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oski 10-21-2006 02:45 PM

parallel port ISA card issue?
Dear fellows:
I'm experiencing more than little problems installing a Epson Stylus Photo printer in an old recycled PC Pentium 200 MMX with a Xubuntu desktop running smoothly.

This PC runned formerly a Debian Sarge with a 2.4 kernel and this printer got installed and configured to work easily with the CUPS web interface. But I felt in love with Xubuntu forever so I switched...

OK... I had some work to do with the "alternate" text installer in advanced mode but I coped to get everything working well but the printer. The CUPS web interface describes this printer as follows:

Make and Model: EPSON Stylus Photo - CUPS+Gutenprint v5.0.0-rc2
Printer State: idle, accepting jobs, published.
Device URI: parallel:/dev/lp0

It seems apparently well installed, being both port and driver correct. Yes, actually it prints but at a rate of 10 (yes ten!) minutes per page it does no matter if only text or text+graphics. I guess it an issue with the parallel port on an old ISA pnp card. The onboard parallel por no longer exists and is almost impossible to get it, so I unabled it in the BIOS settings to elliminate undesirable interferences. The dmesg output estates:

parport0: PC-style at 0x278 [PCSPP,TRISTATE,EPP]
parport0: Printer, EPSON Stylus Photo
lp0: using parport0 (polling).

Thanks a lot for reading my post. I'll apreciate all advice. If you need more information just let me know!

theNbomr 10-26-2006 02:45 PM

Some older ISA-bus parallel ports had a jumper to enable the card to generate interrupts. Perhaps this is missing/misconfigured. The dmesg output would suggest that the kernel driver was unable to get the device running with interrupts, and is using a polled mode. That would probably account for the slow speed, especially on a slower machine like that.

--- rod.

oski 10-28-2006 02:21 PM

Thanks for your answer theNbomr!

I did more investigating and I got some answers. I guess the guilt of this bad performance is actually the old processor. Indeed with the former driver gimp-print (debian sarge) everything went ok, but these problems started with the new one included in both xubuntu and debian testing (yes, also tried it!). This old processor doesn't works well with the new driver gutenprint (xubuntu and debian etch) because it demands more recurses. Looking the top output when trying to print I can see that three processes started by lp: gs-esp, rastertoguntenpr and parallel consuming almost 100% cpu. So I switched to a less sophisticated driver, the one included with the cups system. Although I get far less quality in printing it seems to work and the use of cpu is better.

Please, can you add more about interrupts versus polled mode? Are you suggesting to change settings in the BIOS is a way to workaround these annoyances? I thing I always saw the (polling) mode in all of my former dmesg's.

If more information is needed to make a more accurate diagnostic just let me know!

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