Mapping Linux Printer Queues to Printer Lists

Most X-based Linux applications, when you select the option to print, display some sort of dialog box in which you pick your printer from a list of options or enter the printer queue name. For instance, Figure 7.7 shows the KWord print dialog box. You can select a printer from the Name widget. In the case of Figure 7.7, the first three selections are printers, and the final four are specialty options.

Figure 7.7: Most X applications present dialog boxes to aid selecting a printer and printer options.

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Sometimes a program requires special configuration to locate the printers. This need is particularly likely to arise if your printing configuration is odd in some way. For instance, some programs look for a list of printers in /etc/printcap, but this file may not exist if you use the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS). If you don't see any printer options, you can try creating a dummy /etc/printcap file, such as Listing 7.2, which presents entries for the same printers shown in Figure 7.7. (In fact, CUPS usually generates a dummy /etc/printcap file automatically.)

Listing 7.2: Dummy /etc/printcap File hp4000_gs:

hp4000:

lexmark:

A few programs require you to configure a printer's features before they'll present the printer. This is true of WordPerfect 8, for instance, although the major open source office packages don't need such configuration for basic printing. Nonetheless, OpenOffice.org enables you to define odd printer characteristics using the same spadmin program you use to add fonts. If you find you can't take advantage of your printer's features, you may want to run this utility and click the New Printer button, which will guide you through configuring a new printer. You can also set up a fax queue or PDF output generator using this utility.

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