Adding and Configuring Printers on Kubuntu

The transition from KDE 3 to KDE 4 has led to some changes in how you add and configure printers, as well as in the degree to which they can be configured. The processes are largely the same across the two KDE versions, although the KDE 4 dialogs have simplified the process. On the downside for KDE 4 fans, the KDE 3-based Kubuntu 8.04 and earlier systems have some configuration bells and whistles that haven't made it the KDE 4-based Kubuntu 8.10 and later systems at the time that this book was updated. For the most part, these are truly bells and whistles—and the list of KDE 4 features is growing longer every day.

Adding Printers on KDE 3-Based Kubuntu Systems

If you are using a Kubuntu 8.04 or earlier system, adding a new printer or reconfiguring an existing one is done through the K Menu C> System Settings application. After starting this application, selecting the Printers icon, located in the Computer Administration section, displays a screen like the one shown in Figure 24-9.

This dialog enables you to configure and manage printers and related output devices such as printing to PDF or PostScript output files, or printing to Fax devices.

To add a new printer, connect the printer to your system and turn it on. KDE 3-based Kubuntu systems automatically detect and configure most modern USB printers—if you're lucky, you will see two pop-up text balloons in the lower-right corner of your screen after turning on your USB printer. The first will note that the printer has been detected and that support for that printer is being configured. The second, shown in Figure 24-10, tells you that configuration has been successful. In this case, you can immediately print to your new printer, and you can relate the ease of the whole "new printer" experience on Kubuntu to your Windows and Mac OS X friends whenever the subject comes up in some future nerd conversation.

If you are using a new printer that cannot be automatically detected as new hardware, KDE provides a friendly Printer Wizard that walks you through the steps for identifying and configuring the printer. Printers that you will have to manually configure include those that are connected to your system's parallel port and most types of network printers.

To start the Printer Wizard, click Add in the Printers dialog and select Add Printer/Class from the dropdown menu that appears. The Printer Wizard starts, displaying a welcome dialog. Click Next to proceed to the actual printer configuration process, which beings with the dialog shown in Figure 24-11.

figure 24-9

The KDE 3 Printer configuration applet's initial screen

The KDE 3 Printer configuration applet's initial screen

From the following, select the option that identifies how your system will connect to the new printer:

■ Local printer (parallel, serial, USB): A printer that is directly connected to your system through a local interface such as a parallel or serial port, or a USB connection.

■ Remote LPD queue: A printer whose queue is managed by a specific host (which can be the local host) using the traditional UNIX Line Printer Damon (LPD) protocol.

■ SMB shared printer (Windows): A printer that is managed by a host located on a Microsoft Windows network. Such hosts are typically Windows servers but can also include Samba servers running on other UNIX or Linux systems on your network.

■ Network printer (TCP): A printer that you can print directly to over the network by using a specific IP address and port. This is a common way of printing to modern standalone, network-aware printers from manufacturers such as Brother, HP, Epson, and so on.

■ Remote CUPS server (IPP/HTTP): A printer whose queue is managed by a specific host. The Internet printing protocol (IPP) is a common alternative to network printing mechanisms such as JetDirect but supports capabilities such as authentication, access control, and host-side document formatting and printer management. CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System), which is discussed in Bonus Chapter 12, is a specific implementation of an IPP print server that implements printing services using HTTP as a transport protocol.

■ Network printer w/IPP (IPP/HTTP): A printer whose queue is managed by a specific host. This option covers non-CUPS print servers that still implement IPP using HTTP as a transport protocol.

■ Other printer type: A networked printer that you can identify by specifying its URI (Uniform Resource Identifier).

FIGURE 24-10

Automatic printer configuration on a KDE 3-based system

FIGURE 24-10

Automatic printer configuration on a KDE 3-based system

FIGURE 24-11

Identifying how you connect to your printer

FIGURE 24-11

Identifying how you connect to your printer

Click Next to proceed. The dialog that appears next depends on the connection option that you selected in Figure 24-11:

■ Local printer (parallel, serial, USB): A dialog enables you to select how your printer is physically connected to your Kubuntu system. For older printers that use a classic Centronic printer interface, this will be your system's parallel port. USB printers that your system can't recognize as a specific model will be listed in the USB or Others sections.

■ Remote LPD Queue: The dialog provides text fields in which you can enter the name or IP address of the system that provides access to the printer and the name of the queue for that printer on the specified system.

■ SMB shared printer (Windows): A dialog enables you to specify the account that you will use to connect to the Microsoft Windows system to which the printer is actually attached. (This can also be a Linux system that exports its printers via Samba.) Your choices are using an Anonymous, Guest, or Normal account. If you select the Normal account radio button, you will need to enter the login and password for a valid account on the remote system.

■ Clicking Next after entering authentication information displays a dialog that enables you to specify the workgroup/domain of the system that is hosting the printer that you want to connect to, the hostname or IP address of the server to which the printer is connected, and the name of the printer on that system. If you don't know all of this information offhand, you can click Scan to probe your local network and locate available printers.

■ Network Printer (TCP): The dialog provides text fields in which you can enter the IP address (or hostname) of the printer that you want to connect to and the port on which the printer is listening for network printing requests. This is typically port 9100 for networked printers that use the HP DirectJet printing mechanism. If you don't know this information offhand, you can click Settings to enter the base IP address of your local network, and then click Scan to probe your local network for available networked printers. Note that scanning may not find all of your networked printers if they automatically put themselves to sleep after a given period of time.

■ Remote CUPS server (IPP/HTTP): The dialog enables you to specify the account that you may need to use to connect to the system to which the printer is actually attached. Your choices are using an Anonymous or Normal account. If you select the Normal account radio button, you will need to enter the login and password for a valid account on the remote system.

■ Clicking Next after entering authentication information displays a dialog that enables you to specify the hostname or IP address of the server to which the printer is connected, and the port on which the print server on that system is listening.

■ Clicking Next after entering network address and port information displays a dialog that lists all of the printers that the print server at the specified address/port knows about.

■ Network printer w/IPP (IPP/HTTP): The dialog enables you to enter the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) that you will use to connect to the networked printer. If you don't know this information offhand, you can click Settings to enter the base IP address of your local network, click Close to close the Settings dialog, and then click Scan to probe your local network for available IPP print servers. After selecting an IPP print server, you may also have to append the name of the printer to which you want to print to the default URI that this dialog provides.

■ Other printer type: The dialog provides a text area in which you can enter the URI for a networked printer resource. The bottom portion of this dialog displays a list of all networked and local printers that could be detected.

After providing the information that is required by the connection that your printer uses, click Next to proceed. The dialog shown in Figure 24-12 appears.

In this dialog, you select the manufacturer of your printer from the list at left and the specific model of your printer from the list at right. If you don't see an entry for the manufacturer of your printer and your printer advertises compatibility with printer languages such as HP PCL or PostScript, select GENERIC as the manufacturer of your printer. If your printer manufacturer is listed, but the exact model of your printer isn't present in the list, try selecting another model of printer from the same vendor that is as close as possible to yours. If you don't see a remotely similar model and your printer advertises compatibility with another type of printer, you can select the manufacturer and model of that printer. For example, printers that advertise HP LaserJet compatibility are almost always compatible with a LaserJet 3 or LaserJet 4 model. Similarly, printers that advertise PostScript compatibility can usually be configured by selecting the PostScript printer checkbox on this dialog, which selects a generic PostScript driver.

After selecting the appropriate Manufacturer and model for your printer, click Next to proceed. A dialog like the one shown in Figure 24-13 appears.

In this dialog, you select a specific print driver to use with your new printer. The recommended option is preselected, and is usually the right one to try. You can always modify the printer later and use a different driver if the suggested one doesn't work optimally for you. After making your selection, click Next to proceed. The dialog shown in Figure 24-14 appears.

A banner is a separate page that precedes and/or follows each of the documents that you print to the specified printer. These are often referred to as job or page separators because they separate each print job from the next, and make it easy to identify all of the pages associated with a specific document and determine if your entire document has finished printing. One the other hand, they are a significant waste of paper. A starting banner is usually sufficient in enterprise or academic environments where many users are printing to the same printer.

FIGURE 24-12

Selecting your printer's manufacturer and type

FIGURE 24-12

Selecting your printer's manufacturer and type

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FIGURE 24-15

Defining print quotas

After making any changes, click Next to proceed. The dialog shown in Figure 24-15 appears.

The dialog enables you to limit the use of your new printer, restricting the size or number of pages that users can print on it over a specified number of minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months. The default selection, No quota, means that anyone can print whatever they want on your printer at any time. Unless carefully specified, imposing print quotas can prevent you or other users of your printer from printing things that you actually need to print. However, they can be useful to restrict access to specific printers (such as color printers) or to prevent coworkers from printing 200 copies of their personal holiday newsletter in enterprise or academic environments.

After specifying any restrictions that you want to impose, click Next. The dialog shown in Figure 24-16 appears.

This dialog enables you to limit access to your new printer. If you want to prevent people from printing to your new printer, you can either do so by enabling for everyone and denying access to specific users (which is the default) or by denying access for everyone and enabling access for specific users. This option can be quite useful for preventing people from abusing expensive color or extremely high-quality printers.

To disable or enable access by specific users, select Denied Users or Allowed Users, and enter the login names of any users for whom you want to deny or enable access.

Once you're done making changes to this dialog (or if you don't want to change anything), click Next. The dialog shown in Figure 24-17 appears.

You must supply a name for your new printer because the name is used for system resources, such as print queues, that your system will use to manage access to the printer. A location string is optional but can be handy to help other users of your printer to identify a specific printer (assuming that you have more than one).

Restricting access to a printer

Restricting access to a printer

figure 24-17

Naming your new printer

Naming your new printer

After specifying the name of your printer, providing an optional location, and optionally modifying its description, click Next. A summary dialog displays all of the information that you provided when configuring your new printer. After reviewing this information, click Finish to accept the configuration for your new printer. To change anything, click Back multiple times to return to the dialog that contains the settings that you want to change, make those changes, and then click Next repeatedly to return to this dialog and accept those changes.

At this point, you should be able to print to your new printer from any application on your system. To test your new printer, right-click the name of your new printer in the Printers dialog, and select Test printer from the context-sensitive menu that displays. A confirmation dialog displays, verifying that you are about to send a test page to the selected printer. Click Print Test Page to do so.

After you are finished defining and testing your printer, you can click Back to return to the System Settings application, or click the close box or select File C> Quit to exit the Systems Settings application all together.

Configuring an Existing Printer on a KDE 3-Based System

In most cases, the settings for the printers that you have configured on your system are the ones that you actually want to use. However, over time, you may find that you want to change some aspects of how you and other users of your systems interact with your printer. For example, after losing too many print jobs to other people who have accidentally taken them away, you may want to add a print banner before each print job. Similarly, if you're always running out of ink because an amateur photographer in your department (or even at home) uses your printer instead of the local Foto-Hut or Copy-Quick, you may want to restrict access to your color printer so that you can actually use it occasionally.

In addition to general administrative measures like these, you may also need to fine-tune certain aspects of your printer such as the print quality, type of paper, the order in which your documents print, and so on. KDE provides different mechanisms for changing general administrative options for your printer or to fine-tune its configuration. Both of these options are provided by the Printers applet, which you can start by selecting K Menu C> System Settings C> Printers icon. Once the Printers window appears, select the printer that you want to modify. Next:

■ To change administrative options that you specified when initially configuring your printer, click the Properties tab in the lower portion of the Printers dialog to display information about the selected printer, as shown in Figure 24-18.

■ Click the icons in the list at the left of the bottom half of this dialog to review the current settings for your printer, and click Change to pop-up a dialog that enables you to reconfigure that aspect of the general administration of your printer. (These are almost identical to the dialogs that you saw when initially configuring that aspect of your printer.) After making your changes in that dialog, click Finish to close the dialog and save your changes, or click cancel to close the dialog without saving your modifications. The Printers dialog is redisplayed.

■ To fine-tune your printer, right-click on the name of that printer in the top portion of the dialog shown in Figure 24-18, and select Configure from the context-sensitive menu that displays. A dialog like the one shown in Figure 24-19 appears.

■ To modify any of the settings on this dialog, select that setting in the top portion, which displays the available settings for that option in the bottom portion. For example, Figure 24-19 shows the possible Media Source settings (that is, what you're printing on) for one of my printers.

■ After making your changes, click OK to close the dialog and save your changes, or click Cancel to close the dialog without saving your modifications. The Printers dialog appears.

Modifying administrative printer properties

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After you are finished reconfiguring your printer, you can click Back to return to the System Settings application, or click the Close box or select File O Quit to exit the Systems Settings application altogether.

Adding Printers on KDE 4-Based Kubuntu Systems

If you are using a Kubuntu 8.10 or later system, adding a new printer or reconfiguring an existing one is done through the K Menu O Applications O System O Printing application. Starting this application displays a screen like the one shown in Figure 24-20.

FIGURE 24-20

The KDE 4 Printer configuration utility's initial screen

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FIGURE 24-20

The KDE 4 Printer configuration utility's initial screen

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Add a new printer group.

To add a new printer to your system, connect the printer to your system and turn it on. KDE 4-based Kubuntu systems automatically detect most types of networked printers but do not yet automatically configure USB printers, although I'm sure that's just around the corner.

To begin configuring a new printer, select New Printer in the list shown at the left of the dialog, and then click New Printer. A dialog like the one shown in Figure 24-21 appears.

Select the option that identifies how your system will connect to the new printer:

■ USB #1: A printer that is directly connected to a USB port on your system. This option displays only if your new printer is actually attached to a USB port on your system and is turned on. In that case, this option shows the name of the printer on that port if it could be auto-detected, as shown in Figure 24-21.

■ LPT #1: A printer that is directly connected to your system's parallel port.

■ Serial Port #1 or Serial Port #2: A printer that is directly connected to one of your system's serial ports. Serial printers are extremely uncommon.

Identifying how you connect to your printer

Identifying how you connect to your printer

AppSocket/HP JetDirect: A printer that you can print directly to over the network by using a specific IP address and port. This is a common way of printing to modern standalone, network-aware printers from manufacturers such as Brother, HP, Epson, and so on. Selecting this option displays fields in which you can enter the IP address (or hostname) of the printer that you want to connect to and the port on which the printer is listening for network printing requests.

Internet Printing Protocol (ipp): A printer whose queue is managed by a specific host. The Internet printing protocol (IPP) is a common alternative to network printing mechanisms such as JetDirect but supports capabilities such as authentication, access control, and host-side document formatting, and printer management. CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System), which is discussed in Bonus Chapter 12, is a specific implementation of an IPP print server that implements printing services using HTTP as a transport protocol. Selecting this option displays fields in the right portion of this dialog in which you can enter the hostname or IP address of the server to which the printer is connected, and the port on which the print server on that system is listening.

LPD/LPR Host or Printer: A printer whose queue is managed by a specific host (which can be the local host) using the traditional UNIX Line Printer Damon (LPD) protocol. Selecting this option displays fields in the right portion of this dialog in which you can enter the name or IP address of the system that provides access to the printer and the name of the queue for that printer on the specified system.

Windows Printer via SAMBA: A printer that is managed by a host located on a Microsoft Windows network. Such hosts are traditionally Windows servers but can also include Samba

servers running on other UNIX or Linux systems on your network. Selecting this option displays a field in the right portion of this dialog in which you can specify a URI for the printer, including the domain/workgroup, host, optional port, and printer name of the printer that you are connecting to. You can also specify whether you want to connect using a specific login and password, or whether you want to be prompted for your login and password if they are required—if authentication isn't required, you won't be prompted.

■ Other: A networked printer that you can identify by specifying its URI (Uniform Resource Identifier).

After providing the information that is required by the connection that your printer uses, click Forward.

The dialog shown in Figure 24-22 displays.

FiGURE 24-22

Selecting the manufacturer of your printer

Selecting the manufacturer of your printer

In this dialog, you select the manufacturer of your printer from a scrollable list. If you don't see an entry for the manufacturer of your printer and your printer advertises compatibility with printer languages such as HP PCL or PostScript, select GENERIC as the manufacturer of your printer.

After selecting a specific manufacturer or the GENERIC entry, click Forward. A dialog like the one shown in Figure 24-23 appears.

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Select the specific model of your printer from the Models list on the left. If the exact model of your printer isn't displayed, try selecting another model of printer from the same vendor that is as close as possible to yours. If you don't see a remotely similar model and your printer advertises compatibility with another type of printer, you may want to click Back, select the GENERIC manufacturer, and see if any of the entries on that dialog match the type of compatibility that your printer offers.

When you select a specific printer, the list at right shows the specific print drivers that are available for use based on your selection. The recommended option is preselected, and is usually the right one to try. You can always modify the printer later and use a different driver if the suggested one doesn't work optimally for you. After making your selection, click Forward. The dialog shown in Figure 24-24 appears.

You must supply a name for your new printer because the name is used for system resources such as print queues that your system will use to manage access to the printer. A description is optional, as is a location string, which can be handy to help other users of your printer to identify a specific printer (assuming that you have more than one).

After specifying the name of your printer, optionally modifying its description, and providing an optional location, click OK to conclude the configuration process. At this point, you should be able to print to your new printer from any application on your system. To test your new printer, select its entry in the left column of the dialog shown in Figure 24-20, and click Print Test Page. A confirmation dialog displays letting you know that a test has been submitted to your printer. Click OK to close this dialog.

After you are finished defining and testing your printer, you can click the close box in the upper-right corner to close the Printer configuration application.

Naming your new printer

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Configuring an Existing Printer on a KDE 4-Based System

At the time that this book was written, Kubuntu 8.10 and later systems offered relatively few ways of configuring a printer beyond those provided by the printer definition process. These configuration options are also available from the Printer Configuration application, which you can start by selecting the K Menu C> Applications C> System C> Printing. After choosing the printer that you want to modify in the list at left in the Printer Configuration dialog, your reconfiguration options from this application are the following:

■ You can specify another type of printer, select another driver, or both by clicking Change beside the Make and Model label in the right portion of this dialog.

■ You can make this printer the default printer by clicking Make Default.

■ You can modify general printer policies, such as what happens if an error occurs and whether a banner page is printed before/after each print job, by clicking the Policies tab to display the pane shown in Figure 24-25.

After making any changes to the settings on this dialog, click Apply to save your changes, or Revert to undo your changes and redisplay the settings that you were previously using.

Many applications provide additional opportunities for printer configuration by selecting a File C> Print Settings or by clicking an options button on the Print dialog. For example, Figure 24-26 shows the two panes of the Options dialog for one of my printers from the OpenOffice.org Word Processor application.

figure 24-25

Some basic printer configuration options on the Policies tab

Some basic printer configuration options on the Policies tab

FIGURE 24-26

Setting printer options when printing from an application

FIGURE 24-26

Setting printer options when printing from an application

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Reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information presented in this book is  accurate. However, the reader should understand that the information provided does not constitute legal, medical or professional advice of any kind.

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