Once done, you can "netcat" a .ps file directly to the printer's IP. There's beauty in that. I mean, you literally send a postscript file over the ethernet wire and the printer starts printing it. No need for any printer driver. Sure, you don't get a spooler and errors can be ugly (as in printing garbage on lots of pages if you're not quick to stop it) but netcat'ing a PostScript file to a native PostScript printer still feels, today, deeply elegant.
I've got a few of these: they were fantastic printers (but sadly only 600 DPI). Some of mine have printed more than 300 000 pages and are still going strong.
I hadn't done any PostScript programming in a very long time but the other day I made a game for kids at my kid's school: an hexagonal grid with one letter per hexagon and then kids have to find all the kids' names in the grid... I wrote some Clojure code to generate... A .ps file. Because why not.
P.S: as a bonus these LaserJet printer can be made to display the famous "PC LOAD LETTER" message.
I suspect the modern driver ecosystem just rasterizes everything and sends a dumb 92Mb bitmap instead, because even a $19 inkjet printer that can only buffer a single line of inbound data can handle it.
It probably should be on a remote controlled switch to reduce its idle energy usage, but holy crap these things are made to last.
If I'm not mistaken, it also takes some special SIMM ROMs, but I've just been using PCL mode to send pre-rasterized data to it and it Just Works. PostScript has always been a bit of a gamble and more often than not I just end up with 100s of blank pages as it forgets to change the mode.
It had all of 2MB memory originally, which was a real bottleneck in its later days. I did add 16MB at some point, to increase its life. From then on, when using PostScript instead of PCL for printing, it was clearly CPU-bound.
I’m still conflicted about them taking it to recycling even though it worked reliably. It was over 20 years old.
I've given away my first Samsung laser, because it's pickup rollers just eroded away. The second one is a much beefier machine, and going really strong. I'm just stocking toner and imaging unit refills for that, because If I can use it for another 8 years, it'd be a really great win for me.
That point in time was a bit odd; it was exciting to do "desktop publishing".
Output quality will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but I wasn't impressed when some years ago I purchased a Samsung laser and noticed that it had tiny little notches on the letters that my previous printer did not have. Of course the Samsung repair shop couldn't do anything about it as no firmware updates were available.
I think the general effort from manufacturers to print pages fast and cheap also meant that quality had to change for the worse. Perhaps the toner didn't adhere as well anymore because it needed higher heat for a shorter duration, etc.
I don't mind spending more money on a high quality printer - the problem is that I have no idea what that printer is. Noone is doing print quality tests these days.
I have good memories of Laserjet 4 and 5 series printers from the 90s though.
> but perhaps that's just fuzzy memories...
so essentially P agrees with GP.
"What's that, Dix?"
"This scam of yours, when it's over, you erase this goddam thing."
Linux was a new thing in India at that time. It was a lot fun to go through the code, especially for someone new to C, to understand the printing pipeline end to end. For me the driving motivation was to enable that cool 'draft mode' where only the outline of the font used to be inked leaving the insides free of toner.
Later we got a copy of PCTeX for DOS that completely changed everything.
I also wanted to change the font for txt files as well. I didn't have a computer at home and would print the txt version of Linux HOWTOs 2-up to save paper, but also wanted to save toner. I had very little CS training at that time, except for some rudimentary fortran. Learning Linux on my own was to become my CS university. I still have fond memories of poring over the ghostscript codebase.
Of course it wasn't a LaserJet. But it's pretty incredible what they could make printers do 3 decades ago.
Turns out HP does (or did-- it's unclear to me) printer development in Boise, ID. Guess I never though to search-engine that. I was seeing it as some kind of typical HP acronym (EIO, MIO, etc). It was clearly an HP "BOISE" identification. Never thought about it just being the city.
Some cursory searches suggests that HP still does printer R&D there.
Imaginary examples: DRM for high-quality CAD symbols paired with a commercial software package. Or something combinatorially complex with random access where you'd have to ship a huge PostScript file over the wire.
postscript is a great playground