Linux Printing Part III

Linux Printing – Part III

Now that you’ve mastered the ability to configure your printer in Linux the old-fashioned way, let’s take a look at the printconf program available in most current distributions. It’ll make your life a bit easier.

From a console window, enter the following command:


You should see an XWindow login prompt asking for the root password. You’ll then see a nice little gui guide to adding a printer to your Linux system. From the initial screen, select New. The first screen allows you to set the print queue name and type. You’ll remember from yesterday that each printer needs a queue (spool). Enter any name that makes sense to you, using only alphanumeric characters and/or the “-” or “_”. You’ll also need to select the type of printer you’re installing: local, Unix network, shared Windows, Novell, and JetDirect are some of the options.

Next, you’ll see a screen that lists all the printers attached to your machine, if they’ve been probed properly. If you’ve got a printer attached that doesn’t show up in the list, you have two choices – rescan the devices or create a custom printer. Both options are available on this screen. When the printer you’d like to configure appears in this window, select it by left-clicking and press the next button.

Next, you’ll be prompted to select the printer driver. Select this based on your printer manufacturer and model. This is the step that’s most likely to require some tweaking. Press next to move back to the opening screen. From the opening screen, you’ll want to print a test page or two. If your page is acceptable, you’re done.

Now, for fun, take a look at your /etc/printcap file:

    view /etc/printcap

What you see is what you wrote – with the printconf-gui interface.

There are some hidden pitfalls in the gui printer configuration, as well as some tips to make the process even easier yet. We’ll cover those tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy your new Linux printer.