When to Pick Bsd Lpd

BSD LPD is the oldest of the Linux printing systems, and Linux distributions have been moving away from it in recent years. Nonetheless, BSD LPD remains the default printing system for Debian 3.0, although this statement is somewhat misleading. Debian installs BSD LPD (via the Ipr package) by default, but you can select another printing system at install time by picking the appropriate package. You can also replace BSD LPD after installing Debian by replacing the Ipr package with the package for a more recent system (Iprng or cupsys).

BSD LPD is the traditional Linux printing system, so older documentation describes it. If you have an old introductory book on Linux with extensive information on printer configuration, you may want to use BSD LPD simply so that your documentation will more closely match your system; however, LPRng uses some of the same configuration files as BSD LPD. LPRng can therefore be configured in much the same way as BSD LPD—at least for printing applications on the local computer. On the other hand, few modern distributions use BSD LPD as the default printing system, or even ship with BSD LPD as an option, as Table 13.1 shows. If you want to install it, therefore, you'll have to track it down. A copy for an older version of your target distribution may be your best bet; most distributions moved away from BSD LPD around 2000, give or take a year or so.

BSD LPD is limited in some important ways. The most notable of these is that it provides no feedback to applications about the capabilities of printers. For instance, if you have a wide-carriage printer, or one with a duplexer, BSD LPD can't communicate this information to applications. Therefore, you must configure every printing application that should be able to use advanced features to do so on an individual basis—a potentially very tedious proposition. BSD LPD also lacks any means of automatically propagating a list of available printers across a network, which means that every client needs to be individually configured to use a print server—again, a potentially tedious task.

BSD LPD is configured through the /etc/printcap file. This file's format is similar to the file of the same name used by LPRng. It defines printers in the local system's printer queue. These printers can be either local (that is, connected to the computer via a parallel port, USB port, or the like) or network printers (that is, connected to another computer and shared by that computer's printing system).

If you want to share printers on a BSD LPD system with other computers, you must edit /etc/hosts.Ipd, as described in the upcoming section, "BSD LPD Access Control."

Note All Linux printing systems function as daemons. On a workstation, these daemons should only accept local connections, but they use networking protocols even for local printing. Opening access slightly allows a local printing configuration to accept remote printing requests.

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