-L2550DW, and have it printing from my MacBook Pro and my IIgs using TreeHugger.

 

I still can't get it to print from my old Macs (SE/30 running 7.5.5 and Performa 6200CD running 8.1) over the network however.  I followed the easy-looking steps to set up LPR printing on Eric Bylenga's site, but no go.  What his site doesn't explain is which PPD file to select - I've tried Generic, General, and LaserWriter without any luck.  Do I need a PPD file more specific to my printer?

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18 minutes ago, Byte Knight said:

So I got my Brother DCP-L2550DW, and have it printing from my MacBook Pro and my IIgs using TreeHugger.

 

I still can't get it to print from my old Macs (SE/30 running 7.5.5 and Performa 6200CD running 8.1) over the network however.  I followed the easy-looking steps to set up LPR printing on Eric Bylenga's site, but no go.  What his site doesn't explain is which PPD file to select - I've tried Generic, General, and LaserWriter without any luck.  Do I need a PPD file more specific to my printer?

Ok, got it to work with my SE/30 by updating Laserwriter to 8.6 from 8.5.1 (copying them over manually).  Used the Generic PPD.  So, that's a start!

On 4/10/2020 at 5:42 PM, superjer2000 said:

I then followed the instructions on the Reddit post noted earlier in this thread (with LOTS of trial and error modification) to get printing working on my Raspberry Pi Netatalk server that shares my Macs.  That's working now and I think better than the LDP/LPR option as I don't need to worry about using Desktop Printers and instead can just select my Brother from the Chooser.  I haven't setup my Color brother printer yet, but that's next on my list of things to try.  I think that will be MUCH easier...

No luck for me with this method...  I was able to get CUPS installed on my RPi running netatalk server and I can print from the Administrator web page, and I can select my printer from Chooser but nothing will print.

 

 

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Older versions of the LaserWriter driver are going to want a printer that speaks native AppleTalk. There is also the AdobePS driver, but I don't know if it supports LPR printing in its System 6 compatible versions (v8.1.1).

 

http://www.knubbelmac.de/software/druckertreiber/

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I've got my LC III and SE/30 printing over the network with the LPR method so I'm good now.  The key for getting it to work with System 7.5.5 was copying the extensions from Laserwriter driver 8.6 over manually since the installer won't work with System 7.5 (or 8.0 for that matter).

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On 4/17/2020 at 9:58 PM, Byte Knight said:

I've got my LC III and SE/30 printing over the network with the LPR method so I'm good now.  The key for getting it to work with System 7.5.5 was copying the extensions from Laserwriter driver 8.6 over manually since the installer won't work with System 7.5 (or 8.0 for that matter).

I'm following the same procedure but I cannot do one (probably) simple thing:  how do I extract the installer files?

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3 hours ago, tommijazz91 said:

I'm following the same procedure but I cannot do one (probably) simple thing:  how do I extract the installer files?

I had to install LaserWriter 8.6 on another one of my old Macs running OS 8.1 and then copy the files over.  The files are available in the Uploads/LW_8.6 folder on my server (see my signature for the server address).

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I have a Brother MFC-L3770CDW.  Do you think any of the methods here will work to allow that printer to work on old Macs and PCs?

 

c

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2 hours ago, CC_333 said:

I have a Brother MFC-L3770CDW.  Do you think any of the methods here will work to allow that printer to work on old Macs and PCs?

The LPR method should work with your old Macs - not sure about the PC's since I don't have any.  Just make sure you get the Laserwriter 8.6 extension installed and use the Generic PPD.

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1 hour ago, Byte Knight said:

The LPR method should work with your old Macs - not sure about the PC's since I don't have any.  Just make sure you get the Laserwriter 8.6 extension installed and use the Generic PPD.

It depends on what the printer understands.  My Brother MFC printer has the post script emulator BR-Script so that worked fine. My color brother (Hl-3045cn) doesn't so that only works with my Netatalk server and CUPS running on an intel chip to translate the postscript into the proprietary Brother command language.

 

Brothers spec sheets are pretty good at noting what your printer understands. Another version of my color printer (HL-3075CW) does support postscript.  

Edited by superjer2000

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