USB Printers

Printers that communicate via Universal Serial Bus (USB) started to become popular in 1999. At a maximum speed of 1.5MB/s, USB is a reasonable choice for a printer interface.

Like parallel printer cables, USB printer cables use different connectors at the computer and printer ends, as shown in Figure 20.4. The Series A connector on the right attaches to the computer, whereas the Series B connector on the left plugs into the printer.

The main problem with USB printers in Linux is that support for USB is so new. USB printers are supported in 2.3.x and later kernels. You need to activate the USB Printer support option in the USB kernel configuration menu to use a USB printer. You must then create an appropriate

USB printer device file. The conventional name for USB printer devices is /dev/usblpn, where n is a digit from 0 up. (Some distributions place all USB device files in the /dev/usb 20

subdirectory.) These devices use device major number 180 and device minor numbers from 0

up. If your distribution doesn't already have appropriate devices, you can create them with commands such as I

mknod /dev/usblp0 c 180 0 R

Part IV

Figure 20.4

USB printer cables are the same as USB cables for scanners and many other USB devices.

Figure 20.4

USB printer cables are the same as USB cables for scanners and many other USB devices.

You must change the final character (0, the device minor number) and the device filename if you need to create more than one USB printer device. Some distributions require specific ownership and permissions on printer device files. You might therefore want to check the ownership and permissions on /dev/lp0 and adjust /dev/usblp0 to match, using the chown and chmod commands. After it is created, you can use the USB printer device file in your /etc/printcap file, just as you would the device file for a parallel-port or serial-port printer.

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