If you use R-Comp‘s Network Printer Drivers, you may have encountered a problem if you’ve also been using recent beta versions of RISC OS 5.29, incorporating changes to FileSwitch. Those changes have brought about compatibility issues with support for HP JetDirect, a technology in use on many network capable printers – not just those from Hewlett-Packard.
An update to the Network Printer Drivers software, released this week, addresses the issue – version 2.04 is now available from !Store.
As a bonus, if you are not yet a user of the software, it is on special offer to coincide with this update, so you can bag it for just £15.00!
But why would you want to? What does it include, and what does it do?
Before thinking about the driver software, though, unless your printer is an older model, the chances are it can be connected to your local network, rather than (or as well as) directly to a computer. Connecting a printer this way has the advantage that you can send data to it from
any device on your network capable of printing, whereas if it’s connected directly to a computer you are either limited to using it from that one machine, or you need to work around that direct connection in order to get printed material from others.
There is an extra step that may need to be carried out for each device when the printer is connected to the network, though, and that is ensuring each device can print to it in the first place – i.e. to install the necessary printer drivers on them. In some cases, that may be largely automatic, or at the other end of the range of possibilities it might be done by installing something.
R-Comp’s Network Printer Drivers 2 is at the latter end of that range; and the starting point of what it can do is make it provide a means to print directly from your RISC OS computer to your network printer, using one of two protocols; the aforementioned HP JetDirect approach, which can be considered to some extent to be the generic method, and a method called LPR (or LPD), which stands for Line Printer Remote (or Daemon) and is more comprehensive, offering a job-based approach, with background printing, job queuing, and more.
As well as supporting both protocols, the software includes applications for printer configuration and management – and even allows some types of file to be sent directly to the printer, because many modern printers can handle (and therefore print) a wide range of file formats.