[Samba] Print speed with an HP Laserjet 4

Mike Brodbelt m.brodbelt at acu.ac.uk
Tue May 6 15:41:18 GMT 2003

Kurt Pfeifle wrote:
> Mike Brodbelt wrote:

>>I prepared a 3 page document in Word, and printed this from an NT
>>workstation, via a spoolss PCL driver as a baseline:-
>>Time to start printing: 30 seconds
>>Time to complete emergence of final page: 2 mins 15 secs
>>I then created PCL files and PostScript files  of the same document, and
>>printed them with lpr from the server:-
>>PCL time to start print:		30 secs
>>PCL time to complete print:		2 mins 15 secs
>>PS time to start print:			14 secs
>>PS time to complete print:		1 min 29 secs

I think I've now tracked this down, though I'm still unsure what the
best course of action is....

I found a user who still has "full speed" printing on a LaserJet 4.
Testing with the same work document, I get the following timings:-

time to start print:		7 secs
time to complete print:		42 secs

This printer is set up with the HP LaserJet 4 driver for Windows NT 4
that came on the NT 4 installation CD. When the print job is redirected
to a file, I get a PCL file that is 14830 bytes in size.

The networked LaserJet 4 printers were using a newer driver, downloaded
from the HP website. This generates a PCL file that is 2392464 bytes in
size for exactly the same document.

The new setup, uses the PostScript driver. Ghostscript is invoked to
render this into PCL suitable for sending to the printer. I tested the
PCL output by manually generating it:-

cat pstest.prn | /usr/bin/gs -dSAFER -dPARANOIDSAFER -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE
-q -sOutputFile=test_gs.pcl -sDEVICE=ljet4 -

This generated a PCL file 932040 bytes long.

In all these tests, the communication bandwidth to the printer was
limited by a parallel cable - the network card on the networked printer
was an external HP Jetdirect which is attached to the network, and
provides a parallel port for connection to the printer. Testing from a
client workstation with the new PCL driver to a printer with an internal
Jetdirect card was slightly faster, completing the job in 1 minute 46
seconds, compared to 2 mins 15 for the external network card.

As I need to leave the billing system in place, I still need to use the
PostScript drivers on the Samba server. The bottleneck appears to be the
time to send the job across the network to the printer, and the time the
printer itself takes to process the PCL it receives. It would seem that
the best way to optimise the printing process would be to reduce the
size of the final PCL file. Is there any way of having ghostscript
optimise the resultant PCL output for size?

Any ideas appreciated.


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