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Greetings, On my home network I'm running Debian Lenny, just bash shell, no GUI. I've got a few services up and running, such as ssh, sftp, And Apache/Php/mySQL OK I ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! fguy64's Avatar
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    Getting started with printing


    Greetings, On my home network I'm running Debian Lenny, just bash shell, no GUI. I've got a few services up and running, such as ssh, sftp, And Apache/Php/mySQL

    OK I have an HP photosmart USB printer that the system detects as per the following lines from dmesg...

    [ 5.492064] usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 2
    [ 5.669294] usb 1-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
    [ 5.686379] usb 1-1: New USB device found, idVendor=03f0, idProduct=5c11
    [ 5.686392] usb 1-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
    [ 5.686401] usb 1-1: Product: Photosmart C4200 series
    [ 5.686407] usb 1-1: Manufacturer: HP
    [ 5.686413] usb 1-1: SerialNumber: CN791MF0JY04VP

    Q1: can I assume from this that the printer is supported by the kernel so I don't have to worry about installing a driver? As far as I can see, the answer is yes, the driver install is taken care of.

    OK I'm not so much interested in setting up the best printing system rather I want to explore my options just for the experience. At this point I'm only interested in local printing.

    I can deal with CUPS, which seems to be the "one stop shop" for linux printing. But before I go there I'm wondering what options I have by default on my current system. There doesn't seem to any lp service on the system, I guess that would have to be downloaded. and I'm not sure whether that will help me anyways with a USB printer. Any other 'default' printing commands I can look into?

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    Just Joined! teenytinylinuxgrl's Avatar
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    You probably need to install CUPS anyway, if it's not already installed, and using Synaptic Package Manager it's a snap. HP is very Linux friendly and most people never have to load anything beyond CUPS for it to work perfectly. CUPS is included by default in most distros installation CDs.

    Amy

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    Just Joined! fguy64's Avatar
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    Noted Thanks. I did a barebones internet install, so I am 99% sure I don't have CUPS or lpr yet.

    OK I was just poking around in the debian.org package pages and I noticed in the documentation for the lpr package it says cups-bsd "provides" lpr. (I can't post links yet) Do you know, does that mean that "the" lpr package is included with cups-bsd, or just that cups-bsd provides "an" lpr service

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    Just Joined! teenytinylinuxgrl's Avatar
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    Sounds like they go together. Install CUPS and it pulls in lpr along with it. If you have a Package Manager like Synaptic, it "knows" what dependencies a program needs and brings them in automatically! Sweet!

    Amy

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    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    You might want to get a Desktop Environment going first, just to keep the confusion to a minimum. Once you get the DE installed and working good, I would install hplip, which is HP Linux Printing software. You'll need to install CUPS also to get hplip installed and your package manager should take care of all this for you.
    Hope this helps and Good Luck.
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    Just Joined! fguy64's Avatar
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    yes, the Debian package manager (apt) is very slick. I figured my intro to Linux would be a challenge, which is ok, but apt makes installation very easy.

    Anyways, on the packages page, lpr in addition to being a standalone package in its own right, is also described as a virtual package under cups. Which I guess confirms what you say.

    Anyways I went ahead and installed just lpr, and was able to get printing to happen without too much difficulty. So I'll run with lpr/lpd for a while before moving to cups.

    About the only weakness I see is not really lpr related. But my system seems to "lose" lp0 sometimes. At one point the directory /usb under /dev actually disappeared, which I guess will happen if the usb device isn't recognized. I actually had to jiggle the cable and reboot to get it to work.

    note to Mike. Thanks for the tips. I'm not too worried about not having a GUI. This is a learning project and a fresh challenge which I needed. For me it's the journey and not the destination which is important.

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    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fguy64 View Post
    yes, the Debian package manager (apt) is very slick. I figured my intro to Linux would be a challenge, which is ok, but apt makes installation very easy.

    Anyways, on the packages page, lpr in addition to being a standalone package in its own right, is also described as a virtual package under cups. Which I guess confirms what you say.

    Anyways I went ahead and installed just lpr, and was able to get printing to happen without too much difficulty. So I'll run with lpr/lpd for a while before moving to cups.

    About the only weakness I see is not really lpr related. But my system seems to "lose" lp0 sometimes. At one point the directory /usb under /dev actually disappeared, which I guess will happen if the usb device isn't recognized. I actually had to jiggle the cable and reboot to get it to work.

    note to Mike. Thanks for the tips. I'm not too worried about not having a GUI. This is a learning project and a fresh challenge which I needed. For me it's the journey and not the destination which is important.
    You seem to be doing well, I didn't think you'd need to much help. You're not entirely new to Linux are you? As far as learning project goes, you are doing a fantastic job, you couldn't have picked a better learning experience.
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    Just Joined! fguy64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTbob View Post
    You seem to be doing well, I didn't think you'd need to much help. You're not entirely new to Linux are you? As far as learning project goes, you are doing a fantastic job, you couldn't have picked a better learning experience.
    Thanks Mike. This is my first run with Linux, but my first computer was a Commodore 64, and I have set up Microsoft boxes since the days of the DOS 1.x
    , so I'm not exactly a newb. I've also supported printing in a large enterprise environment that included AIX.

    Being patient is important. apt makes things easier, and there is also a lot of good documentation on all aspects of Linux available on the net.

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    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Feel free to keep this thread going to explain how to do this, and any troubles you have so others may enjoy it too.
    I do not respond to private messages asking for Linux help, Please keep it on the forums only.
    All new users please read this.** Forum FAQS. ** Adopt an unanswered post.

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    Just Joined! fguy64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTbob View Post
    Feel free to keep this thread going to explain how to do this, and any troubles you have so others may enjoy it too.
    OK, well It didn't work out of the box.

    One of the first thing I do when I install a service or hardware is a restart, even if it's not necessary, then run dmesg, to to see what happens on startup. Linux did automatically detect my USB printer, and like most hardware a device (lp0) gets created somewhere under /dev. In this case the path was /dev/usb/lp0

    When lpr gets installed, like most applications it seems, a configuration file goes into /etc directory. I found out pretty quick about /etc/printcap which includes configuration for a default text/only virtual printer using device lp0. It also gives a name to the printer by default.

    Problem was, the default virtual printer configuration in /etc/printcap specified /dev/lp0. So I had to edit that line to the correct path, and after that I had print. There's formatting problems, and it is textonly, but at least I have basic function.

    I'm thinking the next step will probably be to create a second virtual printer ( a block of code in printcap ) with a different name that also uses device lp0. That way I can customize the printing functionality and leave the default text/only virtual printer as is. I'll try that tomorrow.

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