UPD Mail Archive: UPD> Article in InfoWorld on "universal print driver" (InfoWorld) (htt

UPD Mail Archive: UPD> Article in InfoWorld on "universal print driver" (InfoWorld) (htt

UPD> Article in InfoWorld on "universal print driver" (InfoWorld) (htt

Hastings, Tom N (hastings@cp10.es.xerox.com)
Mon, 26 Oct 1998 12:48:08 -0800


Group forms to develop universal print driver=20

By Ephraim Schwartz=20
InfoWorld Electric=20

Posted at 5:49 AM PT, Oct 24, 1998=20
Working quietly, an informal group of the leading printer manufacturers =
working to create a single universal print driver that will replace the =
than 3,000 drivers that are currently required.=20

The goal is to have only one driver included in the operating system, =
or a
Universal Printer Driver Format (UPDF), with the individual =
of a particular printer described in a text file residing within the =

"We are hoping the [bidirectional] characteristics of the UPDF will =
help IT
managers, in that less support of printers is needed," said Sandra =
chair of the UPDF committee in the Printer Working Group (PWG) and an
engineer scientist for Workgroup Color LaserJets at Hewlett-Packard, in
Boise, Idaho. "They won't have to configure every client's computer for =
printer the client will use."=20

Commands would reside in the text file within the printer to invoke the
printer's capabilities. If a user wanted to do duplex printing, for =
the text file would send the correct data stream.=20

On the operating system side, the driver is universal. It is on the =
side that unique features are described.=20

"There is no such thing as a device-independent data stream," said =
Lewis, a member of the PWG and a printing systems architect at IBM =
Systems Division, in Boulder, Colo.=20

Every device may have different characteristics that can change.=20

A so-called meta-language developed by the PWG would be able to =
describe all
of the features of the printer for access by the single driver in the =

"Basically, it is similar to PostScript page description language," =
said Dan
Wright, another PWG member and the product manager for alliances for
standards at Lexmark, in Lexington, Ky.=20

According to group members, the finished driver will be available for
testing in eight months to one year, with another two months needed for
interoperability testing before it ships.=20

The universal driver will require the support of operating system =
such as Microsoft, as well as Unix operating system vendors. Currently,
Microsoft ships a CD with more than 3,000 printer drivers with each =
of Windows NT.=20

Microsoft support appears to be in place, according to Paul Moore, =
manager for Windows NT 5.0 printing.=20

The Redmond, Wash., software company currently has Unidrive 5 in Beta 2 =
NT 5.0, which is similar to technology that might be used as the basis =
the UPDF, according to Moore.=20

Moore believes the UPDF will benefit IT departments.=20

"We think that a lot of IT manager problems arise from having too many
printer drivers. The benefits [of a universal driver] would be all =
Moore said. "It will reduce the administrative load."=20

The single driver as envisioned by members of the PWG allow a UPDF to =
the printer device for capabilities.=20

"Today, we really rely on the user selecting in the UI features of the
printer," Matts said. "It's really a best guess at times. UPDF will =
our drivers to truly know what is attached to the printer at the start =
the print job."=20

The Printer Working Group can be reached at www.pwg.org =

Ephraim <mailto:ephraim_schwartz@infoworld.com> Schwartz is an editor =
large for InfoWorld.=20

Go to the
m> Week's Top News Stories=20

Please direct your comments to InfoWorld Deputy News Editor, Carolyn
<mailto:carolyn_april@infoworld.com> April

.htm> =A9 1998 InfoWorld Media Group Inc.=20

InfoWorld Electric is a member of IDG.net=20