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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Mar 01, 2007
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    Printer Driver Support Missing
    My HP DeskJet 990 Cse printer doesn't work correctly with my new iMac OS X version 10.4.8 computer. Apple's most recent driver upgrade for this printer does not incorporate PDE (Printing Dialog Extensions), which means I cannot choose things like print quality, paper type, color vs. gray scale, automatic image enhancement, saturation, brightness, color tone, ink volume, or dry time. It takes 38 seconds to print a short paragraph. On an 9-year-old, 400MHz Windows 98 computer with USB 1.0, the same message takes just 12 seconds, and I can make all the selections mentioned above. In other words, this printer is useless with my shiny new iMac.

    Is this progress?

    I am beginning to wonder why I bought this Apple computer. If Apple does not bother to upgrade drivers for printers when it "upgrades" its operating system, and HP doesn't bother either, does this mean I am going to have to buy a new printer every time Apple "upgrades" their operating system? I thought Apple was making computers easier to work with, not harder.

    Suggestions? OBTW, I do not care to write a printer driver. I bought this Mac to use, not to tinker with. Life is short, and I have a life.

    mikezzz

  2. #2

    RiDE's Avatar
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    I looked on this site http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport...ctID=c00317516 and found your printer listed, but I assume it must be just for the very basic printing functionality as you mentioned above. How old is the printer? Hopefully we will find an alternative to purchasing a new printer, to go with your new iMac.

    WELCOME to Mac-Forums!

    P.S.~ Just an observation, and I'm not "preaching" but your very first post on here comes off really brash, and pretty rude to be honest. You'll find members here are beyond helpful in answering your questions and solving your problems/issues. Think: "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" and "Attitude is Everything". ... or, maybe it's just me.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Mar 01, 2007
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    If my complaint was rude, then I apologize, as I certainly have no wish to be rude. On the other hand, I would be less than honest if I pretended to be happy with this particular aspect of what appears to be Apple's business model. While I appreciate your metaphor, I also believe that, if any wheel gets greased, it will be the squeaky one.

    And, yes, I have spent many days and many conversations with the very helpful support people at HP trying to understand the root of this problem.
    mikezzz

  4. #4

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikezzz View Post
    My HP DeskJet 990 Cse printer doesn't work correctly with my new iMac OS X version 10.4.8 computer. Apple's most recent driver upgrade for this printer does not incorporate PDE (Printing Dialog Extensions), which means I cannot choose things like print quality, paper type, color vs. gray scale, automatic image enhancement, saturation, brightness, color tone, ink volume, or dry time. It takes 38 seconds to print a short paragraph. On an 9-year-old, 400MHz Windows 98 computer with USB 1.0, the same message takes just 12 seconds, and I can make all the selections mentioned above. In other words, this printer is useless with my shiny new iMac.

    Is this progress?

    I am beginning to wonder why I bought this Apple computer. If Apple does not bother to upgrade drivers for printers when it "upgrades" its operating system, and HP doesn't bother either, does this mean I am going to have to buy a new printer every time Apple "upgrades" their operating system? I thought Apple was making computers easier to work with, not harder.

    Suggestions? OBTW, I do not care to write a printer driver. I bought this Mac to use, not to tinker with. Life is short, and I have a life.

    mikezzz
    Are you using one of the gimp-print drivers? Be aware that Apple does not maintain those drivers, they are open-source and included with several different variations of UNIX (including Mac OS X). Try updating your drivers by downloading Gutenprint (previously known as gimp-print). These drivers usually meet or exceed the quality of the original drivers.

    According to the UN*X compatibility database, this printer is fully supported by Gutenprint. Details can be found here.

  5. #5

    ToddG's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 27, 2006
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    Apple isn't responsible for writing drivers for peripherals. The company that makes the peripheral (HP in this case) is responsible for it. Perhaps you should contact HP and complain that they don't have adequately updated drivers for all the Mac users out there?

    Otherwise, I'm with RIDE. Spouting off and essentially whining that "Apple sucks" isn't going to get the response you want around here. There are tons of people that will -- like RIDE and cwa107 did -- take the time to do a lot of the legwork for you just to help you out. Play nice.

  6. #6

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    While I am not a Mac zealot (those who've read some of my other posts over the last couple of months know full well), I think it is totally unfair to blame this issue on Apple. This issue goes back directly to the manufacturer of the third party hardware (in this case a printer). The drivers provided with OS X were not written by Apple. They were written and provided by the third party manufacturers.

    This is the same with Microsoft. Microsoft does not write drivers for third party hardware. Any printer, video, etc. drivers that came with 98, XP and now Vista, were not written by MS, but by the third party vendors. Even most of the driver updates available on MS updates are not drivers re-written by MS. They were written by the manufacturer and provided to MS, primarily just because there are many people who know about updating their OS, but don't have a clue about checking for updated drivers for their hardware.

    This is an issue of the manufacturers of hardware making a business decision either to stop their support of older hardware, or just flat out offering only minimal or no support for but one choice of OS. As someone that had spent some time with Linux prior to moving this one system to Apple, one of the promises I had made to myself was to try my best, not to buy hardware that limits its capabilities based on the OS you choose.

    In other words, in this particular case, this is an HP issue, not an OS issue. HP wrote a driver to support the full functionality of that printer in Windows, but decided not to spend the time to write fully functional drivers for the Mac. HP is the one to be mad at. And yes, I had to go out and buy a new printer when I got this computer, because Canon had no drivers available for Linux nor OS X for the printer I had. But it sure wasn't the fault of OS X nor Linux, the fault rests fully on Canon.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  7. #7


    Member Since
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    Thx much, all, for your responses. However, I am left with three basic questions:

    1) Does anyone know what, exactly, is meant by "print-only functionality" in a printer driver? (I am not trying to mow the lawn with it.)

    2) Can someone please give me a source reference for the assertion that, "The drivers provided with OS X were not written by Apple. They were written and provided by the third party manufacturers"? Here's what the tech at HP told me: "Apple developed a driver for the printer with the information we made available and decided to build a print only driver into the Mac OS."

    Clearly, HP, Canon, or Epson, etc. are in business to sell printers; they have nothing to gain by supporting units they have already sold. Apple, on the other hand stands to sell more computers to potential buyers who want to switch from Windows if they aren't required to replace all their peripherals. What am I missing here?

    3) Assuming, as it now appears, that I will need to replace the DeskJet, how can I determine whether a new model from brand X will be "fully functional" with an iMac if I can't discover what is implied by "print-only functionality." (OBTW, I am not worried just about the DeskJet printer. I also have a laser printer and a scanner that may have be added to the landfill problem.)

    While surfing around the Internet seeking a solution to my problem, I was amused when one of those Mac vs. Windows video ads popped up. At the end, this appeared, "Macs offer flawless integration of hardware and software, with all the essentials built right in."

  8. #8
    MacHeadCase
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikezzz View Post
    *Snip*
    3) Assuming, as it now appears, that I will need to replace the DeskJet, how can I determine whether a new model from brand X will be "fully functional" with an iMac if I can't discover what is implied by "print-only functionality."*Snip*
    Easy. You google.

    Mac OS X 10.4: Included printer drivers and PostScript PPD files.

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikezzz View Post
    2) Can someone please give me a source reference for the assertion that, "The drivers provided with OS X were not written by Apple. They were written and provided by the third party manufacturers"? Here's what the tech at HP told me: "Apple developed a driver for the printer with the information we made available and decided to build a print only driver into the Mac OS."

    Clearly, HP, Canon, or Epson, etc. are in business to sell printers; they have nothing to gain by supporting units they have already sold. Apple, on the other hand stands to sell more computers to potential buyers who want to switch from Windows if they aren't required to replace all their peripherals. What am I missing here?
    This is what HP have to say about the Vista driver for your printer:

    "You might find that some of the advanced features are no longer available when using this basic driver. You can upgrade to an HP product that is fully compatible with Windows Vista if the advanced features are necessary.
    To help you decide what product to upgrade to, the following tool will be helpful as you make your decision:"

    Now to me that means that HP provided the driver for Microsoft to put in Vista, why do you think Microsoft didn't write their own driver with all the functionality?

    The HP tech was lying to you and you hit the nail on the head, HP have absolutely no interest in providing their customers with drivers for discontinued models. They want you to buy a new printer.

    Neither Apple nor Microsoft can legitimately reverse engineer the HP drivers and the only place you are likely to find driver development for it is in the Linux world where there are plenty of hackers doing just that.

    Amen-Moses

  10. #10

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikezzz View Post
    Thx much, all, for your responses. However, I am left with three basic questions:

    1) Does anyone know what, exactly, is meant by "print-only functionality" in a printer driver? (I am not trying to mow the lawn with it.)

    2) Can someone please give me a source reference for the assertion that, "The drivers provided with OS X were not written by Apple. They were written and provided by the third party manufacturers"? Here's what the tech at HP told me: "Apple developed a driver for the printer with the information we made available and decided to build a print only driver into the Mac OS."

    Clearly, HP, Canon, or Epson, etc. are in business to sell printers; they have nothing to gain by supporting units they have already sold. Apple, on the other hand stands to sell more computers to potential buyers who want to switch from Windows if they aren't required to replace all their peripherals. What am I missing here?

    3) Assuming, as it now appears, that I will need to replace the DeskJet, how can I determine whether a new model from brand X will be "fully functional" with an iMac if I can't discover what is implied by "print-only functionality." (OBTW, I am not worried just about the DeskJet printer. I also have a laser printer and a scanner that may have be added to the landfill problem.)

    While surfing around the Internet seeking a solution to my problem, I was amused when one of those Mac vs. Windows video ads popped up. At the end, this appeared, "Macs offer flawless integration of hardware and software, with all the essentials built right in."

    Question - did you try my suggestion of using the gimp-print driver for your printer? Those drivers, while not built by Apple or HP, are usually of very high quality - and according to what I've read, offer full support for your printer.

    I think what they mean by "print only" is just that the driver supports basic print functionality, not any of the advanced paper-handling or tweaks for better output.

  11. #11

    caribiner23's Avatar
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    I second the vote for the Gutenprint drivers. They've fixed several problems for me.

  12. #12

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Ok, so no problem that HP, Brothers, Epson, Lexmark, Canon, Sony, Olympus......... can decide not to provide drivers for the hardware they produce for the "three" primary Operating Systems in home use. But is a crime that Apple can't hack (reverse engineer) drivers for each of the (by this time) thousands of printers and scanners each one of these manufacturers have produced?

    Uh, OK, whatever.

    The new printer I just purchased, was an HP. Primarily due it it being advertised by HP as compatible with OS X, XP and Vista. Well, I guess it is, compatible I mean, it does print, they do have drivers and software for OS X. I have it networked with XP and OS X machines. But, the software and drivers HP supplied for "their" printer still have more features in XP than they do in OS X. Which means I'm missing some of the functionality (and ease of use) I have on my XP machines when I use OS X to print. Guess I should call Apple and place a complaint for not gettin' on the ball and fixing HP's drivers. And while they're at it, how about some drivers for my Canon also?

    And Gutenprint does do a pretty good job with a lot of print drivers.
    But if you're looking for all the features and options you had in XP, probably not going to find it. Even the companies that make drivers for Windows, OS X and Linux; most of them will still have more options available in windows just because they have been writing for windows longer and their developers for the other two have not caught up as of yet. This is true not only for printers, but with ATI and Nvidia, the software provided with CD/DVD drives, to some extent hard drives, etc.

    Excerpt from Apple web site available here.
    "The installation of Mac OS X 10.1 includes drivers written by Canon, Epson, and Hewlett-Packard for certain models of their respective printers."
    Another page available here.
    "Please note that some of these drivers have been created by open-source projects...."
    And of course the link posted by MacHeadCase above says it all.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  13. #13

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Great post Amen-Moses!

    I had issues a long time ago now with a Mustek scanner. They decided on their very popular model 600 NOT to make drivers for Win 2k leave alone XP and if you did not like it, buy one of their new scanners that supported XP and 2k. Should Gates hire a whole team to track down that Mustek model and write drivers for it? No, Mustek should get on the ball and make 2k and XP drivers for their product. The scanner at the time was not that old at all and worked great in 98SE and ME. What was sad is a later model Mustek that cost only $50 came out with 2k drivers but their 2x expensive scanner from the same time period had and still has no XP or 2k support.

  14. #14

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    For the driver with probably the best options you can try PrintFab.
    This company invests a lot of time reverse engineering print drivers. They have a range of drivers from modest home use to very high for professional needs. While expensive (at least to me for print drivers), they do have 30 day free trial so you can make sure it works for you.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  15. #15

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    For the driver with probably the best options you can try PrintFab.
    This company invests a lot of time reverse engineering print drivers. They have a range of drivers from modest home use to very high for professional needs. They also have 30 day trial for their drivers.
    Man - it won't let me give you rep at the moment, but THAT deserves MAJOR rep!!!! I'm coming back to that post later. Very helpful!!! You just helped to get my Canon i550 working PERFECTLY.

    THANKS BOB!!!!!

    EDIT: Adding to the Networking Printers FAQ

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