Long filenames & QuadToneRip on a mac

digital negative

When working with digital negatives and QuadToneRip it’s sometimes handy to use filenames that reflect all options used for testing and printing. For example I like to use information about paper, exposure, printing method etc. in my QTR profile filename. From time to time filenames tend to get long. Sometimes very long. But be careful: they also can get too long!

On internet fora and mailing lists once in a while people complain about QTR installations that are inaccessible or broken all of a sudden. Often after installing a new profile. What might have happened? I did some systematic research to reproduce this long filename error.

The 40+ character error

All profiles with filenames with 40 or less characters install fine.
Above 40 character when installing a .txt or .quad file the terminal window throws up an error:

“lpadmin: Unable to open PPD “/tmp/quad.ppd”: Illegal option keyword string on line 175.”

The illegal string mentioned in the the ppd in /tmp is calling the long profilename! The line number in the error may be different in your case. What happens here is that QuadToneRip, or actually ‘lpadmin’ can’t write the new profile name to the printer description file (ppd).

lpadmin is part of macOS and configures printer and class queues provided by CUPS, the macOS printing system. It can also be used to set the server default printer or class. Canges are written to the ppd, printer description file(s)

Quad printer broken

But, more serious, from that moment your printer is broken! Paper format defaults to US letter and the profile dropdown has disappeared. When looking in the /Library/Printers/QTR/quadtone/Your_quad_printer folder there is actually a .quad file installed with a 40+ filename!

Easy fix!

The easy fix for your broken printer: just remove the .quad file with the long name from the library folder above and run the printer profile installer again. No need to reinstall your quad printer or qtr.

If you can’t see the Library folder use the Finder/Go/Go to Folder… menu. When you type /Library/Printers/QTR/quadtone/ folowed by enter you find all QuadToneRip folders available. Search for you printer Quadxxxx and open this folder. Search for the long filename .quad file and throw it away. Then use the profile installer for your printer. This can be found in /Applications/QuadToneRip/Profiles/your_printer_number

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