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hellwyn 08-14-2006 02:53 PM

Linux printing not as good as Windows?
I have a server running FC3 with all the latest CUPS and Foomatic packages. I have an HP PhotoSmart 8250 connected to this server via USB 2.0, and configured using the 8200 PPD file from

On my network I have two laptops, one running Windows XP (sorry!) and the other running FC3. Over the network, The printer is available to the FC3 laptop via native CUPS, and is available to the Windows laptop via Samba. The Windows laptop uses the client driver provided by HP.

When I print an OpenOffice (ODT file) document from the FC3 laptop, the results are OK. But when I print the same ODT file from the Windows laptop to the same printer on the same server, the print quality is much better.

The result from the Linux laptop is grey and dithery, whereas the result from the Windows laptop is crisp, pin-sharp and much blacker.

Having done a little research, I have established that it is the front-end processing (possible ghostscript or foomatic) which is causing the problem. As far as I can tell, the client printing software on the FC3 laptop is rendering the print data at a resolution which is too low _before_ it is sent to the CUPS spooler; whereas the client driver on the Windows laptop is rendering it at a much higher resolution.

I'm not a newbie so I'm not looking for a step-by-step guide, but I could use a little help to point me in the right direction. I have already tried adding:
to the gs line in the PPD file, but this does not have any effect.

Any further help would be appreciated. We can't have Windows being better than Linux, can we? :-)

david_ross 08-14-2006 04:39 PM

I would check your cups settings. The easiest way is to use the web interface:

Then navigate to "Printers->Name of your printer->configure" and check the quality settings.

hellwyn 08-15-2006 03:53 AM

Thanks, david_ross. I had checked all of the obvious things, including the CUPS settings. These settings are configured on the server (which are common to both the Linux and Windows print jobs), so it doesn't explain the difference.

hellwyn 08-15-2006 04:12 AM

I have a little more information. When the Linux laptop sends a print job, it delegates everything to the driver on the server. However, when the Windows laptop sends a print job, it has already been prepared using the HP client-side driver and sends the job as a "raw" job - in this case, the CUPS server is being used merely as a spooler.

So the CUPS settings on the server will not affect the Windows print jobs - the quality of these jobs are set by the HP client driver. Thus the print quality question is:

"Why is the Linux/PPD/CUPS/foomatic system producing lower-quality results that the HP client driver for Windows?"

hellwyn 08-15-2006 02:40 PM

I found the solution. The HP 8200 PPD file which I downloaded from does not configure the CUPS web interface to reveal all of the available options. The full range of options are described at - in particular, the options specified with the -sIjsParams switch. So a little tweaking of the PPD file solved the problem!

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