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Ricoh abadon’s its RPCS print driver

June 12, 2009

I hear that Ricoh has discontinued work on Refined Printing Command Stream (RPCS) technology:

Like Ricoh’s Desktop Binder, RPCS was Ricoh’s attempt to create its own product to differentiate its products from the competition, however, Based on its current economic situation Ricoh has decided not spend any more research & development funds on either project. RPCS was advertised a new, innovate print driver, supposedly a better option than PCL or PostScript (true marketing hype).

The truth is both products were sub-standard. I say this from first hand experience, because I have personally supported both the Ricoh RPCS print driver and Desktop Binder. The difference between the two is at first glance I knew that Ricoh’s Desktop Binder was a poor imitation of either eCopy’s Desktop or Nuance’s Paperport. But the base version was free, so I guess you get what you pay for.

The RPCS driver on the other hand showed real promise, promise that unfortunately was never realized. When I first saw the Ricoh RPCS driver I thought that this is pretty cool! It is icon driven. If you wanted to do a double sided staple print job you had an icon for that. If you had an even more complex job like a report that you ran every Friday you could set up all the complex settings (landscape, double sided, top edge binding, staple in the upper left corner, and 9 sets) and you could save all those settings and give it a cool looking icon and even a name like “Friday’s Report”. Now every time that you want to print that report you just have to click on that icon named “Friday’s Report” and it will print with all of the correct settings, isn’t that great! Well it would be, if it worked, the only problem was that it didn’t work, at least not reliably.

The truth of the matter was even Ricoh’s Tech support recommended that you didn’t use the RPCS driver if the customer wanted to load it on a Print Server and download it to their work stations. For the record let me say that this made the RPCS driver all but unuseable. Can you imagine a modern print diriver that had to be loaded locally on each and every PC? Why? because the RPCS driver was flakey, poorly written. My persoanl favorite behavior was sometimes when you pushed it down from a print server to a work station and all of the cool icons would disappear and you would have to reinstall the RPCS driver to get them back, only to have it happen again. That was great! Network Admins loved that….Not! And Ricoh’s Tech Support had no solution, no explanation, only a disclaimer “we don’t recommend that you load the RPCS driver on a Print Server”.

So it is probably in all of our best interest that Ricoh has run out of money to support these two sub standard technologies. no one is really going to miss them. they never really worked well anyway.  Now Canon is the only traditional MFP vendor still producing a host-based driver, called Ultra Fast Rendering (UFR). The original UFR driver wan’t great, but the newer UFR II driver is considerably better, it even works on both the PC and MAC OS X platforms. It may not be as robust as PCL or Postscript but it is one of the only inexpensive printing option and unlike Ricoh’s RPCS technology, it actually works.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@yahoo.com

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22 comments

  1. I think you are way off base if you dont like the rpcs driver. i resisted it at first. The RCPS driver worked almost flawless when used and setup properly. The biggest problem with network admin removing and not installing or setting up the driver properly. PS and PCL caused issues wich were fixed just buy a install and setup of the RPCS driver. As a trained Cannon specialist, the UFR drivers new and old have issues when you get to complex jobs and can hardly even run on a LINUX network. Where did you get your info on runing UFR on the MAC OSX, I installed new and old and it old did not work and new barley worked. As a software engineer who worked with most large companies, Cannon, Ricoh, Sharp/Toshiba and Oce I would rather use a flakey RCPS driver on legacy Ricohs. still looking for a better solution for the newer Ricoh machines. I will still use the RCPS driver in most enviroments that I support


  2. James,

    I think that the RPCS print driver “LOOKED” real good. It had real potential (Unlike their Desktop Binder product which was always a dog).

    The problem is that in a real enterprise network environment the RPCS driver was flakey! When Ricoh’s own tech support people tell you that THEY DON’T RECOMMEND PUSHING DOWN THE RPCS DRIVER FROM A PRINT SERVER. That’s good enough for me to disqualify it from anything but the smallest networks.

    Since Ricoh has announced that they are abandoning the RPCS Driver I think they have validated my points.

    While I agree that the Canon UFR II Print Driver is not as robust as either the PCL or the PS. It is an alternative to those customers who what an inexpensive way to print. It may be slower than the PCL or PS but it behaves in a stable manner on both the MAC & PC. That is more than you can say about the RPCS driver. Since Ricoh is dropping it I think that speaks volumes.

    Vince


  3. U R being a little hard on the RPCS driver. As a cannon software engineer the ufr and ufr 2 r not as stable as u think. I resisted using the RPCS driver, and any generic print driver does work, the RPCS driver, allthough it has to be installed on multiple platforms it has excellent and easy preferences. The problem people r having is not getting a good copy from the various websites including ricoh-usa.com. I have installed RPCS from a registered copy off a cd and did not have any issues, when i checked the 10 differnt placews to get it i found all had missing file ext


  4. When using the RPCS driver dowload from the savin or lanier, u may just love it then. I have used it on very large networks and didnt really have any trouble, sam issues as with running generic. yes your point is well taking and jsut wondering why you like the ufr. I was involved in the research of this newer version and it not much better than the old one, stability, have you really used the new one/ufr2. I see no improvement and run it on a novell or linux and watch it crash


  5. James,

    The Canon UFR II driver is not my preference. I always lead with a PCL or PS driver depending upon the application or platform. My point is that Canon is the only MFD manufacturer that still has a viable, supported, less expensive, proprietary printer language that customers can use if they want the cheapest printing option.

    If you are right that Ricoh had drivers available on their different Web sites that had missing file ext. that does not say a lot about Ricoh’s quality control.

    I am not saying that the driver was ALL BAD. Not at all. In a local printing environment it was OK. It demo’d well. I personally have a problem installing any driver when the manufacturer tech support help line tells me that they don’t recommend or support pushing that driver down from a Print Server. Don’t you? What if you run into a problem with it like I did on more than one occasion and tech support’s answer to you is we don’t support the RPCS driver in a Print Server environment? Would you recommend it again?

    What are your plans now that Ricoh has abandoned their RPCS driver? Will you continue to load it even though Ricoh is no longer going to support it?

    Vince


  6. Just what would someone who has already sunk a load of cash into Ricoh do if both their drivers are — less than ideal. Are there third party companies that make print drivers? Is it possible to print without print drivers?


  7. Darren,

    This post is not meant to panic you. If you have the PCL or PS print language loaded on your Ricoh you can use one of those drivers. If not your RPCS driver will still be able to print, if loaded locally it worked fairly well. If pushed down from a Print Server it behaves kind of flakey. If that is all you have see if you can add either PCL or PS and use those drivers.

    Vince


  8. We purchased a Ricoh MP C2800 multifunction printer and had it installed as a network printer by the local Ricoh tech guy. Problem is that it doesn’t print on “landscape” setting on Word. Says something like “margins are set outside printable area.” Prints just fine on “portrait” setting.

    The driver language installed PCL. Ant clues? Thanks.


    • Try going into your “Page Setup” in MS Word and selecting Landscape there first, then try printing it again. If that doesn’t work and you have a PCL or PS option switch to one of those drivers they are more stable, and Ricoh still supports those print drivers. Hope this helps!


      • I tried the landscape function on Word – no luck. I contacted the tech guy and hopefully he will show up sometime this year!

        Thank much for the tip – I’ll point out the PCL/PS option.


  9. Hello Vince

    please give me information about the source of your article. Do you have a link / mail / website where Ricoh announced this info?

    Thanks

    Peter


    • Peter,

      The initial info came from this URL:

      http://mfpsolutions.blogspot.com/2009/06/mfp-weekend-industry-notes-60809.html

      But my experience with the RPCS Driver and its flakey behavior were first hand. I am actually referencing a specific conversation between myself and the Ricoh Help Desk tech.

      Like I said It showed great promise but was not a stable driver.


      • High Vince

        thanks for the link. I read it and found that the information “is a quick review of copier/MFP industry news from various trade publications.” Did you find another source (maybe by Ricoh itself?) of future of RPCS?

        Peter


  10. By the way Peter,

    If you have additional information or contradictory info, please feel free to post here so we can discuss.


    • I don’t have additional information or contradictory info, but maybe we can discuss (or better: you can help me with ..) this question.

      Quoted from the link you posted:
      “Actually was host-based, meaning that it made the end user’s PC do the job processing, rather than using the print controller in the MFP (like Microsoft Windows Graphic Device Interface or GDI)”

      (I try to translate the words from my German Windows PC to English, and this is why I will use some strange or wrong words).

      Situation:
      Win XP Prof., PC (Client) in a company network, many RPCS-printers as company wide printers with centralized print servers.
      Client has connected some RPCS network printers and has two HPGL-drivers installed, shared to everyone.

      Via “Computer Management” of a WIN XP PC I watched the “shared folders”, “sessions”, “shares”, “open files” and that stuff.
      I realized that always some print-servers and client-PC uses “sessions” on my PC. Sometimes I have 4 print-servers and 4 client-PC which use the sessions. I called the people (which use the client PC) and the said that the used a RPCS with centralized print-servers.

      The problem is that many sessions stay connected 20 min or some hours long, and sometimes my PC reaches the maximum of 10 sessions – and nobody else can contact my PC.

      The questions:
      Why does it happen?
      And what to do against it?

      Thanks in advance

      Peter


  11. So how do I Run my gs-38 printer? RPCS is the only thing that worked.
    Now I need a 64 bit version.
    This was what makes these printers work, how can they abandon it?


    • That is Gestetner DSC -38 same as AF3800c


    • Bob,

      Not sure you can. Contact the Ricoh dealer that you bought it from and ask if there is a 64 bit driver. Are you sure that the printer doesn’t support any other printer language (like PS or PCL)? If they do you may be able to use a vanilla HP driver (Like an HP4).

      Good Luck,
      Vince


      • Yes – I have the same issue. Somebody in opensourcedom needs to get ahold of the code before it is too late.


  12. Is the DSC38 dead, because of lack of driver support . esp 64 bit?


  13. I have a dsc38, the only good driver I ever have seen id the rpcs version, everything else is a toy.


  14. Savin/Ricoh Tech here!….and if you need any help, you can hop on over to CopyTechNetDotCom!….lotsa helpful peeps over there!

    Anyway, I just wanted to add my $0.02 worth here!

    RPCS IMO is TRULY DEAD!…Why??? I came back from a client that has a Savin C9020L. The problem here is that the machine has ONLY 512 MB of RAM, the machine only has the RPCS printer language (PCL5c & PCL6 are options…not installed on this machine). Additionally the client is using Microsoft Publisher (2014?) on a Windows 7 64 Bit machine (RPCS driver available for Windows 7 64 bit)…they are doing a large mail merge..with many document files in the print que! It seems like there is a conundrum of things that are making it fail!…the machine has no hard drive for either document server or print spooler and only 512 MB of RAM….I think this is a recipe for an epic fail!



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