Generate PDFs for free on all your Parallels VMs

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by javester, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. javester


    Just wanted to let ya'll know that we just released SupaPDF Lite.

    It's a free PDF generator that is targeted to the Parallels community.

    We combined several innovative OS X technologies - Bonjour, CUPS, Quartz, Growl, Automator and Folder Actions, to give the Parallels community, what we hope, is a painless, transparent way to create PDFs for free from all your VMs.

    So far, we've tested it with:
    • Windows XP/2000 with Apple's Bonjour for Windows
    • Linux (latest versions of Ubuntu, Debian, Knoppix, Suse, Fedora and Red Hat)
    • Solaris 10 for Intel

    But since its CUPS-based, and CUPS is backward compatible with Berkeley & System V printing systems, it should work with just about any Unix-like system out there.

    As an added bonus, not only will all your Parallels VMs be able to generate SupaPDFs, all your machines on your local network should be able to connect as well.

    Get it here.

    Enjoy!!! :)
  2. carlosv


    Nice one!

    Just tried it out and it works like a charm! Highly recommended. :D

    What javester fails to mention is that they have integrated Folder Actions and Growl with SupaPDF.

    As soon as a PDF is printed from any of the VMs, a Growl notification is displayed with a thumbnail of the PDF. Each "user/VM" gets its own folder. If its the first time that "user/VM" prints, it even prompts you if you want to automatically open the folder with the just printed PDF.

    Its not apparent in their movie, but its there ( You just have to try it yourself.

    Its like magic! Great work!!! Can't wait for SupaPDF Pro...
  3. rvanderveer


    Sorry to be a "Debbie Downer" (SNL reference), but...

    While this sounds interesting, I'm not sure what the advantage is over simply generating PDF's natively within each environment. While from the video makes it looks pretty seemless, it seems like it has to jump through a lot of hoops just to get a PDF (passing data between environments, etc).

    If you're looking for a free way to create PDF's on Windows, I highly recommend PDFcreator (free & open source). I have it installed on all my users, machines, and recommend it to my friends:

    For linux, I'm sure there's something just as seamless and free.
  4. javester


    Point taken.

    What SupaPDF Lite leverages is the fact that OS X has a built-in CUPS Server, Bonjour and PDF is integrated right into the operating system with Quartz.

    With this combination, you can have hassle-free PDF generation from any machine on your local network, including your Parallels VMs, without installing any SupaPDF client software.

    Taking advantage of your Mac's PDF generation capabilities is often just a simple matter of registering the SupaPDF printer. In Windows, this takes all of three-steps with the Bonjour Printer Wizard. In KDE, KDEPrint detects network printers as soon as you open it. In Gnome, just checking Detect Network Printers in the Print Manager is all you need to do.

    No client software to install. That's just it - no hoop-jumping required. :)

    And with Quartz, you can do all kinds of PDF operations: compress the whole PDF, compress just the images, encrypt, watermark, etc. etc.

    With most Ghostscript-based implementations like PDFCreator, you're limited to creating PDFs using the print metaphor.

    Granted, these extended PDF operations are not available in the current rev of SupaPDF Lite, but we'll be exposing a subset of them in upcoming versions. :D

    Also, we intend to use the software-less philosophy in the upcoming SupaPDF pro. The first page of any print job is scanned for Action hints. These hints can invoke these extended PDF operations as well as other workflow features like ZIP, FTP, and send to email. Check out the feature list on the website.

    Lastly, it makes sense to store your PDFs on your Mac. Why? In a word - Spotlight. :cool:

    Just give it a try, you just might like it.

    If not, you may want to take SupaPDF Pro for a spin once it comes out.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  5. carlosv


    CUPS and SupaPDF

    Got SupaPDF working on my Ubuntu and XP Parallels machines without any problems.

    Even my Dell gaming machine detected SupaPDF after I installed Bonjour for Windows without any problems.

    Anywhooo, got me interested in poking around CUPS in OS X.

    Found out that if you go to http://localhost:631, you can get more info on the SupaPDF printer.

    It says "nstextopdf" and "prettyprint" options are not supported. Any reason why those options are not used?
  6. javester


    nstexttopdf, as you might expect, is a CUPS filter to generate PDF files. It doesn't apply to SupaPDF since that is its main purpose anyway.

    As for prettyprint, its a code formatting and beautification option ( that also doesn't apply to the problem that SupaPDF addresses.

    Besides, prettyprint expects a plain textfile and SupaPDF gets Postscript files files as input.

    Anywhoo, just wanted to let ya'll know that SupaPDF is now at v1.3. It features:
    • Better interoperability with fullscreen Parallels VMs. Notifications and Folder Actions will show over fullscreen VMs, eliminating the need to get out of fullscreen mode to examine generated PDFs. This works with all VMs, not only Windows-based ones.
    • Automatic creation of an additional compresssed PDF version (not to be confused with zipped PDF) when a generated PDF exceeds 1 mb
    • More Growl progress notifications
    • Growl detection at install/upgrade.
    • Fixed memory leaks

    You can get it from Apple ( or MTC ( directly.

    Enjoy! :)

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