SPUG: Using Perl to drive a USB printer without Mac-specific drivers

Michael R. Wolf michaelrwolf at att.net
Tue May 26 15:08:32 PDT 2009


Thanks for the cover article in "The Perl Review" ("Dymo Printers from  
Perl", pg 16; Vouume 5, Issue 2; http://www.theperlreview.com/SamplePages/ThePerlReview-v5i2.p16.pdf) 
.  It was very timely for me.  As a relatively new MacBook convert, I,  
too, had to forego automated printing on a similar, specialty USB  
printer.  My Brother PT-1950 is a USB printer that prints tape (9mm,  
12mm, 18mm) for all kinds of labeling jobs.  It used to have complete  
"applications" for printing from MSFT XP, but there aren't even any  
drivers for use in OS X.

It annoyed me that Brother explicitly has no plans to provide OS X  
drivers.  I feel the "oh-so-mid-80's pain" that Richard Stallman must  
have felt as his request for printer specs drove him to start launch  
the Free Software Foundation.  RMS's itch is similar to the one you  
documented in your how-to-scratch article in TPR, and the itch I'm  
feeling.  Perl feels like the right tool to bridge the gap.

While reading your article, it was unclear to me how you learned the  
interface spec for the Dymo LabelWriter you mentioned in your  
article.  Perhaps it was more "open" than the printer I'm using.

Do you have any technical suggestions for how to reverse engineer my  
printer as a black-box, or any suggestions for how to put a "wire tap"  
on the USB to learn enough to drive it?

If I figure it out, I'll certainly let you know in case you'd like to  
publish it as a follow-up.

Michael Wolf

Michael R. Wolf
     All mammals learn by playing!
         MichaelRWolf at att.net

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