PostScript knowlege can save you too

My old Performa 5260 is running Mac OS 9, the last Macintosh operating system for the old pre-G3 computers. We have Quark installed thereon, and it wants to print. The printer is a PostScript-enabled HP LaserJet 4MP, attached to my Linux server. Why is it so hard to print the damn' file? Even during that brief time when it would work, I could never get landscape printing to work.

I can choose the LaserWriter 8 icon in Chooser, but then it asks where my AppleTalk network is. As it happens, I do run an AppleTalk server (netatalk) on the Linux box, and I even run something called papd, but neither the Max OS 9 dinosaur nor the Mac OS X 10.2.8 PowerBook believe it has any printers.

There is a solution: the document is only one page long, so use Quark's Save as Encapsulated PostScript option, then copy the EPS to a shared disc on the Linux server. Then edit the EPS with GNU Emacs. Study the PostScript code to deduce the start of the page (in this case, search for %%EndSetup). Insert 0 842 translate -90 rotate to switch it to landscape printing, and voilà! it prints correctly with lpr. The great thing about Unix is that it lets you point to a file and say 'send that to the printer' without its playing silly buggers and trying to load some application's random Print dialogue boxes and then second-guessing you on the whole landscape printing issue so cleverly that your document emerges rotated and clipped.

I have the Adobe manaual (PostScript Lanugage Reference Manual 2/e, ISBN 0-201-18127-4), which has an exellent index and is full of information. Thus I was able to learn how to insert `<< /NumCopies 10

setpagedevice` in order to print multiple copies. Simplicity itself compared to the user-friendly alternatives.