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[New] Native Printing Support in Firefox and Seamonkey

October 16, 2010 by Rich@E-vertise.Com

Native printing support is now available in new betas of Firefox and
Seamonkey. These betas are part of a project sponsored by Mensys to
provide full printing support in the Mozilla apps.

Firefox v4.0b8pre is available from:
Seamonkey v2.1b2pre is available from:

Printing Features
Native Support - all native printer drivers should work if their output
resolution is set to 360 DPI or less. If the resolution is set higher,
the app will attempt to reduce it to 300 or 360 DPI. Should that fail,
it will popup a 'Print to file' dialog and will create a PDF. See the
'Notes' section below additional info.

Postscript Support - Mozilla's built-in Postscript support can still be
used if needed. CUPS users may need to enable it if they are unable to
change their native driver's DPI setting. See 'Notes' below for details.

PDF Support - PDFs can be created by selecting 'Print to file', When
the file dialog appears, give the file's name a ".pdf" extension.

Other Features
Image Handling - an experimental feature in this beta eliminates native
handling of images (i.e. pictures, graphics, etc.). This _may_ reduce
the instability many users report after the browser has been open for
several days.

* Resolution has been limited to avoid excessive memory consumption.
At 300 DPI, a print job on A4- or Letter-sized paper uses about 32mb;
at 600 DPI, it requires 128mb. The 'Print to file' dialog appears
whenever a job needs more than 64mb.

* Memory use is controlled by the paper size and DPI settings, not the
number of pages. If you use a small enough page size (e.g. a CD-cover
or photograph sheet), you may be able to print at a higher resolution.

* To enable Mozilla's built-in Postscript support:
- enter "about:config" in the browser's address bar, press Enter
- click MB2 on any item in the preferences listing
- select 'New->Boolean' from the popup menu
- enter "print.os2.postscript.use_builtin" (no quotes), press OK
- select "true", press OK

To use the built-in support, you must select a printer associated with
a native PS driver. The driver won't actually be used - it simply acts
as a flag to tell Mozilla to produce PS output.

* CUPS users may find that the only resolution available is 1440 DPI.
To confirm this, open the printer's 'Job Properties' notebook to the
'Output' tab and look at 'Resolution'. If '1440' is the only value
listed, the PPD for this printer has no "*Resolution" entries. You
have two options:
- enable Mozilla's built-in Postscript support
- edit the PPD to add the entries, then import the PPD into the driver
(if you need instructions, please post a request in the newsgroups)

* In the current beta, initial memory use will appear to increase due
to the change in image-handling. Memory freed as images are discarded
will be reused by the browser but won't be released for system-wide
use. This will be fixed in the next version.

* A copy of this announcement is included in the zips as PRINTING.txt.

Rich Walsh

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