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Epson / Snow Leopard Woes

By Mark Dubovoy

I usually like to work with state of the art tools.  Add to that having a teenage son that loves technology, and you will immediately understand why I was doomed to upgrade to the latest Apple operating system “Snow Leopard” the second it was available.

After doing a totally painless upgrade, I discovered that the driver for my Epson Stylus Pro 9900 was not working.  I was really surprised, because everything I had read before seemed to indicate that there should have been no problem.  Unfortunately, my printer was completely unresponsive. 

I went to the Epson site, and in the Snow Leopard support section I discovered that I needed to install Rosetta first (which I did) and then download and install their driver version 6.55.  The instructions on the site are confusing, but they appear to imply that there is no native driver for OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, and that using Rosetta is a temporary patch.

After doing all that, my printer started to respond, but badly.  I could not choose any of my custom settings.  The printer was not responding to the Remote LFP Panel.  Furthermore, tons of features were absent, such as printing at 2880 resolution, controlling the ink density, certain paper types, etc.

The worst part was that no matter what I chose in the page setup, the printer would print an almost black print that looked like a highly enlarged section (about 10X) of the lower left part of my image.  It would also leave two huge blank spaces (roughly a third of the size of the paper) on the left and the bottom and then print from there going towards the right and the top.

I decided to call Epson at this point, but as luck would have it, this happened after working hours last Friday, and the Epson customer support lines were already closed.

What could I do?  Nothing other than wait until Monday.

Serendipitously, a senior Apple executives and his family were coming over to my house socially on Sunday morning. The topic of Snow Leopard came up, and I told him about my problem with the Epson 9900.  I must say that I have never seen anyone jump on something this quickly.  By early afternoon on Sunday he already had the Apple Snow Leopard team working on this.

On Monday morning I called Epson Preferred Support. The Epson technician was superb.  Quick, smart, and knew exactly what to do. They had already seen the problem before my call. She had me uninstall the printer first and then she had me uninstall the Epson LFP Panel.  After emptying the trash, she had me re-install the printer, verify that Rosetta was installed, verify that the driver (6.55) was installed and after that we downloaded the LFP Panel 2 from the Epson site and re-installed it after we tested the printer driver for proper operation..

This procedure fixed all the problems.  My 9900 is now operating normally.

All I can say is that Epson support did a superb job of addressing and fixing the problem  very quickly.

The purpose of this short “news alert” is twofold:

First, it is to inform other folks that these kinds of problems may occur, and that the procedure above should resolve the issue.

More importantly, I have just received an email from the Apple executive with some news that I believe are important to all Epson/Apple users:

- Rosetta is required for the installation of the driver for the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 because of the old Vise installation software that Epson uses, not because of the driver itself. The driver for the 9900 is actually a native Snow Leopard driver. That’s good news!

- In the past, Epson has never provided the drivers for these large format printers to be included in a Mac OS X install, customers always had to get them again from Epson after installing a new OS. 

Apple’s reaction is as follows (this is a direct quote from the email): “Based on your experience we are going to change that. We are working with Epson to also get these native Epson large format printer drivers on our new Snow Leopard servers so that customers can get them directly from Apple and not need Rosetta to install them. It should make the experience a lot better for everyone going forward.

Thank you for pointing this out and helping us with it.

All I can say is big Kudos to Apple! 

September, 2009

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Mark Dubovoy is a Scientist, Venture Capitalist and Photographer. He is a contributor to this site and to other Photographic publications. His photographs can be found in private collections and in the permanent collections of several major museums in the United States, Mexico and Japan. Mark holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from UC Berkeley.


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Concepts: Mac OS X, QuickTime, Operating system, Mac OS, IMac, Printer driver, Time Machine, Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Entities: Apple, Epson, printer driver, Rosetta, Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, Michael Reichmann

Tags: Epson, Snow Leopard, Epson Stylus Pro, LFP Panel, Epson site, large format printer, Rosetta, printer drivers, Epson Preferred Support, Epson LFP Panel, apple executive, Epson customer support, Epson large format, Epson technician, Snow Leopard support, Snow Leopard driver, Epson support, Apple Snow Leopard, Snow Leopard servers, os 10.6 snow, Remote LFP Panel, senior apple executives, huge blank spaces, customers, certain paper types, old vise installation, native driver, driver version, latest apple, painless upgrade, temporary patch, teenage son, ink density, Monday morning, superb job, Sunday morning, proper operation, black print, page setup, Mac OS