Start an X-terminal (perhaps by pressing the
proper button) and type in it (as root or you will be prompted for
the root password):
This program does a complete printer setup, you
just have to fill up the information about your type of printer and
where it is hooked up.
Specifying the proper printer port is the most
important part. If you don't know which one is yours try: on RedHat
5.2: lp1 (this is the first parallel port on RH5.2 ) or lp2 (this is
the second parallel port on RH5.2) or lp3 (this is the third parallel
port on RH5.2); on RedHat 6.0 (or later): lp0 (this is the first
parallel port on RH6.x) or lp1 (this is the second parallel port on
RH6.x) or lp2 (this is the third parallel port on RH6.x). After
upgrading from RH5.2 to 6.0, the printing stopped working because the
name of the parallel ports changed. I had to re-run the printool
and adjust the port. The numbering of ports changed to bring it in
line with numbering of other devices, which always starts from 0.
Try printing an ASCII test-page straight to the
port. Only when this works set up the bells and whistles.
If you are setting up a remote printer, make sure
that your machine has the permission to use the remote printer. The
permissions are set in the file /etc/hosts.lpd
(more secure) or /etc/hosts.equiv
(less secure) on the machine to which the printer is attached. These
files simply list the names of the remote computers that can use a
local printer, one computer name per line. Mine looks like this:
The file /etc/hosts.lpd
did not exist on my system, so I created it.
For quick information about the printers on your
machine, you may want to view the file /etc/printcap
Here is the meaning of some codes that I see in my
separator (separates the entries in the file).
the end of line) Continuation on the next line.
of the printer. "lp" is the name of the default printer
on your machine. Subsequent printers are often, by default, given
the the names lp0 or lp1, ... (or whatever you like) but this
should not be confused with the name of the devices (parallel
ports) to which they are connected.
spool directory (sd).
size of print jobs (mx) in blocks. "0" means no limit.
want headers to be suppressed (sh). Header is the page with your
name that prints before your printing job (waste of paper if you
print at home).
of the remote machine (rm), which on my system is called "mars
(my printer is connected to a different computer).
of the remote printer (rp), which is the name of the printer on
the remote machine ("lp" on "mars" on my home
name of the device on the local machine. "/dev/lp0" is
the first parallel port on RH6.x (it used to be /dev/lp1 on RH5.2,
the numbering of parallel ports changed).
filter (if). Your printing job will be formatted by this "filter"
before it is sent to the printer.
the form feed (sf) that is normally sent when printing is
completed (use it if your printer keeps printing an empty page at
the end of each jobs).
The printer is controlled using the command lpc
(as root). Type "?" to see the options. This program is
notorious for its peculiarities, so don't get discouraged easily. The
printer queue can be viewed with lpq
and cleaned up with lprm
, both of which work for a user (not only root). You can print from
the command line using the command lpr.
Under KDE, you can control the printer queue from the program
available under the "K-button"-"Utilities"-"Printer
Most printers will work perfectly under Linux, but
some may not utilize their full capability due to lack of
information/drivers from the vendors. Therefore, when purchasing a
new printer, you may want to consult the database of Linux printers:
In brief, it is a good bet is to select (
For inexpensive colour printing: an Epson
Stylus, for example: Stylus C80 (better) or Stylus C60 (cheaper)
(Dec.2001). HP inkjets are generally less recommended than Epson's.
Please note that "inkjet-type" printers are (in general)
"not-so-great" for black-and-white printing. Also, they
are meant to be "personal" printers and do not handle well
high volumes. Yet they can offer excellent colour output,
particularly on good quality paper. Kids love inkjets.
For low-end laser printing: a Lexmark or
Brother printer. Many Hewlett-Packard (HP) laser printers will also
work perfectly, but one has to be more careful when selecting an HP
printer due to their more limited support. Lower-cost laser printers
are always black-and-white, but they offer excellent quality text
printouts. You may avoid some headaches if you select a printer
which supports "Postscript".