pnm2ppa - HP PPA GhostScript printfilter / News: Recent posts

ANNOUNCE: Welcome Mark Larson

Mark has joined the project to give the code the once over from an optimization point of view.

Mark has a excellent track record in producing major wins for other CPU bound software, and he has already spotted some optimizations in heavily called code inside pnm2ppa.

Depending on Mark's workload and desires, pnm2ppa might get a small (or large) bump in performance.

When a release is ready for testing, it will be announced.... read more

Posted by Andrew van der Stock 2004-06-15

Useful Mac OS links about pnm2ppa

I came across some useful links about pnm2ppa on Mac OSX.
You can of course build the source tarball from this site on
OS X, but someone has already done this and nicely packaged pnm2ppa-1.12 with an installer for OS X 10.2.x


I have tested this on my PowerBook G4 with OS X 10.2.6,
and it works fine.

Someone else has also adapted the Networking advice read more

Posted by Duncan 2003-10-03

Current/Future Status of pnm2ppa project

With the release of pnm2ppa-1.12 in November 2002, the pnm2ppa project is probably completed. The HP PPA printers are now quite obsolete, though my HP-722C is working fine.
(It's no longer my main printer) .

pnm2ppa-1.12 has been downloaded over 1000 times, and no reproducible bugs seem to have been reported. If any problems are found, users should try pnm2ppa-1.04, the previous stable release, which still comes with many distributions (like Red Hat). Pnm2ppa-1.12 ended up having a substantially-reorganized mechanism for organizing the way the data to be printed was organized into sweeps of the print head, as compared to pnm2ppa-1.04. It should in principle produce better rendering of graphics images, but if any bugs are found, they could be due to the changes between 1.04 and 1.12. There is a rather complex and ad-hoc algorithm for alternating between black ink and color ink print sweeps that could be rationalized and simplified, but that's not going to happen (even better, the rather primitive and ad-hoc image processing used by pnm2ppa should be discarded, and the whole thing replaced by gimp-print processing, but that won't happen either).... read more

Posted by Duncan 2003-04-06

ANNOUNCE: pnm2ppa-1.12 released

UPDATED: pnm2ppa-1.11 could hang at the end of a page. This bug is fixed in pnm2ppa-1.12


pnm2ppa-1.11 is a bugfix release to pnm2ppa-1.10.

All pnm2ppa-1.10 users should update to 1.11.

It fixes problems with HP820C printers, and also a potential memory leak in pnm2ppa-1.10.

It should provide better printing quality than the very stable pnm2ppa-1.04, but is not yet as well-tested.... read more

Posted by Duncan 2002-11-10

Update: HP 820C problems with pnm2ppa-1.10 : use v.1.11pre2

HP820C users may experience problems with pnm2ppa-1.10. In that case, go back to the stable
pnm2ppa-1.04 for the moment. I am looking for HP 820C users to help me debug this problem.

Update: (October 2, 2002)

These issues are probably fixed in pnm2ppa-1.11pre2.
Please test and report.

Please contact me with examples of postscript files that fail to print with pnm2ppa.-1.11pre2 on HP820C, but print fine with pnm2ppa-1.04
(contact me :duncan_haldane at This problem does not affect HP710/720 users.... read more

Posted by Duncan 2002-09-21

pnm2ppa-1.10 is released

After a long time, there is a significantly (?) improved pnm2ppa-1.10 release. Since most users now probably get pnm2ppa-1.04 through their Linux/other distribution, this release may not get as much testing as earlier ones. Please report *any* anomalies/bugs you notice, so they can be fixed before pnm2ppa-1.10 goes to the distributions! Thanks.
The improvements should mean better quality image printing; There is also a new --dpi300 option for 300dpi pnm input.

Posted by Duncan 2002-07-11

ANNOUNCE: pnm2pa-1.10pre2 release

A new version of pnm2ppa (1.10pre2) with significant improvements (?) for printing images is released.
Please try it out if you are still using one of these
legacy HP PPA DeskJets. The new version
is a drop-in replacement for pnm2ppa-1.04. It now
consistently always prints Black ink on top of Color, never below, removing one reason for poor image quality in pnm2ppa-1.04.
Bidirectional printing is also improved, and a few obscure bugs that didnt affect most users are fixed. Reports from users, especially HP820C or HP1000C users, are very welcome.
The calibration program calibrate_ppa is also updated to work with pnm2ppa-1.10.... read more

Posted by Duncan 2002-06-10

New Documentation on Samba networking PPA printers

There is a new document on howto network PPA printers
with SAMBA (PPA-specific issues), See the
PPA_networking link on the
or get the tarball from the Documentation release

Posted by Duncan 2001-05-07

Mandrake 7.2 issues

Mandrake's 7.2 release now incorporates pnm2ppa (1.0) in the ghostscript package, rather than in a separate RPM.

To update to pnm2ppa-1.04 using the RPM from this site, you must use the "--force" option:

rpm --force -Uvh pnm2ppa-1.04-1.i386.rpm

This will update the pnm2ppa files.

Posted by Duncan 2000-11-15

Integration with the PDQ printing system (UPDATED AGAIN)

PDQ ("Print, Don't Queue) is s simple spool-free printing system that can replace the usual lpr spooler.

A PDQ driver for pnm2ppa (gs-pnm2ppa) is now available as an extra file pnm2ppa-pdq-0.08.tar.gz that accompanies the pnm2ppa-1.0 distribution. (In future releases, it will be distributed in the pnm2ppa tarball)

(UPDATED TO pnm2ppa-pdq-0.05, Sept 11)

(UPDATED TO pnm2ppa-pdq-0.08, Sept 13)... read more

Posted by Duncan 2000-09-11

Mandrake 7.1 issues

Some Mandrake 7.1 users report difficulties using Mandrake's DrakX or DrakConf tools to configure their PPA printer.

(specifically, they report that only the entry for the
HP DeskJet 1000 series (PPA) is shown)

In this case, use the "printtool" utility instead.

To start it just type (as root):


(If printtool fails to start correctly after you tried using DrakX or DrakConf, delete /etc/printcap , ... read more

Posted by Duncan 2000-08-04

Color Correction Utilities

Klamer Shutte's color-correction-1.0.tar.gz is available
as an alternative to ppagammacorrect. Look in
the color correction utilites section when you
"view all project files" (or get it from )

Posted by Duncan 2000-07-07

Mandrake 7.0 (or earlier) issues

(updated July 2000)

Some people have had problems installing pnm2ppa
on Mandrake 7.0 and earlier. These instructions will
help. They are NOT for Mandrake-7.1 (or later).

This is because of an older (non functional) attempt at
pnm2ppa support by Mandrake. (not present in Mandrake 7.1 or later).

To ensure a clean Mandrake-7.0 (or earlier) system before installing pnm2ppa-1.0:

(1) (as root) delete the old printer database:... read more

Posted by Duncan 2000-02-26