Choosing the Best Linux Printing System

The three Linux printing systems are the original Berkeley Standard Distribution Line Printer Daemon (BSD LPD), the next-generation LPRng, and the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS). Each system has its advantages and is configured in its own way. Each distribution favors one of these systems, as summarized in Table 13.1, so configuring printing on one distribution may not be the same as doing so on another. Understanding these differences will help you get printing working on your system, and perhaps help you improve your printing experience by switching from one system to another.

Note This chapter is light on the basics of configuring each of these printer systems. Most distributions include printer configuration utilities that will set up a printer queue that works tolerably well. Instead, this chapter focuses on improving the queue that your distribution's tools will set up.

Table 13.1: Printing Systems Favored by Various Linux Distributions

Distribution

Standard Printing System

Alternative Printing System

Debian GNU/Linux3.0

BSD LPD

LPRng, CUPS

Mandrake Linux 9.1

CUPS

LPRng

Red Hat Linux 8.1

CUPS

LPRng

Slackware Linux 9.0

LPRng

none

SuSE 8.1

CUPS

none

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