CUPS isn't extra software in my opinions.


CUPS is a PITA, but it may nevertheless be the "least bad"
solution if one is stuck with a junk printer.

i really have nicer things to do that fighting with winprinter, when i can get normal printer for really low price.

Decent, network-capable, PostScript printers do not have to be
costly.  I bought a Samsung ML-2571N at Fry's for something like
$60(US) a year or two ago.  All I had to do was plug it into the
network, add its IP address to /etc/hosts, add a suitable entry
to /etc/printcap, and lpr "just works".  No need to bother with
CUPS.

postscript printers are easiest, but PCL as not much more difficult, just write simple filter using ghostscript.

Even not write - just modify existing examples like below

#!/bin/sh
#
#  ifhp - Print Ghostscript-simulated PostScript on a DesJet 500
#  Installed in /usr/local/libexec/hpif

#
#  Treat LF as CR+LF:
#
printf "\033&k2G" || exit 2

#
#  Read first two characters of the file
#
read first_line
first_two_chars=`expr "$first_line" : '\(..\)'`

if [ "$first_two_chars" = "%!" ]; then
    #
    #  It is PostScript; use Ghostscript to scan-convert and print it
    #
    /usr/local/bin/gs -dSAFER -dNOPAUSE -q -sPAPERSIZE=a4 -sDEVICE=ljet4 
-sOutputFile=- - \
        && exit 0

else
    #
    #  Plain text or HP/PCL, so just print it directly; print a form
    #  at the end to eject the last page.
    #
    echo "$first_line" && cat && printf "\f" && exit 0
fi

exit 2

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