Setting up a shared printer - any hardcore Macheads out there?

The Mac is a MacBook Pro - one of the new Intel ones.

I have a Windows XP machine on my network with an HP 2175xi all-in-one attached to it. I can see the printer from the Mac, but the Mac installs it as a “generic postscript printer”. This driver doesn’t seem to work - when I send print jobs over the network, the printer goes nuts (pages and pages of gibberish).

I know this model is supported on OS X because (a) Apple explicitly says so and (b) if I plug the printer directly into the Mac’s USB port, it gets silently installed and works fine.

The problem is that when I try to navigate to Print and Fax | Printer Info, this model of HP isn’t listed as one of the options, even though OS X definately has native support for it. I’ve tried browsing for the PPD file but there isn’t one under /Library/Printers, nor under /System/Printers.

Anyone have any ideas? How is it that OS X has native support for this printer model, yet there seems to be no ppd file for it? Is the Mac using some other “compatible” driver instead? Are PPD files only for Postscript, and this printer is getting installed as a non-postscript model when I plug it in directly?


No help here, but I have the exact same problem with my Canon PIXMA iP8500. I’ve even installed the drivers from Canon, but they fail to show in my printing options. When I use Spotlight to search for Canon folders, I find the folders that are supposedly installed, but they’re all empty.

I can see the printer on the network, I can select it, but I can only choose generic GIMP 5.0 drivers. So, lemme just piggyback on this thread if anyone’s got ideas.

I found this article about our problem. Looks like we’re not alone.

The author suggests using the GIMP driver, which Apple seems to imply is only a last resort if no native driver is available.

The basic problem is that Apple assumes a networked printer is going to support Postscript (at least they used to, I am not current on the OSX print model though I use it all the time with great results) and MS doesn’t make that assumption. Apple does not assume directly connected printers are Postscript hence the success when you plug the printer into the USB port. Note that a computer doesn’t print to a printer-it prints to a port. One that hopefully has a printer connected to it. But the computer doesn’t really care about that. So, your problem is that when the computer prints to the network port, it uses the version of the driver for a network port and those are written (when Apple does it) as a postscript printer. Note that the driver doesn’t have to make that assumption and some of Apple’s drivers for certain printers that are not Postscript do in fact work just fine over a network. But it is driver specific and the particular driver used is selected by what the user says (pick from the list) and the port.

The solution is to get away from the Apple driver. GIMP printing works well for me and allows the Mac OS to print to non-postscript printers over the network. Of course you may not find your exact driver on the GIMP website, but you can come close.

Why the trouble? Support. Apple can’t support every non-postscript printer out there completely. By forcing you to switch to GIMP Apple is avoiding support calls about some minor feature of a low-installed base printer not working out of the box. And GIMP is a very successful system. It is specifically intended to support UNIX computers (like OSX) printing to a wide variety of printers. In fact, it may be the OSX print model Apple uses, though they restrict their support to specific printers.

All in all, try GIMP. It isn’t hard and probably will work quite well.