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Re: tools to compare PPDs?

On 06/28/2012 03:11 AM, Vincent McIntyre wrote:

first let me offer my thanks for your work, I was impressed by the
number of bug squashes in the list archives.

I have been setting up a print server (on Squeeze) and ran into the
problem of trying to decide between 6 different PPD files.

# lpinfo --make-and-model 'HP Color LaserJet 5500' -m
gutenprint.5.2://hp-clj_5500/expert HP Color LaserJet 5500 - CUPS+Gutenprint v5.2.6

Gutenprint supports PCL laser printers only in grayscale, so it is not recommended to use this printer with Gutenprint.

foomatic:HP-Color_LaserJet_5500-Postscript.ppd HP Color LaserJet 5500 Foomatic/Postscript

This is a generic PostScript PPD. The native PPD from the manufacturer does not appear in the list. Make sure to install the printer-driver-postscript-hp package. After that you will get the manufacturer PPD, and you should use it.

foomatic:HP-Color_LaserJet_5500-pxlcolor.ppd HP Color LaserJet 5500 Foomatic/pxlcolor

This is a PCL-6 driver. Can be used as alternative to PostScript if the printer has problems in PostScript mode, like interpreter bugs or low memory.

drv:///hpijs.drv/hp-color_laserjet_5500-hpijs-pcl3.ppd HP Color LaserJet 5500 hpijs pcl3, 3.10.6
lsb/usr/hplip/HP/hp-color_laserjet_5500-hpijs-pcl3.ppd HP Color LaserJet 5500 hpijs pcl3,
drv:///hpcups.drv/hp-color_laserjet_5500-pcl3.ppd HP Color LaserJet 5500 pcl3, hpcups 3.10.6

These three are actually the same driver, a PCL-5c driver supplied by HP. On systems with CUPS you can uninstall the printer-driver-hpijs and the hpijs-ppds packages. They do not give you any extra benefit.

My question is - are there tools available to compare the capabilities
offered by different PPD files, so I can make an informed choice?

Not really tools to compare, but you can use the different modes of the cupstestppd and lpoptions commands to get information about the PPD files.

I can't find all the PPD files shown above on disk - presumably some are
autogenerated by lpadmin when you ask for them to be used?

Yes, most are auto-generated, as PPDs, even if individually compressed with gzip take a lot of disk space. Most PPD auto generators in /usr/lib/cups/driver/ are simply self-extracting archives, others are generated from /usr/share/cups/drv/*.drv files.

Also, some PPDs are listed by lpinfo as (recommended) - though not
in this case.

The "(recommended)" is simply an entry in the *NickName lines of the PPD files. For your printer the (recommended) is in the native PostScript PPD. Install printer-driver-postscript-hp to get this PPD.

How is that bit of metadata incorporated into the printing system?

"lpinfo -m" calls all PPD generators in /usr/lib/cups/driver/ without command line parameters letting them return a list of PPDs they are capable to generate, generates a PPD list from all /usr/share/cups/drv/*.drv and a list from all physically existing PPD files (/usr/share/ppd)/. Printer setup tools do the same thing.


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