Home > Windows > Inside Windows Vista Printing Inside Windows Vista Printing Eugenia Loli 2005-11-18 Windows 44 Comments Channel9 recently visited the Vista Print team and learned about the new Print stack in Vista and took a tour of the team and the lab where print testing happens. The 1-hour WMV video is 228 MB. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 44 Comments 2005-11-18 11:41 pm ma_d Printing just isn’t sexy enough for a 228MB download. Well, if I was at University right now, the 5 minute download would be good; but on this DSL line…. Besides, the last big channel 9 video was way over compressed and awfully long.. 2005-11-18 11:45 pm roguelazer Basically, Vista printing will be exactly like printing on a PostScript printer via a Mac, except it will be on an “XPS” printer on a PC. “XPS” even sounds suspiciously like “PS”, and uses XAML (their XML language for designing UIs). Anybody who’s ever used a true PostScript printer on a PostScript-capable app (not just a Mac) should not be surprised. 2005-11-18 11:56 pm ma_d So, Windows doesn’t currently use a ps based print system? Please don’t tell me they have their own thing… 2005-11-19 12:02 am They do have their own thing — they have to, for all the consumer-level non-PostScript printers out there. I believe that Windows does do PostScript natively as well if your printer supports it, though. 2005-11-19 12:35 am ma_d I think you have the chicken and egg switched around … 2005-11-19 12:17 am roguelazer PCL. Printer Control Language. It’s what most of the POS printers out there use, and it’s Windows’ favorite printing language… It’s like PostScript, except without any of the features or quality. 2005-11-19 12:01 am Obviously it’s not exactly like it, because they DID compare an effect-laden XPS print-out to a printout of the same document on a PostScript printer, and the PostScript looked like ass. 2005-11-19 1:34 am modmans2ndcoming sorry, but it looked like ass because they made it look that way. PDF is a subset of PS and PDF does not look like ass. 2005-11-19 3:03 am Well obviously there are some benefits to XPS, because I just don’t see there being a massive Microsoft conspiracy here to undermine PostScript. Do the people in the video *look* like conspirators? 😉 2005-11-19 9:49 am rayiner No conspiracy necessary. Simply a NIH syndrome on the part of Microsoft. The people in the video look like geeks — they are as prone to NIH syndrome, perhaps more prone to it, as anyone else. 2005-11-19 4:06 pm segedunum Do the people in the video *look* like conspirators? 😉 Hmm. They’re from Microsoft, they want their own thing. Yes, they most certainly do. 2005-11-19 7:10 pm Uh oh, go put on your aluminum foil cap and compile a kernel! 2005-11-19 5:01 pm “Well obviously there are some benefits to XPS, because I just don’t see there being a massive Microsoft conspiracy here to undermine PostScript. Do the people in the video *look* like conspirators? ;-)” Then…what are the obvious benifits besides ‘not being Adobe’s PDF’? 2005-11-19 7:10 pm WATCH … THE … VIDEO … I can’t say that enough. f–k. 2005-11-19 3:15 am somebody Obviously it’s not exactly like it, because they DID compare an effect-laden XPS print-out to a printout of the same document on a PostScript printer, and the PostScript looked like ass. Nah, they just showed you what they wanted you to believe. And obviously you’re enough big fool to fall for it. If Postscript would look like ass, how do you think complete DTP works. All the magazines, books, billboards, … All in Postscript. Everything you read in these days. And then there’s PDF. PDF is a subset of postcript. Ever seen any PDF that looks like ass for quality? (and please take out designer faults) 2005-11-19 8:26 pm CPUGuy I think the printout must have come from a PCL printer. 2005-11-20 1:52 am Basically, Vista printing will be exactly like printing on a PostScript printer via a Mac, except it will be on an “XPS” printer on a PC. “XPS” even sounds suspiciously like “PS”, and uses XAML (their XML language for designing UIs). Anybody who’s ever used a true PostScript printer on a PostScript-capable app (not just a Mac) should not be surprised. Well, I’m not surprised you said that. Microsoft IS copying Apple now. Beta versions of Vista is a clear indication of this. 2005-11-19 12:31 am Buck A new PRINTING STACK?? Give me a break! This is 2005! Can they surprise us with anything but PRINTING? And I could care less if they use XAML XML MML XPS or anything if all they care about is adding some effects here and there… After all performance surely won’t improve given all the additional strain this stuff is going to put onto the computer. 2005-11-19 12:33 am Why don’t you just watch the video, and until then, STFU? Friggin’ clueless troll. 2005-11-19 12:45 am rm6990 Yep, I agree he is a troll. And I’m going to mod you up for your comment. But should you really be calling people trolls, with a name like yours? 2005-11-19 1:05 am My name might be a troll, but most of my posts are not. 😛 2005-11-19 7:15 am StephenBeDoper Indeed. You’re nowhere near subtle enough to ever truly be considered a troll. More like a contrarian who has chosen a particuarly tiresome way to make a point about all the mindless “lols, MS is teh stupid” kiddies around here. 2005-11-19 3:55 pm Thanks. 😀 I never thought of myself as a contrarian, but I’m all about the tiresome point-driving! 2005-11-19 2:15 am DigitalAxis If you weren’t living under a rock you would know that Microsoft is putting a lot of work into the flashy (Avalon) and the secure (DRM up the wazoo). This article is nice because it shows Microsoft is actually serious enough about improvements to improve stuff nobody ever thinks of. 2005-11-19 7:23 pm Kroc I only hope they up date the Print Queue in windows, I don’t think it has been imrpoved since Windows NT4. You can’t re-order, pause individual items or _anything_. It should win an award for oldest code still in windows. 2005-11-19 12:49 am “The 1-hour WMV video is 228 MB” I’d rather spend my time squeezing half digested bits of spoiled cabbage out through cookie cutters over my anus than watch any video about Windows. 2005-11-19 1:34 am Your name shapes expectations, and in doing interferes with the readers mind and ability to process comments. It’s a shallow and manipulative game you’re playing to get attention and wave your hands around as if you’re innocent. If you were an interface, you wouldn’t pass the usability tests. I would, without hesitation or regret, ban you permanently until you understood and accepted this. That you haven’t been by now suggests that OS News doesn’t really understand the issues relating to moderation, nor how to deal with it, and many of the difficulties they experience will continue unless they become similarly enlightened. – CultureShock 2005-11-19 9:44 am chris_dk I agree. Linux is Poo should be banned. Wake up OSNews! 2005-11-19 9:55 am rayiner Your name shapes expectations, and in doing interferes with the readers mind and ability to process comments. Only if the reader is incapable of higher-levevl thought. I would, without hesitation or regret, ban you permanently until you understood and accepted this. Poo is just expressing himself. He’s doing it in an immature, crass manner, but being immature shouldn’t be a reason for getting banned. 2005-11-19 2:14 am rain I’m still downloading the video so I can’t comment on that one yet, but I found the first comment really amusing. “Seeing all these wonderful and spectacular features in Windows Vista makes Windows XP seem just that much worse. There were many limitations I didn’t know about.” Talk about creating a need. If he didn’t know about those limitations (and obviously didn’t have any problems with them) then why would he be so obsessed about solving them? It’s classic. 2005-11-19 3:59 am somebody Well, anyone knowing PDF will not be impressed and will probably just waste 1 hour as I did. In short MS reinvents now ICC, PDF and PS (oh yes, and hyperlinks like PDF ouldn’t have them already). One could say, reimplementation of what PDF was in year 2000. For all that were impressed with how PS looked bad. Yes, it did. They intentionaly used transparencies (and forced them native into printer). Transparencies are not supported with PS (and not because they would be something special, but for two different reasons. Backward compatibility and because PDF was planned to be used for this), they should always be interpretted in RIP. In case you want to use transparencies you need to use PDF 1.5 (Acrobat v5 or higher) and use that file to print (Every RIP these days supports PDF natively). Complete printing industry is following this standard. In fact this solution is not improvement. More like other way around Last thing anyone would want to see is that every printer would implement transparencies and other rich features by it self. One could never control output from device to device. Even these days this is a problem. Well, now the problem is mostly with colors (and no, the palette shown in the movie has nothing to do with that. Every company just uses different colors that mix differently (this is not going to change ever), and XPS would add additional factor to variability, it would mean that every printer havnig its own methods for rasterization, meaning something you print at home doesn’t mean something being printed out somewhere else. It is much better and more controlable if software is rendering down to native printer format). p.s. I’m not saying that all is bad. Software rendering exists even in current spec they presented. Bad thing was their Xerox printer with native XPS, which means native rendering capabilities probably. 2005-11-19 6:53 am Marcellus And why is it bad that the printer supports XPS natively? Isn’t it then bad if printers support PS or PDF natively as well? 2005-11-19 7:10 am smitty I believe this was made quite clear in the post you responded to. It moves many of the features currently done in software to hardware, which means that the software can no longer guarantee what the output will look like. You might get very different results by printing the same document on two different printers. Of course, you can already do that with a low quality vs high quality printer, but he thinks that this would become more common. 2005-11-19 9:12 am Marcellus Let’s see here. He thinks that software rendering to native printer format is better. That would be done in the printer driver itself, as there is no way that any software can keep track of all possible native formats. An XPS printer might render XPS natively or internally convert to a “native” format. Which means the “driver” logic has just been moved from the OS to the printer. In what way is it bad to do it this way? It’s pretty much like PostScript with the difference that we’ll get this technology down into cheaper printers as well, whereas PostScript printers are expensive. 2005-11-19 6:31 pm somebody Let’s see here. He thinks that software rendering to native printer format is better. That would be done in the printer driver itself, as there is no way that any software can keep track of all possible native formats. Yes, it is. And I support enough of agencies to be sure in that. An XPS printer might render XPS natively or internally convert to a “native” format. Which means the “driver” logic has just been moved from the OS to the printer. That wouldn’t be bad if rendering would be THE SAME on all printers. Hell, they can’t support even as simple layer as PS and you hope that layer as complex as XPS will be better. Even with PS you have to take tradeoffs to get the result. In what way is it bad to do it this way? Read my previous post when I answered your parent post. All I can say is that you have too much faith in life. It’s pretty much like PostScript with the difference that we’ll get this technology down into cheaper printers as well, whereas PostScript printers are expensive. Any printer could support PS too. And why it doesn’t? Well, simple fact. Printer that prints complex language demands RAM and better processor with optional spooling storage. Not because PS would be expensive, but simply because power and hardware needed to process it is expensive. Here is a simple example for you. Take 29.7×21 cm 600dpi CMYK picture (and this is just A4 on just 600dpi) in photoshop for example. Look at how much RAM PS suddenly consumed (137 MB is just a start). Now paste another picture with alpha bleeding on a secondary layer. Look at RAM. Do few of these operations. And then try to think as you did. Now, why do you think cheap printers print in RAW format? Because no RAM is needed (ok there a little of it used for internal spooler), no processing power is needed (you don’t need Cray to read little memory block) and computer acts as spooler. They just get lined up pixels and they print them accordingly. Cheap printer, cheap material. Which means, cheap XPS printers are just your pipe dream. But as technology always gets cheaper and faster, it might just come to the moment where every printer would be sufficient for PS or XPS task. And I think that PS not being as complex as XPS will have that sufficient layer sooner 2005-11-19 5:57 pm somebody And why is it bad that the printer supports XPS natively? Isn’t it then bad if printers support PS or PDF natively as well? First remember I’m talking about hardware supporting rich subset and not bashing XPS. For sure there will be option to print XPS the way you print PDF. Reasons are backward compatibility and fact that all printers don’t and won’t support XPS. And MS just can’t create such stupid mistake as it would be to try to enforce XPS. Which would make problem solved as soon as you don’t install XPS driver, and you install PS, HPGL or RAW driver instead. You simply force OS to avoid all the troubles named in actual answer. p.s. Off course if OS would autodetect XPS support and enforce it, it wouldn’t do you any good. Now the answer to your question: Well, yes and no. Printer does support PS, but not PDF. PDF should never be supported by any hardware. It is far too complex. This is why PS does not support transparencies and other rich features. To ensure better compatibility and better output. Imagine it like this: – you have two vendors – they both have their own hardware processing of rich features. The world just spinns this way. Their tendency is to get cheaper product and this excludes licensing of some algorithms just to be more compatible. – math they used to print transparency (and other rich subset) is their own, meaning for sure different than the one other company provides – they both use their own colors (which don’t differ only from one company to another but also within company), and if printer is doing the correction, one could never be sure that one math is just the same as another This is why one XPS printer will always print differently than another Same goes for PDF you can say. No. This is why PDF as a rich set is not supported by printers natively. – PDF is rasterized on computer. – Computer should correct colors you set up for your printer and do the fancy math – What you have now is a simple sigle layered picture that was prepared for your (and yours only) printer and this one prints Ok. You in fact printed RAW or PS compiled for your printer. – Now you take same PDF to another place. – If they calibrated their printer the result will be similiar at least in color – If you used the same RIP processing software on both places, math will be the same. Meaning all rich functions will be calculated the same way. But this time RAW or PS is prepared for another printer and this printer will print basically the same printout as you did. Hope this is understandable. Problem is that more features means more differencies where hardware vendors will take different approach (and almost in 100% support will never be complete). The same thing is going in PS language too. Even now. And how many years have passed? They can’t support a simple PS and you hope that they will support XPS as complex as it is? World is going from bad to worse now, isn’t it? Ok, so even PS differs from one HW vendor to another. What now? Well, there is a tradeoff. For example DTP people often use the same Linotype or Scitex drivers (again they use the older and more established approach) that belong to older machines and are fully supported by almost any known Software or Hardware used in printing. 2005-11-19 6:51 pm Marcellus Where to begin… First, there are printers out there that natively support PDF (at the least, some of the HP printers do). Second, gradients and transparency are part of PostScript 3 afaik. Now, if printer manufacturers can implement this and get proper output with PostScript 3 I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be able to do the same with XPS. I don’t expect to see DTP or other professional areas of work move over to XPS. Add some support maybe, but not move. For consumers however, I can only see this as a good thing. PostScript printers are in general more expensive than their non-PostScript counterparts, which I believe is more due to license costs rather than the extra hardware needed, but from what I understand XPS won’t have this license cost associated with it, so I believe that XPS can bring PostScript-like features to the consumer range of printers. 2005-11-19 9:08 pm somebody Second, gradients and transparency are part of PostScript 3 afaik. Only partial transparencies functions, read the fine print:) And almost everybody avoids using them in postscript, it is just easier to be sure in output and preprocess and proof with software than be surprised with hardware. Now, if printer manufacturers can implement this and get proper output with PostScript 3 I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be able to do the same with XPS. When did I ever said they can’t? I just noted that printers with such capabilities can’t be cheap. I don’t expect to see DTP or other professional areas of work move over to XPS. Add some support maybe, but not move. For consumers however, I can only see this as a good thing. It is bad thing. It is just one more standard (to get the same result you could five years ago) not supported everywhere. Windows printer != Printer. Just as WinModem != Modem. But, I’m prepared to eat my words if MS makes this format interchangeable with other non-Windows platforms or at least documents whole thing so people can make their own implementation without licensing restrictions. Look from this side. My clients are 60-35-5% (win-linux-osx). Now what if customers start sending XPS. Who will open them? None windows computer will migrate on Vista at least 1.5 year after release. Linux is just eating share of Windows, while OSX is needed for compatibility in some jobs. No benefit, just troubles. At least for me. PostScript printers are in general more expensive than their non-PostScript counterparts, which I believe is more due to license costs rather than the extra hardware needed, but from what I understand XPS won’t have this license cost associated with it, so I believe that XPS can bring PostScript-like features to the consumer range of printers. license costs? No, in fact it is very cheap for a printer maker. Problem is that hardware isn’t. You believe wrong. Just look at the printer accesories prices. 2005-11-19 10:45 pm Marcellus Some legalese about XPS at http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/xpslicense.mspx While there may be certain licenses (GPL) that conflict with MS license for XPS, there are (as far as I can tell) enough other licenses (BSD) to allow free implementations of it. As for printer accesory prices… I really want to know how they can charge so much for RAM and other upgrades. 2005-11-20 6:30 pm somebody While there may be certain licenses (GPL) that conflict with MS license for XPS, there are (as far as I can tell) enough other licenses (BSD) to allow free implementations of it. Thanks, but it is not really reassuring. My thinking is based on a simple math. – MS history of closed hidden features. – MS products never respect the definitions, yet their things still work (like ie css bug). Other are kept in the darkness – Time to implement this format to the rate of success, since the original vendor doesn’t have plans to do it so – Time for this implementation (other non-original parties) to start – Problem on the fact that it depends on underlaying closed MS technology (as in WMF and Avalon) One would need to implement those two before XPS to start ripping features in its original form. As for printer accesory prices… I really want to know how they can charge so much for RAM and other upgrades. Math is simple in fact. Put your self in place of hardware vendors thinking. As soon as XPS, PS or PDF printer is used printer will have to assume the job that computer does for dummy devices. You will need eough processing power to process up to 1-2 GB of data (with larger formats) and up to .5GB for smaller. Now, this data has to reside in printer. This will be done by either enough memory or HDD (or both). And here are the variables for you to calc this math 1. There are two possible approaches, with standard parts or non-standard parts. If vendor uses standard parts, he looses revenue on those. In case of non-standard parts he kept his monopoly over accesories. 2. In case of choosing monopoly. Well, standard factor greed. Set the accesories prices much too high. Why? People will start buying expensive models by default. For example HP 5550. Take 5550 model and 5550dtn model. One has no accesories at all, other is equiped with hdd, duplexer, more ram and network. Now add accesories prices to the simple model to achieve the same features. Watch price. 3. Human factor (this is a strange one). People buying better models (and when they know they are buying more expensive model) feel more assured when they pay more. This works as long as they see the benefits of paying more (that would be nr. 2) 4. Relaying on the other human factor which leads people to believe that the thing (when they need something better) is expected to be something expensive (but not suspecting nr. 2) 5. Smart accesories dependancies. For example. HP5550 has internal icc function, but can’t be employed without a disk. disk has much worster performance if less ram… I hope that you understand now why XPS will mean zilch. It is just one more feature that vendors can make even more expensive. But why would a hw vendor not make a proffit if he can? (and just by using psychology and marketing factors) It often helps to look at the world (or any problem) upside down. Something not apparent from one side can be a real no brainer just looking from the other side. And applying more sides just gets you a better viewpoint. For example, I use this for coding (at least when I’m coding vital parts). Analyze problem, solve it. Take apart the solution (eveen though it works) and rebuild it from the other side. 3rd solution is often the last one (but I achieved nr. 17 once). You’ve now seen upsides, downsides and problems from both sides (and with every new side more variables become constants and apparent) and you probably already know the solution. This way You can be sure everything will fit into any plans and work best. It often helps looking at the other solutions to watch the problems. You’re probably bound to meet them. btw. This kind of thinking is also know as conspiracy theory, except that I use it for a completely different purposes:) 2005-11-19 4:40 pm I usually enjoy the channel 9 videos but I agree this one was misleading. They purposely made ugly prints from postscript and then glossed over why they came out so bad compared to their format. ‘Ours is better’ is not adequate. You CAN make great prints from PDF. It’s dishonest, not informative and pure marketting to not explain it more in depth. Of course, not surprisingly, there was one of Microsoft’s evangelists surveying the whole presentation. When asked what’s so great about XPS compared to other formats they only have 2 rather weak points. 1) Better transparency and gradients. 2) It’s in XML Does that really warrant a whole new file format ? Does that make my life any better having this new file format for document exchange but that’s constrained to a single platform ? XML is great but isn’t it a bit verbose for this ? PDFs already get too large to be practical at times. No, no, no… I don’t want more confusion, lock-in and mess added to the different formats, supporting hardware and platforms for printing. Right when most apps are conforming to PDF output! The 3 years following vista’s release are not going to be fun. 2005-11-19 7:46 pm Poo is just expressing himself. He’s doing it in an immature, crass manner, but being immature shouldn’t be a reason for getting banned. I’m not judging what he posts by some abstract idea of what’s inside the black box. I’m judging by cause and effect. The name Linux Is Poo is guaranteed to shape perceptions, and misdirect thinking. Yes, people have a responsibility to manage their own thoughts, but that doesn’t remove excuses for the first cause. What people post and how they respond is easy to shape with a sound editorial and comments policy that’s ruthlessly enforced, and no different in nature than following HCI guidelines. Rather than let any side dictate the agenda, OS News should put some careful consideration into this then make it happen. Whatever his excuses, Linux Is Poo is a troll, if you define troll by the maturity of their behaviour. By confession he’s a vigilante. This is never a solution to anything. If the bulk of stupid can’t be persuaded to change, OS News should begin suspending or banning centrally. Whether by consensus or decree, order and harmony must be maintained. 2005-11-19 11:00 pm Look from this side. My clients are 60-35-5% (win-linux-osx). Now what if customers start sending XPS. Who will open them? None windows computer will migrate on Vista at least 1.5 year after release. Linux is just eating share of Windows, while OSX is needed for compatibility in some jobs. http://blogs.msdn.com/andy_simonds/archive/2005/10/31/487487.aspx You don’t need Vista to open, read, or create XPS documents. Support will be available on Windows 2000 and up, Mac, Linux, and Unix. 2005-11-20 3:18 pm Kroc and reading XML is beyond the power of Windows NT4, 95, 98 and ME then? Usual bullshit Microsoft I see.