PPD Files

PostScript Printer Description files (PPD files) control how information is sent to your printer in its native format. These files were originally relevant only to printers requiring output in Adobe's PostScript printer language. However, the CUPS system uses PPD files to describe the capabilities of non-PostScript printers; PPD files for all printers supported by your SUSE version will be found on the system in compressed form under the directory /usr/share/cups/model/. In some cases, more than one PPD file is available for a given printer model, and using a different file may sometimes give different results in terms of functionality (including such things as whether two-sided printing is supported). It is possible to add PPD files to your system. You can find more information at www.linux-foundation.org/en/OpenPrinting/Database/PPDDocumentation.

FIGURE 19-2

YaST's printer module: suggested configuration

FIGURE 19-2

YaST's printer module: suggested configuration

You will find some options here that you can change. In particular, you can change the name that YaST has chosen for the printer (based on its model — in our example laserjet4l) to something more descriptive (like reception or marketing), and you can change the suggested PPD file that will be used. In general, you should accept the recommendation offered by YaST, but you may be able to change the quality of printing, particularly for graphics, by experimenting with the alternative PPD files (see Figure 19-3).

FIGURE 19-3

Choosing a different PPD file in YaST

FIGURE 19-3

Choosing a different PPD file in YaST

You can now print a test page. If all is well, the printer will now produce a nice page with a SUSE logo at the top, a photograph of a real chameleon and various colored test images. If nothing comes out of the printer, check that the cable is properly connected. Particularly in the case of a parallel printer, be sure that the cable is not damaged at either end (if a pin is missing or broken on the connector, you can spend a long time wondering why the printer is detected, but no test page is emerging).

In almost all cases, setting up a local printer is as simple as this. There are two problems that might occur. Your printer might not be listed by YaST, and worse, it might not be supported at all.

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