The Ubuntu Linux GUI Tool

Starting with Ubuntu Linux Gutsy Gibbon, Ubuntu has incorporated one more GUI print management tool. Those of you familiar with Red Hat and Fedora Linux should recognize the new tool. Courtesy of the GPL, Ubuntu has adapted the same basic tool as a comprehensive alternative to the web-based tool for the distribution. It's available from the system-config-printer package. Once installed, it can be started from a GUI-based command line with the system-config-printer command.

Before running this tool, back up the files in the /etc/cups directory. The actions of this tool overwrite the comments in the default versions of the files in the /etc/cups directory. One way to copy these files to your home directory is with the following command:

Now run the system-config-printer command in a GUI-based command line. When I start it from a local system, it brings me to the Printer Configuration tool shown in Figure 7-5.

Note that it's currently connected to the local system, as signified by the localhost label. If you'd rather connect to a CUPS server on another system, click File | Goto Server. When the Connect To CUPS Server window appears as shown in Figure 7-6,


Ubuntu Printer Configuration tool


Ubuntu Printer Configuration tool

Ubuntu Linux Interface

navigate to the hostname or IP address of the desired CUPS server, followed by the usemame. That username should be a member of the lpadmin group described earlier. Encryption is available for this connection, if desired. Enter the required information and click Connect. You'll be prompted for a password.


The Connect to CUPS Server window

Once an appropriate password is entered, the title in the printer configuration tool window is changed. Specifically, "localhost" is changed to either the hostname or IP address of the target CUPS server.

Basic Server Settings

Basic CUPS server settings are shown when the Server Settings option is highlighted in the left pane. This allows configuration of the options described in Table 7-4. The changes affect the cupsd.conf file in the /etc/cups directory. However, to make sure they take effect, restart the CUPS service with the following command:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/cupsys restart

Configuring a New Printer

The process of configuring a new printer using the Ubuntu Printer Configuration tool is straightforward, and uses a wizard. To see how it works, click the New Printer button. It opens the New Printer window shown in Figure 7-7.

The options in the New Printer window display detected devices, as well as standard options for CUPS connections to network printers. The Gutenprint options are associated with The GIMP, which is the functional Linux equivalent to Paint Shop Pro. The standard LPT #1 option shown in the figure assumes a connection through the first parallel port, associated with /dev/lp0. Other options as shown in Table 7-5 should be familiar from your reading of the other Ubuntu Linux GUI print managers.


Ubuntu Print Tool Basic Server Settings Options


Ubuntu Print Tool Basic Server Settings Options

Basic Server Setting


Show Printers Shared By Other Systems

Configures BrowseAllow All

Share Published Printers Connected To This System

Enables printer sharing with the Browsing On and BrowseAddress @LOCAL directives

Allow Printing From The Internet

Changes Allow @LOCAL to Allow All, which disables the access limit to the local network

Allow Remote Administration

Changes Allow localhost to Allow @LOCAL

in the /admin and /admin/conf stanzas, which allows remote administration from the LAN

Allow Users To Cancel Any Job

Removes the Cancel-Job limitations

Save Debugging Information For Troubleshooting

Changes LogLevel warning to LogLevel debug


Ubuntu Printer

Configuration tool

The list shown in Table 7-5 is not comprehensive, as I don't have specialty printers such as those associated with SCSI or Bluetooth devices, nor do I expect you to have to configure such printers during the UCP exam. But it does go beyond what's shown in Figure 7-7, as connections vary with connected hardware and installed packages.


Ubuntu Print Tool Printer Connection Configuration


Select Connection

Required Details

Gutenprint Parallel Port #x

Device URI, usually a device file associated with the brand, such as hp:/dev/lp0. Access limited to The GIMP.

LPT #x

No additional information is required; LPT #1 assumes device file /dev/lp0.

Print Into PDF File

Device URI; by default cups-pdf:/, which sends a print job to the ~/PDF directory.

Windows Printer via SAMBA

Device URI, starts with smb//. Requires the workgroup or domain name, print server hostname or IP address, and shared printer name.

AppSocket /HP JetDirect

Hostname of print server, and port number (9100 by default).

Internet Printing Protocol (ipp)

Hostname or IP address of print server; the Find Queue button lists available CUPS printers, which conform to IPP by default.

LPD/LPR Host or Printer

Hostname or IP address of LPD or LPRng print server, and printer name.


Device URI.

Once a connection is configured, the tool proceeds to the New Printer window shown in Figure 7-8. If the appropriate print driver packages are installed, there will be a big list of "Makes," which specifies a list of printer manufacturers. Alternatively, if you activate the Provide PPD File radio button, the tool gives you the chance to include the driver file, with a .ppd or .ppd.gz extension.

I select a "Make" from the window and click Forward to continue. This changes the New Printer window shown in Figure 7-9. Note the variety of print driver options available for my HP LaserJet 4L. Unless you know what you're doing, I suggest that you select the recommended driver. Whatever the choice, select a Model and Driver and click Forward to continue.

Now you're asked for a Printer Name, Description, and Location. The Printer Name must be a single alphanumeric word. Type in your choices and click Apply. This should bring you back to the main Printer Configuration window shown in Figure 7-5.

Modify Settings for a Configured Printer

In the main Printer Configuration window, select a printer. Five tabs should appear on the right side of the tool, described in Table 7-6. Considerable customization is possible through these tabs.

® jGelect Printer from Database-

The fnomatlc printer dafahase contains various manufacturer provided Postscript Printer Description (PPU) tiles and also can generate PPD files for a large number of (non Postscript! printers, but in general manufacturer provided PPD files provide better access to the specific features of the printer.

Makes Generic Alps An ¡tech Apollo

O Provide PPD Rio

PostScript Punier Dfisii.pi on [PPD} files tan ofLen found or Lilt diiver disk lhal comes with the printer. For PostScript printers they are often part of the Windows6 driver.


Ubuntu Printer Configuration tool: the New Printer window


Many available print drivers

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