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Welcome to Gutenprint!

Gutenprint and Gimp-Print for Mac OS X (10.2 through 10.8 and later)

High quality printer drivers for Canon, Epson, Lexmark, and PCL printers.
For multi-function devices, the drivers only support the printer function.


Headlines

Gutenprint 5.2.10 is released!
May 20, 2014 - The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.10-, a stable release of 5.2. This release adds support for many new printers and other improvements over 5.2.9, but no longer supports OS X 10.3 or 10.4. NOTE: Users of many dye sublimation printers must follow a special installation procedure. Please read the release notes very carefully! See the Release notes for more detail. See the Downloads section for download links.

Gutenprint 5.2.9 is released!
July 7, 2012 - The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.9-, a stable release of 5.2. This release fixes a several bugs from 5.2.8. The main impact is for developers that link against the Gutenprint library. See the Release notes for more detail. See the Downloads section for download links.

Gutenprint 5.2.8 is released!
June 11, 2012 - The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.8-, a stable release of 5.2. This release provides a significant overhaul of the Canon driver. Eighteen Epson printeres have also been added. See the Downloads section.

Gutenprint 5.2.7 is released!
May 2, 2011 - The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.7,a stable release of 5.2. This release offers support for more than 80 additional printers from Canon, Epson, and Kodak. There are also some changes for other Epson printers. An updated uninstaller is included and available separately. See the Downloads section.

Gutenprint 5.2.6 is released!
August 12, 2010 - The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.6,a stable release of 5.2. This release offers additional support for Epson Stylus Pro printers, along with some changes for other Epson printers and support for additional Canon inkjets and PCL laser printers. See the Downloads section.

Gutenprint 5.2.6-pre1 is released!
July 19, 2010 - The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.6-pre1, a release candidate for the upcoming 5.2.6 release. This release offers several bug fixes, and support for additional EPSON Pro printers. See the Downloads section.

Gutenprint 5.0.2 is released!
January 3, 2008 - The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.0.2, a stable release in the Gutenprint 5.0 series. This release features full support for borderless printing on Epson inkjet printers, support for more Epson, Canon, and dye sublimation printers, and more. See the Downloads section.

Gimp-Print 4.2.7 is released!
July 14, 2004 - This is the last stable release of Gimp-Print in the 4.2.x series.


Support

Read the FAQ!

The Gutenprint FAQ for OS X answers most questions about Gutenprint and how to print in Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar.

Check the Forums

If your question about Gutenprint is not answered in the FAQ or in the documentation included with the installer your next stop should be the Gutenprint project forums.

If you are experiencing a problem that you believe may be a driver bug please check the bug tracker. If the problem you are facing is not listed in the installer disk documentation, the FAQ, the forums, or the bug tracker then you should file a support request against it. If there is a feature missing from Gutenprint that you would like to see added please file a feature request.

Downloads

Gutenprint 5.2.10
gutenprint-5.2.10a.dmg  (12.4 MB)

The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.10, a stable release of 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2.10 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.4 or below; it now requires 10.5 (Leopard) or higher.  (source code)

Gutenprint 5.2.9
gutenprint-5.2.9.dmg  (16.2 MB)

The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.9, a stable release of 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.2; it now requires 10.3 (Panther) or higher. This is due to a new library requirement (for the iconv library) that is not present in 10.2.  (source code)

Gutenprint 5.2.7
gutenprint-5.2.7.dmg  (14.5 MB)

The Gutenprint project is pleased to announce Gutenprint 5.2.7, a stable release of 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.2; it now requires 10.3 (Panther) or higher. This is due to a new library requirement (for the iconv library) that is not present in 10.2.  (source code)

Gutenprint 5.0.2
gutenprint-5.0.2-ub.dmg  (16.5 MB)

Gutenprint 5.0.2 is the latest release from the stable branch of Gutenprint 5.0. This release supports additional printers and offers some important bug fixes. It is fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.5.x (Leopard). The updated uninstaller is also included and is Mac OS X 10.5.x compatible. Mac OS X Jaguar users need ESP GhostScript for full support. ESP Ghostscript is not required for users running Mac OS X "Panther" or later.  (source code)

Gimp-Print 4.2.7
gimp-print-4.2.7-0.ppc.dmg  (5.9 MB)

Gimp-Print 4.2.7 is the last stable release of Gimp-Print version 4.2.x for Mac OS X; it includes 225 drivers supporting over 600 printers. The disk-image file includes an OS X installer package, an uninstaller package, plus illustrated documentation to easily guide you through the printer set-up process.  (source code)

Please note: Mac OS X Jaguar (10.2.x) users need ESP Ghostscript (see below); later versions of Mac OS X do not require this companion software!


Gutenprint Uninstaller
gutenprint-uninstaller-1.2.9.dmg  (801 KB)

The Gutenprint uninstaller will completely remove any version of Gutenprint/Gimp-Print that was installed with an official Mac OS X installer package provided by the Gimp-Print project. It will also remove the version of Gutenprint/Gimp-Print that is included by default with Mac OS X "Panther" (Mac OS X 10.3.x), Mac OS X "Tiger" (Mac OS X 10.4.x), Mac OS X "Leopard" (MacOS X 10.5.x), and Mac OS X "Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6.x).

ESP Ghostscript 7.07.1
espgs-7.07.1-0.ppc.dmg  (5.4 MB)

ESP Ghostscript (ESPGS) is an open-source PostScript interpreter derived from GNU Ghostscript. This package is required for users running Mac OS X "Jaguar" as it provides full support for printing from all "Carbon" applications. Gimp-Print users running "Panther" and later versions of Mac OS X do not require this software.  (source code)

Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta4 and later require Mac OS X Panther (10.3) or later! Gutenprint 5.0.2 and Gimp-Print 4.2.7 for Mac require Mac OS X Jaguar (version 10.2) or later!

 

Project Notes

Please visit our project page, which contains a lot more information about us!

Enjoy!

- The Gutenprint Project Team


News Items

Gutenprint 5.2.10 2014-05-21

Gutenprint 5.2.10 is a stable release of Gutenprint 5.2 This release adds support for many new printers (particularly dye sublimation and Canon inkjet printers and other improvements over 5.2.9. NOTE: Users of many dye sublimation printers must follow a special installation procedure. Please read the release notes very carefully!

  1. Expand printable area at the bottom of the page for the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 and 3880
  2. Add duplex support for the Epson WorkForce 630, 635, and 645, and NX635.
  3. Correct page dimensions for borderless printing with Canon inkjet printers.
  4. Add Catalan, Turkish, and Vietnamese translations.

Gutenprint 5.2.9 2012-07-07

Gutenprint 5.2.9 is a stable release of Gutenprint 5.2 This release fixes a several bugs from 5.2.8. The main impact is for developers that link against the Gutenprint library.

  1. This release fixes an inappropriate change to the internal library version number (.soname or equivalent) made in 5.2.8. All distributors should immediately apply this update to their distributions to avoid other software linking against libgutenprint breaking.
  2. Duplicate Transparency entries in the media types for Canon iP4100 and similar printers have been removed.
  3. The range of fine position adjustment of CD media has been increased for Epson printers.
  4. The German translation has been updated.
  5. Canon PIXMA Pro9000 plain media high quality mode bug fix.

Gutenprint 5.2.8 2012-06-11

Gutenprint 5.2.8 is a stable release of Gutenprint 5.2 The Canon driver has been significantly overhauled for this release, and output (and in some cases functionality) may be significantly different from previous releases. We expect to perform further work in future releases. Also, an additional eighteen new Epson printers has been added. For all the specific changes, please see the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.8-pre1 2011-12-28

Gutenprint 5.2.8-pre1 is a stable release of Gutenprint 5.2 This release has bug fixes, support for additional printers, and a few new features over 5.2.7.

  1. New printers supported in this release:

    Note that support for all printers marked "EXPERIMENTAL" (untested) or "PRELIMINARY" (minimally tested but untuned) is subject to change without notice. Printers not marked "EXPERIMENTAL" generally will not change between releases, but notice will be given and if possible back compatibility will be provided.

  2. A crash with the EPSON Stylus Photo R3000 has been fixed.
  3. Chinese (Mandarin), Galician, and Ukrainian translations have been added.
  4. (API) Added function stp_vars_copy_from() to override settings in one settings object with those in another.
  5. The following printer models were completely redefined or had major changes carried out in the supported modes:
  6. Support for the following printers was greatly improved, or tested:
  7. The following printer models were either not added, or removed, as they cannot currently be supported, even experimentally, owing to an as-yet unknown command format or other issues:
  8. Canon BJC series printers using photo cartridge have printing modes added that will select this cartridge.

Full details are listed in the release notes included with the download.

Gutenprint 5.2.7 2011-05-02

Gutenprint 5.2.7 is a stable release of 5.2 This release offers support for more than 80 additional printers from Canon, Epson, and Kodak. There are also some changes for other Epson printers.

  1. New printers supported in this release:

    Note that support for all printers marked "EXPERIMENTAL" (untested) or "PRELIMINARY" (minimally tested but untuned) is subject to change without notice. Printers not marked "EXPERIMENTAL" generally will not change between releases, but notice will be given and if possible back compatibility will be provided.

  2. Corrected color matching profile used for Mac OS X 10.5.x. sRGB will now be used instead of Generic RGB. Users with work-flows dependant on the previously used Generic RGB can select this color profile in the print window by using ColorSync to choose the profile rather than using VendorMatching.
  3. Add additional photo modes to Canon inkjet printers.
  4. Correct page size limit for EPSON Stylus Pro 7600, 7800, 7880, 9600, 9800, and 9880 (previously these printers had overly restrictive page limits).
  5. Correct printing to the EPSON Stylus NX200, NX215, SX200, SX205, SX210, and SX215.
  6. Corrected basic printer definitions of EPSON Stylus Pro 3800, 3880, 7800, and 9800.
  7. Corrected media definitions and improve printing quality for EPSON Stylus Pro 3800, 3880, 4800, 4880, 7800, 7880, 9800, 9880, 11800, and 11880. This will result in substantial changes in output; if this is an issue, please use the EPSON Stylus Pro 7600 or 9600 driver as appropriate. There are new printer definitions named "EPSON Stylus Pro 4800/4880 Back Compatible" and "EPSON Stylus Pro 11800/11880 Back Compatible" available for people with existing tuned workflows for those printers.

    There are no back compatibility modes for the EPSON Stylus Pro 3800 and 3880 as those printers were previously marked experimental with a note that their output was expected to change substantially.
  8. Allow EPSON Stylus Pro 3800 and 3880 to select matte and photo black ink automatically based on ink set choice (it is no longer necessary to set this on the front panel).
  9. Corrected base density for Photo Paper on printers using Claria ink (use 20% less ink). The default results in heavy ink puddling in some cases.
  10. Improved reliability of escputil.
  11. A problem whereby an attempt to use the the optional ink map curves (e. g. Cyan Hue Map) with the EPSON Stylus Photo R800, R1800, and R1900 would cause an error has been fixed.
  12. The Dutch and Italian translations have been updated.
  13. A Slovenian translation has been added.

Full details are listed in the release notes included with the download.

Gutenprint 5.2.6 2010-08-12

Gutenprint 5.2.6 is a stable release of 5.2 This release offers additional support for Epson Stylus Pro printers, along with some changes for other Epson printers and support for additional Canon inkjets and PCL laser printers.

  1. New printers supported in this release:
  2. Fix printing to Epson Stylus S20, S21, T20, and T21.
  3. Adjust printer definitions of EPSON Stylus Pro 7800 and 9800 (to use Ultrachrome K3 rather than Ultrachrome inks and media definitions). This may result in minor changes in color output; if you determine this to be an issue, use the 7600 or 9600 driver as appropriate or do not take this upgrade.
  4. Adjust the printer definitions of the Epson Stylus Pro 7880, 9880, and 11880 to be consistent with new definition of 4880 and use Ultrachrome K3 w/Vivid Magenta ink. This may result in minor changes in color output; if you determine this to be an issue, use the 7600 or 9600 driver as appropriate or do not take this upgrade.
  5. Correct printing on Epson Stylus Pro printers (x600, x800, and x880 series) to position images correctly on the page and to correctly cut the print in roll feed mode.
  6. Correct printer definitions of some Kyocera laser printers to specify tabloid-size (11.7x17) output.
  7. Correct printer definition of Canon ImageRunner 330s (large format).
  8. Add CD Allow Other Media Sizes option to Epson printers to permit printing to other media sizes when using third party trays.
  9. Correct the behavior of scan and page dry times for Epson Stylus Pro printers.
  10. A Finnish translation has been added.

Full details are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.6-pre1 2010-07-19

Gutenprint 5.2.6-pre1 is a release candidate for the upcoming 5.2.6 release. This release offers additional support for Epson Stylus Pro printers, along with some changes for other Epson printers. We particularly encourage users of the following printers to test this release:

Full details are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.5 2010-02-13

Gutenprint 5.2.5 is a release from the stable branch of Gutenprint 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.2; it now requires 10.3 (Panther) or higher. Notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.4:

Full details are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.4 2009-07-29

Gutenprint 5.2.4 is a release from the stable branch of Gutenprint 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.2; it now requires 10.3 (Panther) or higher. Notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.3:

Full details are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.4-rc1 2009-06-16

Gutenprint 5.2.4-rc1 is a release candidate from the stable branch of Gutenprint 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.2; it now requires 10.3 (Panther) or higher. Notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.3:

Full details are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.3 2008-12-22

The Gutenprint 5.2.3 release is a stable release of Gutenprint 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.2; it now requires 10.3 (Panther) or higher. Notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.2:

Full details are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.2 2008-11-16

The Gutenprint 5.2.2 release is a stable release of Gutenprint 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.2; it now requires 10.3 (Panther) or higher. Notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.1:

Full details are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.1 2008-10-21

The Gutenprint 5.2.1 release is the initial stable release of Gutenprint 5.2. Gutenprint 5.2 no longer supports Macintosh OS X 10.2; it now requires 10.3 (Panther) or higher. Notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.0-rc1:

Gutenprint 5.2.0-rc1 2008-10-05

The Gutenprint 5.2.0-rc1 (5.2.0.5) release is a release candidate of the forthcoming 5.2.x stable release. There are several notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta4:

Additional bug fixes and new features are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta4 2008-08-17

The Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta4 (5.2.0.4) release is the third beta release of the forthcoming 5.2.x stable release. There are several notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta3:

Additional bug fixes and new features are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta3 2008-06-15

The Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta3 (5.2.0.3) release is the second beta release of the forthcoming 5.2.x stable release. There are several notable changes since the Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta2:

Additional bug fixes and new features are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta2 2008-04-28

The Gutenprint 5.2.0-beta2 (5.1.98.2) release is the first beta release of the forthcoming 5.2 stable release. It brings together the work from the stable 5.0.x branch and the developemental branch 5.1.x. As of 5.2 and until further notice, Gutenprint will no longer deliver separate "development" and "stable" series. There are several notable changes since the previous releases:

Additional bug fixes and new features are listed in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.1.7 2008-03-05

Gutenprint 5.1.7 is a release of the developmental branch of Gutenprint 5.1. The 5.1.7 release supports additional printers and offers some important bug fixes along with additional features. The most important changes for Mac OS X users are:

Additional information can be found in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.1.6 2008-01-05

Gutenprint 5.1.6 is a release of the developmental branch of Gutenprint 5.1. The 5.1.6 release supports additional printers and offers some important bug fixes over 5.1.4 - the last Mac OS X developmental release. The most important changes are:

Additional information can be found in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.0.2 2008-01-03

Gutenprint 5.0.2 is a release of the stable branch of Gutenprint 5.0. The 5.0.2 release supports additional printers and offers some important bug fixes over 5.0.1. The most important changes are:

Additional information can be found in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.0.2-beta1 (5.0.1.98.1) 2007-12-17

Gutenprint 5.0.2-beta1 (5.0.1.98.1) is a beta release of the stable branch of Gutenprint 5.0. The 5.0.2-beta1 release supports additional printers and offers some important bug fixes over 5.0.1. The most important changes are:

Additional information can be found in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.1.4 2007-12-10

Gutenprint 5.1.4 is an incremental development release of Gutenprint 5.1. It is based on Gutenprint 5.0.0. The 5.1.4 release supports additional printers and offers some important bug fixes over 5.1.3. The most important changes are:

Additional information can be found in the release notes.

Uninstall Gutenprint 1.2.1 2007-12-02

Uninstall Gutenprint 1.2.1 is an update to the Gutenprint uninstaller for Mac OS X. This release can remove the Gutenprint drivers Apple supplies with the Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5.x) install disk. Also, the uninstaller will now provide the user with confirmation that shows what has been removed.

Gutenprint 5.1.3 2007-06-19

Gutenprint 5.1.3 is an incremental development release of Gutenprint 5.1. It is based on Gutenprint 5.0.0. This release to contain several bug fixes as described in the release notes. This release also fixes a problem with the Mac OS X 5.1.2 package. That package had an incorrect PPC portion of the libgutenprint.a file.

Gutenprint 5.1.2 2007-06-05

Gutenprint 5.1.2 is a development release of Gutenprint 5.1. It is based on Gutenprint 5.0.0. This is the first Mac OS X release to contain several new features described in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.0.1 2007-06-18

Gutenprint 5.0.1 is a stable release of Gutenprint 5.0. This is the first Mac OS X release to contain several new features described in the release notes.

Gutenprint 5.0.0 2006-07-30

Gutenprint 5.0.0 is the first stable release in the 5.x series. The changes between Gutenprint 5.0.0 and Gimp-Print 4.2 are described in the release notes.

Gimp-Print 5.0.0-beta2 2004-07-30

Gimp-Print 5.0.0-beta2 is the first beta release in the 5.x series. The changes between 5.0.0-beta2 and 5.0.0-beta1 are described in the release notes.

This is the version included with the distribution of Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger).

Please note that the behavior of the 5.0.0-beta2 Mac OS X installer for Gimp-Print is unchanged from 5.0.0-beta1.

Gimp-Print 5.0.0-beta1 2004-07-30

Gimp-Print 5.0.0-beta1 is the first beta release in the 5.x series. The changes between 5.0.0-beta1 and 5.0.0-alpha1 are too numerous to list here, so please see the release notes for more information.

Please note that as of 5.0.0-beta1 the behavior of the Mac OS X installer has changed. The installer will now permit Gimp-Print 4.2.x and Gimp-Print 5.0 to be installed simultaneously, so that printer queues may be created using either driver. If you do not wish to retain your existing installation of Gimp-Print 4.2.x simply click on the Customize button available on the last screen of the installer and check the box for "Gimp-Print 4.2.x Uninstaller"

Please also note that this release of the installer will update any existing 4.2.x printer queue for use with 5.0. If you wish to continue using Gimp-Print 4.2.x after installing 5.0 you will need to manually create a new printer queue, or use Print Center/Printer Setup Utility to change the driver. If you would like to comment on this installer behavior please send a polite note to the Gimp-Print developer mailing list!

Gimp-Print 4.2.7 2004-07-14

Gimp-Print version 4.2.7 contains the following improvements over Gimp-Print 4.2.6:

New Functionality:

  1. The Epson Stylus Photo R200/R210 and R300/R310 printers, and the RX500 and RX600 multi-function devices, are now supported. These printers have been properly tuned and are fully functional (except for direct printing to CD's). The Epson CX5300 and CX5400 multi-functional devices are also now supported as printers.
  2. The HP LaserJet 1012 and Brother HL-1440 printers are now supported.
  3. Super A0 and Super B0 paper sizes are now supported.
  4. Translations for Hungarian, Ukrainian, and Norwegian/Bokmaal have been added. In addition, other translations have been updated.

Major bugs fixed :

  1. Many Macintosh OS X users have reported problems of various kinds with USB-attached printers, including both native USB and parallel printers connected with USB-parallel printers. Symptoms reported include failure to print altogether, inability to print more than one page without rebooting or restarting the print system, and poor performance. These problems are not specific to Gimp-Print.

    We have released a replacement USB backend driver for Macintosh OS X 10.2 and higher that to the best of our knowledge fixes all of these problems. This driver, named "usbtb", is available on the project download site and more information about usbtb is available here. We recommend that all users of OS X 10.2 and above who are having printing problems with USB-attached printers try this driver. In addition to resolving these problems, this driver also also provides textual cues to the system printer queue window to walk the user through recovery from common error conditions, and it also provides ink level reporting for Epson and HP printers that support it.

    This replacement USB backend driver is not specific to Gimp-Print, and may be used with any USB-connected printer with any CUPS printer driver under OS X.
  2. (bug 907765) The CUPS driver now reports pages starting from page 1 rather than page 0 as was previously the case.
  3. (bug 919224) The Postscript output driver (in the GIMP plugin) now functions correctly in non-US locales when a PPD file is provided.
  4. (bug 919225) A segmentation violation on the IA64 platform is fixed.
  5. (bug 972014) A bug in the Postscript output driver causes the GIMP plugin to crash on startup with certain PPD files. This bug is not related to locale. At least certain PPD files from the Epson PIPS drivers are known to result in this problem.
  6. (bug 919226) The horizontal printing position on the Epson Stylus C63/C64 and C83/C84 printers has been fixed.
  7. (bug 613054) The CUPS driver now handles, via a workaround, incorrect Postscript generated by some programs. In certain cases, these programs result in the generation of single bit output, rather than 8-bit output as it should. The result was that Gimp-Print printed only a thin band of horizontally compressed output, and it may have crashed in some cases.

    The programs most commonly affected were Adobe InDesign 2.0 and psnup.
  8. (bug 924862) The package now operates correctly with on Solaris and other systems using an external libintl.
  9. (bug 929227) Gimp-Print no longer attempts to build (and fail) the Print plugin against the GIMP 2.0. This fix requires a special build procedure in some circumstances; please see item (10) under Exceptions and Workarounds below.
  10. (bug 855685) escputil now reports ink levels from all known Epson Stylus printers. In addition, ink level reporting is more reliable in general, with fewer timeouts or unparseable output.
  11. (bug 971832) The HP DesignJet 2500 and 3500 now support correct maximum page widths of 36" and 54" respectively, rather than 44" for both.
  12. (bug 971833) The PPD files now use the recommended manufacturer names. Previously, certain CUPS applications could display the manufacturer names incorrectly.

The History of Gimp-Print

The early years: Gimp-Print 3.x and 4.0

The predecessor to this software package (the original Print plugin for the GIMP) was first written by Michael Sweet of Easy Software Products and initially worked only as a print plugin to the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). In the summer of 1999, I purchased an Epson Stylus Photo EX printer to feed my photography hobby. Finding no existing printer drivers, I adapted Mike's GIMP Print plugin to this six-color printer, and by the end of the year released version 3.0 of the Gimp-Print software, which was included in version 1.1 of the GIMP. The intention was for this to be the stable plugin in version 1.2 of the GIMP while development of the GIMP Print plugin continued for later release.

I put the Gimp-Print development tree on SourceForge starting with version 3.1, and quickly found a group of like-minded people who wanted to print high quality output on inexpensive inkjet printers. One of the main goals, which was not expected to be met until late in the version 3.1 cycle, was to write a Ghostscript driver so that printing would not be restricted to the GIMP. Much to my surprise, someone wrote one within days! That gave me my first clue that the project was destined for greater things.

In July 2000, barely a year after I bought my Epson Stylus Photo EX, I was invited to the Linux Printing Summit hosted by VA Linux Systems. In preparation for that, I spent long hours printing out test images. I went back to the Gimp-Print version 3.0.9 release, which seemed like such an advance at the time, and was floored at how far the project had come in four months! Output that had been considered impressive with using six colors was put to shame by four color output. That should give you an idea what modern printing technology can do. It also illustrates what a group of committed people can do.

I came away from the Printing Summit with a lot of new ideas. Other people were busy adding new features and support for more printers, and in November 2000, we released Gimp-Print version 4.0, the culmination of 9 months of work by the team. The quality was already tremendously improved over what the software could do at the Printing Summit.

I knew at the time that Gimp-Print 4.0 had some serious limitations that would restrict what could be done. In particular, its color model was very restricted (it could only handle RGB and CMYK printers, possibly with light magenta and light yellow inks) and the code was still closely tied in with the Print plugin for the GIMP. I wanted to devise a new architecture for the next release that would allow us to take advantage of more printer capabilities and support improved color generation and dithering, but progress was slow. It took us a few months to fully stabilize Gimp-Print 4.0, and it became clear that our more ambitious goals weren't going to be achieved quickly. We decided to do an interim stable release based on improvements to the 4.0 codebase that would give us some breathing space while we worked on a new architecture.

Gimp-Print 4.2

The interim stable release was to become Gimp-Print 4.2. We used the numbering scheme adopted by the Linux kernel team, whereby stable releases were denoted by even numbers in the minor release (the "2" in 4.2) while odd numbers denoted unstable development releases. We were fortunate that Roger Leigh joined the project shortly after the Gimp-Print 4.0 release. Roger is a superb architect, and he quickly whipped the somewhat disorganized code base into shape. We spent most of 2001 cleaning up the code base, adding support for CUPS (by now, Mike Sweet had joined the project) and the nascent Foomatic metadata management project, improving the color generation and dithering code, and adding support for more printers. A lot of our work went into automatically generating the CUPS PPD files and Foomatic data; the project already supported about 200 printers with a large number of options, and writing all of this by hand would be tedious, error-prone, and unmaintainable. We spent most of the fall working on documentation, cleaning up bugs, and the like, and released Gimp-Print 4.2.0 in late November.

Anticipating that the next major release of Gimp-Print would be a more extensive project, we decided to branch the 4.2 release, and work on the next release (which would be either 4.4 or 5.0, depending upon how extensive the changes would be) while also releasing updates to 4.2. This would allow us to fix bugs and add new printers and perhaps minor new capabilities for users wanting a stable Gimp-Print release while making much more radical changes in preparation for the next release. We started work on Gimp-Print 4.3 (the development series that would eventually mature into the next stable release series) around the beginning of 2002.

The Gimp-Print 4.2 release proved to be far more successful than we ever imagined. First of all, it was wonderfully stable from the outset; it was to be over 4 months before we needed to release an update. We added one major new feature shortly after release, support for the new Ghostscript driver architecture based on HP's HPIJS driver. This driver architecture allowed drivers to be compiled independently of Ghostscript (previously drivers had to be compiled into Ghostscript, a somewhat daunting project for end users). We continued to add more printers, dither algorithms, and so forth, all without breaking compatibility with the initial 4.2.0 release.

2002 was a very exciting year for Gimp-Print. Apple had released OS X for the Macintosh and was planning to rely on a lot of free/open source software for key functions of the OS. In particular from our standpoint, many vendors had not updated printer drivers for OS X, and many did not want to update their drivers for older printers. Since OS X had settled on CUPS as the core of its printing system from 10.2 on, and Gimp-Print had full support for CUPS, the fit was very obvious and Gimp-Print wound up becoming part of the OS X printing system. We were very busy that year preparing for release of Gimp-Print for OS X. This was done in 4.2.2, which we released almost 9 months after the initial 4.2.0 release (which says something about the stability of Gimp-Print 4.2). This release created a lot of excitement in the OS X world and for us, and we did three more releases in quick succession culminating with Gimp-Print 4.2.5 in early 2003.

I was expecting that there would be one more release of Gimp-Print 4.2 that would primarily contain bug fixes and incremental support for new printers. By 2003, many of the printers being released had capabilities beyond what Gimp-Print 4.2 could support. I also expected that we would be ready to release Gimp-Print 4.4 or 5.0 within a year, so there wouldn't be a need for anything more. We released Gimp-Print 4.2.6 in early 2004. However, there were still some problems with that release, and we did one more release (4.2.7) in July 2004. This wound up being the final Gimp-Print 4.2 release.

Gimp-Print Becomes Gutenprint

In the meantime, work on Gimp-Print 4.3 was progressing, albeit rather slowly. We wanted to support the newest generation printers with tiny droplets, very high resolutions, and extra colors, in addition to adding color management and the possibility of supporting many more printer capabilities beyond the fixed set offered in Gimp-Print 4.2. In part due to all of the maintenance work on 4.2, and in part due to the natural tendency of people to move on to other projects, we made only slow progress on Gimp-Print 4.3. It was clear that we weren't going to release a next generation of Gimp-Print in 2002 or early 2003 as we hoped. However, the success of Gimp-Print 4.2 took some of the pressure off, because 4.2 was proving to be highly maintainable. We wanted the next generation of Gimp-Print to be more than just another incremental advance.

The core of the new parameter-based API, and hence of Gimp-Print 4.3, was in place by early 2003. By this time, 4.2 was slowing down, and work on our development tree was starting to pick up. We decided that the architectural and user experience changes were sufficient to name the next release 5.0, and I put together a plan for going to alpha in July and releasing 5.0 in November 2003. That was not to be.

We were doing new releases of 4.3 for intrepid adventurers every few weeks, with extensive changes continuing, and it was only in December that we finally felt ready to move to 5.0 alpha, which we released in January 2004. Progress was slow; there were still quite a few API changes we felt we needed to make, and there were still serious quality problems with many printers. In addition, new printers were being shipped with additional inks that we couldn't handle very well. We also had to adapt to other changes, such as GIMP 2.0 based on GTK+ 2.0, which was not backward compatible with GTK+/GIMP 1.2. We released Gimp-Print 5.0 beta in June with many improvements, but there were still quite a few things on our release checklist that weren't done.

Based on the popularity of Gimp-Print 4.2, we decided that it was very important that Gimp-Print 5.0 not interfere with the use of Gimp-Print 4.2. It was clear that the changes in 5.0 were too extensive to maintain compatibility in any useful way with 4.2, and a lot of people had incorporated 4.2 into their daily work, so we thought long and hard about how to make the CUPS and Foomatic interfaces not interfere with Gimp-Print 4.2.

It also became apparent that our ties to the GIMP had all but vanished by this point. We had actually squeezed all of the GIMP-related code out into a very small stub that was actually smaller than the original GIMP plugin! Furthermore, the Gimp-Print name was causing a lot of confusion among users; OS X users in parrticular were referring to Gimp-Print as "Gimp". We settled on the name Gutenprint, and renamed the project in the fall of 2004.

We were still in beta; progress was slow at this point, but we weren't satisfied with the results. We finally did our first release candidate in September 2005, over a year after we entered beta. We continued to move toward 5.0 release, but there was still a lot of cleanup work that needed to be done: printers needed to be retuned, PPD files needed to be validated, we needed to incorporate feedback from users that we only really started to get from the release candidates. There were a number of serious but subtle bugs with the CUPS and Foomatic interfaces that needed to be fixed in order to have a useful 5.0 public release.

In April 2006 I attended my second printing summit, this one hosted by Lanier, and spent three days working with many key players in the Linux/UNIX printing world. This was very productive; I got a lot of useful feedback on various issues and was able to raise issues important to Gutenprint. We released the third release candidate in May 2006, with a tremendous number of bug fixes and improvements, and this finally felt like a real release candidate. We received extensive feedback from this release, and fixed other problems and made some other changes to improve quality.

Unfortunately, we didn't accomplish all of our goals for Gutenprint 5.0. We have not incorporated true color management; our Postscript output driver in the GIMP plugin (and indeed, the GIMP plugin itself) is still in need of a rewrite; the drivers other than the Epson driver haven't been fully updated to take advantage of the capabilities of Gutenprint 5.0. However, these changes can be made later, either in later 5.0 releases or in the next release series. Gutenprint is not "finished" and never will be!


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