Using the Red Hat Printer Configuration Window

If you are using Fedora, RHEL, or other Red Hat-sponsored systems, you can use the Printer Configuration window to set up your printers. In fact, I recommend that you use it instead of CUPS Web administration because the resulting printer configuration files are tailored to work with Red Hat systems.

To install a printer from your GNOME desktop in Fedora, open the Printer Configuration window by selecting System C Administration C Printing (with Fedora 8, select System C Printing) or as root user by typing system-config-printer. This tool lets you add and delete printers and edit printer properties. It also lets you send test pages to those printers to make sure they are working properly.

The key here is that you are configuring printers that are managed by your print daemon (cupsd for the CUPS service). After a printer is configured, users on your local system can use it. You can refer to the section "Configuring Print Servers" to learn how to make the server available to users from other computers on your network.

The printers that you set up can be connected directly to your computer (as on a parallel port) or to another computer on the network (for example, from another UNIX system or Windows system).

Configuring Local Printers in Fedora

Add a local printer (in other words, a printer connected directly to your computer) with the Printer Configuration window using the following procedure. (See the sidebar "Choosing a Printer" if you don't yet have a printer.)

Connect your printer before starting this procedure. This enables the printer software to autodetect the printer's location and to immediately test the printer when you have finished adding it.

Choosing a Printer

The PostScript language is the preferred format for Linux and UNIX printing and has been for many years. Every major word-processing product that runs on Fedora, SUSE, Debian, and UNIX systems supports PostScript printing, so a printer that natively supports PostScript printing is sure to work in Linux.

If you get a PostScript printer and it is not explicitly shown in the list of supported printers, simply select the PostScript filter when you install the printer locally. No special drivers are needed. Your next best option is to choose a printer that supports PCL. In either case, make sure that PostScript or PCL is implemented in the printer hardware and not in the Windows driver.

Avoid printers that are referred to as Winprinters. These printers use nonstandard printing interfaces (those other than PostScript or PCL). Support for these low-end printers is hit or miss. For example, some low-end HP DeskJet printers use the pnm2ppa driver to print documents in Printing Performance Architecture (PPA) format. Some Lexmark printers use the pbm217k driver to print. Although drivers are available for many of these Winprinters, many of them are not fully supported.

Ghostscript may also support your printer; if it does, you can use it to do your printing. Ghostscript (found at is a free PostScript-interpreter program. It can convert PostScript content to output that can be interpreted by a variety of printers. Both GNU and Aladdin Ghostscript drivers are available. Although the latest Aladdin drivers are not immediately released under the GPL, you can use older Aladdin drivers that are licensed under the GNU.

You'll find an excellent list of printers supported in Linux at en/OpenPrinting (select the Printers link). I strongly recommend that you visit that site before you purchase a printer to work with Linux. In addition to showing supported printers, the site has a page describing how to choose a printer for use with Linux ( OpenPrinting/Database/SuggestedPrinters).

Adding a Local Printer in Fedora

To add a local printer from Fedora, follow these steps:

1. Select System C Administration C Printing from the Desktop menu (System C Printing in Fedora 8) or type the following as root user from a Terminal window:

# system-config-printer &

The Printer Configuration window appears, as shown in Figure 26-3.

2. Click New Printer. A New Printer window appears.

3. Add the following information:

■ Printer Name — Add the name you want to give to identify the printer. The name must begin with a letter, but after the initial letter, it can contain a combination of letters, numbers, dashes (-), and underscores (_). For example, an HP printer on a computer named maple could be named hp-maple.

■ Description — Add a few words describing the printer, such as its features (an HP LaserJet 2100M with PCL and PS support).

Location — Add some words that describe the printers location (for example, "In Room 205 under the coffeepot").

4. Click Forward. The Select Connection window appears.


Add printers connected locally or remotely with the Printer Configuration window.


If the printer you want to configure is detected, simply select it. If it is not detected, choose the device to which the printer is connected (LPT #1 and Serial Port #1 are the first parallel and serial ports, respectively) and click Forward. (Refer to the next procedure for information on selecting remote printers.)

Either select to choose a print driver from the database (and select the manufacturer) or select to Provide PPD File (and choose that driver). Click Forward to choose the specific driver to use for your printer (you may have several choices).

"i 'f you have a printer that works in Windows, but doesn't work in Linux, refer back to uk-iltXle*^™ the disk (probably a CD) that was included with the printer. Choose Provide PPD File, and then look for the PPD file on that disk to test that printer driver with Linux.

7. Click the model of your printer in the Models box, and then choose a driver for your printer.

If your printer doesn't appear on the list but supports PCL (HP's Printer Control Language), try selecting one of the HP printers (such as HP LaserJet). If your printer supports PostScript, select PostScript printer from the list. Selecting Raw Print Queue enables you to send documents to the printer that are already formatted for that printer type.

8. Click the Printer, Driver, or PPD button. In many cases, you'll see good information from the Linux Printing Database about how your printer is configured and how to tune it further. Click Forward to continue.

9. If the information looks correct, click Apply to create the entry for your printer.

The printer appears in the main Printer Configuration window. If you want the printer to be your default printer, click the Make Default Printer button. As you add other printers, you can change the default printer by selecting the one you want and clicking the Make Default Printer button.

10. Printing should be working at this point. To make sure, select the printer you just added from the left column. Then click the Print Test Page button. (If you want to share this printer with other computers on your network, refer to the section "Configuring Print Servers" later in this chapter.)

Editing a Local Printer in Fedora

After selecting the printer you want to configure, choose from the following tabs to change its configuration:

■ Settings — The Description, Location, Device URI, and Make and Model information you created earlier are displayed on this tab. In addition to the original options added, the following describes how to change other options:

■ State — Select check boxes to indicate whether or not the printer will print jobs that are in the queue (Enabled), accept new jobs for printing (Accepting Jobs), or be available to be shared with other computers that can communicate with your computer (Shared).

■ Make Default Printer — Select this button to choose the printer as the default printer.

■ Policies. Click the Policies tab. From this tab, you can set the following items:

■ Banner — Add banner pages at the beginning or end of a job. This is good practice for a printer that is shared by many people. The banner page helps you sort who gets which print job. The standard banner page shows the ID of the print job, the title of the file, the user that requested the print job, and any billing information associated with it.

■ Policies — In case of error, the stop-printer selection causes all printing to that printer to stop. You can also select to have the job discarded (abort-job) or retried (retry-job) in the event of an error condition.

■ Access control. If your printer is a shared printer, you can select this tab to create a list that either allows users access to the printer (with all others denied) or denies users access to the printer (with all others allowed).

■ Printer Options. Click Printer Options to set defaults for options related to the printer driver. The available options are different for different printers. Many of these options can be overridden when someone prints a document. Here are a few of the options you might want to set:

■ Watermark — Several Watermark settings are available to enable you to add and change watermarks on your printed pages. By default, Watermark and Overlay are off (None). By selecting Watermark (behind the text) or Overlay (over the text), you can set the other Watermark settings to determine how watermarks and overlays are done. Watermarks can go on every page (All) or only the first page (First Only).

Select Watermark Text to choose what words are used for the watermark or overlay (Draft, Copy, Confidential, Final, and so on). You can then select the font type, size, style, and intensity of the watermark or overlay.

■ Resolution Enhancement —You can use the printers current settings or choose to turn resolution enhancement on or off.

■ Page Size — The default is U.S. letter size, but you can also ask the printer to print legal size, envelopes, ISO A4 standard, or several other page sizes.

■ Media Source — Choose which tray to print from. Select Tray 1 to insert pages manually.

■ Levels of Gray — Choose to use the printer's current levels of gray or have enhanced or standard gray levels turned on.

■ Resolution — Select the default printing resolution (such as 300, 600, or 1,200 dots per inch). Higher resolutions result in better quality but take longer to print.

■ EconoMode — Either use the printers current setting or choose a mode where you save toner or one where you have the highest possible quality.

Click Apply when you are satisfied with the changes you made to the local printer.

: I'ffiT^-'"''-) F°r a description of other driver options, refer to the CUPS Software User Manual RHHEiMaiSSffl^H (/usr/share/doc/cups-*/sum. html) under the Standard Printer Options heading.

Configuring Remote Printers in Fedora

To use a printer that is available on your network, you must identify that printer to your Linux system. Supported remote printer connections include Networked CUPS (IPP) printers, Networked UNIX (LPD) printers, Networked Windows (SMB) printers, NetWare printers, and JetDirect printers. (Of course, both CUPS and UNIX print servers can be run from Linux systems as well as other UNIX systems.)

In each case, you need a network connection from your Linux system to the servers to which those printers are connected. To use a remote printer requires that someone set up that printer on the remote server computer. See the section "Configuring Print Servers" later in this chapter for information on how to do that on your Linux server.

Use the Printer Configuration window to configure each of the remote printer types:

1. From the Desktop menu, select System C Administration C Printing (in Fedora 8, select System C Printing).

2. Click New Printer. The New Printer window appears.

3. Add a Printer Name, Description, and Location (as described previously) and click Forward. The Select Connection window appears.

4. Depending on the type of ports you have on your computer, select one of the following:

■ LPT #1 —For a printer connected to your parallel port.

■ Serial Port #1 —For a printer connected to your serial port.

■ AppleSocket/HP JetDirect — For a JetDirect printer.

■ Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) — For a CUPS or other IPP printer. LPD/LPR Host or Printer — For a UNIX printer.

■ Windows Printer via SAMBA — For a Windows system printer.

Continue with the steps in whichever of the following sections is appropriate.

Adding a Remote CUPS Printer

If you chose to add a CUPS (IPP) printer from the Printer Configuration window, you must add the following information to the window that appears:

■ Hostname — Hostname of the computer to which the printer is attached (or otherwise accessible). This can be an IP address or TCP/IP hostname for the computer. (The TCP/IP name is accessible from your / etc/hosts file or through a DNS name server.)

■ Printer name — Printer name on the remote CUPS print server. CUPS supports printer instances, which allows each printer to have several sets of options. If the remote CUPS printer is configured this way, you are able to choose a particular path to a printer, such as hp/300dpi or hp/1200dpi. A slash character separates the print queue name from the printer instance.

Complete the rest of the procedure as you would for a local printer (see the section "Adding a Local Printer in Fedora" earlier in this chapter).

Adding a Remote UNIX Printer

If you chose to add a UNIX printer (LPD/LPR) from the Printer Configuration window, you must add the following information to the window that appears:

■ Host name — Hostname of the computer to which the printer is attached (or otherwise accessible). This is the IP address or TCP/IP name for the computer (the TCP/IP name is accessible from your /etc/hosts file or through a DNS name server).

■ Printer name — Printer name on the remote UNIX computer.

Complete the rest of the procedure as you would for a local printer (see the "Adding a Local Printer in Fedora" section earlier in this chapter).

If the print job you send to test the printer is rejected, the print server computer may not have allowed you access to the printer. Ask the remote computer's administrator to add your hostname to the /etc/lpd.perms file. (Type Ipq -Pprinter to see the status of your print job.)

Adding a Windows (SMB) Printer

Enabling your computer to access an SMB printer (the Windows printing service) involves adding an entry for the printer in the Select Connection window.

When you choose to add a Windows printer to the Printer Configuration window (Windows Printer via SAMBA), you are presented with a list of computers on your network that have been detected as offering SMB services (file and/or printing service). At that point, here is how you can configure the printer:

1. Select the server or group (click the arrow next to its name so that it points down).

2. Select the printer from the list of available printers shown.

3. Fill in the username and password needed to access the SMB printer. Click Verify to check that you can authenticate to the server.

4. Click Forward to continue.

Alternatively, you can identify a server that does not appear on the list of servers. Type the information needed to create an SMB URI that contains the following information:

■ Workgroup — The workgroup name assigned to the SMB server. Using the workgroup name isn't necessary in all cases.

■ Server — NetBIOS name or IP address for the computer, which may or may not be the same as its TCP/IP name. To translate this name into the address needed to reach the SMB host, Samba checks several places where the name may be assigned to an IP address. Samba checks the following (in the order shown) until it finds a match: the local / etc/hosts file, the local /etc/lmhosts file, a WINS server on the network, and responses to broadcasts on each local network interface to resolve the name.

■ Share — Name under which the printer is shared with the remote computer. It may be different from the name by which local users of the SMB printer know the printer.

■ User — Username is required by the SMB server system to give you access to the SMB printer. A username is not necessary if you are authenticating the printer based on share-level rather than user-level access control. With share-level access, you can add a password for each shared printer or file system.

■ Password — Password associated with the SMB username or the shared resource, depending on the kind of access control being used.

I _ ■ • .a.*" vx:; When you enter a User and Password for SMB, that information is stored unencrypted in r £ (he /etc/cups/pri nters . conf file. Be sure that the file remains readable only by root.

The following is an example of the SMB URI you could add to the SMB:/ / box:

jjones:[email protected]/NS1/hp

The URI shown here identifies the username (jjones), the user's password (my9passswd), the workgroup (FSTREET), the server (NS1), and the printer queue name (hp).

Complete the rest of the procedure as you would for a local printer (see the section "Adding a Local Printer in Fedora" earlier in this chapter).

If everything is set up properly, you can use the standard lpr command to print the file to the printer. Using this example, employ the following form for printing:

Continue reading here: Configuring the CUPS Server cupsdconf

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