Printing: CUPS

CUPS is an open-source printing system maintained by Apple and is probably the simplest for Unix-like systems.

With CUPS, adding and sharing printers over the network becomes a fairly easy task.

  1. Download the packages with the necessary programs and drivers.

    (I only have HP printers here, but also install gutenprint, foomatic-db, foomatic-db-engine, foomatic-db-nonfree, foomatic-filters, splix, and ufr2 as needed)

    julio@julio-acer ~  $  sudo pacman -S cups ghostscript gsfonts hpoj hplip cups-pdf
  2. If your printer is not listed, download its PPD file from < to /usr/share/cups/model/>

  3. Add CUPS (cupsd) to the daemons in /etc/rc.conf

    DAEMONS=(syslog-ng @network netfs crond alsa httpd mysqld dbus @ntpd sshd cupsd samba @subsonic oidentd)
  4. Start the daemon and access the web interface: http://localhost:631/

  5. Log in

    • username: root
    • password: same as system password
  6. In Administration, go to “Find New Printer”. It should list the connected printers, just select them from the list.

    The cups-pdf package we installed earlier allows you to use a virtual printer to generate PDFs.

    To configure it, select:

    • Device: “CUPS-PDF (Virtual PDF Printer)”
    • Make/Manufacturer: Generic
    • Model/Driver: Generic Cups-PDF Printer
  7. To access the print server remotely, edit the file /etc/cups/cupsd.conf and change Listen localhost:631 to port 631.

  8. To allow printing over the network, simply edit the Samba configuration file.

Printing from the command line

  1. Use lpstat to check available printers:

    julio@julio-acer ~> lpstat -p -d
    printer CUPS-PDF is idle.  enabled since Thu 19 Jan 2012 05:47:16 PM BRST
    printer HP_1310 is idle.  enabled since Thu 19 Jan 2012 05:50:40 PM BRST
    no system default destination
  2. Define a default printer

julio@julio-acer ~> lpoptions -d HP_psc_1310_series                                                   1
auth-info-required=none copies=1 device-uri=hp:/usb/psc_1310_series?serial=BR5763H068O2 finishings=3 job-hold-until=no-hold job-priority=50 job-sheets=none,none marker-change-time=0 number-up=1 printer-commands=AutoConfigure,Clean,PrintSelfTestPage printer-info='HP psc 1310 series' printer-is-accepting-jobs=true printer-is-shared=false printer-location='quarto do julio' printer-make-and-model='HP PSC 1310 Series hpijs, 3.11.10' printer-state=3 printer-state-change-time=1326936293 printer-state-reasons=none printer-type=10522636 printer-uri-supported=ipp://localhost:631/printers/HP_psc_1310_series
julio@julio-acer ~> lpstat -d
system default destination: HP_psc_1310_series
  1. We can print a text file using the lp command.
julio@julio-acer ~> lp teste.txt
request id is HP_1310-1 (1 file(s))
  1. The previous print was successful, but the text came out a bit large and without margins. We can configure the paper type, margins, and other options via the command line:
julio@julio-acer ~> lp -d HP_1310 -o media=a4 -o cpi=12 -o lpi=8 -o page-left=72 -o page-top=72 teste.txt
request id is HP_1310-20 (1 file(s))

Check the manual for more options.

Printing from VIM

After a few years using VIM as my default text editor, I realized that you can do almost anything through it, including printing texts. Even codes with syntax highlighting. Unlike GVim, which has a ‘Print’ option in the File menu, printing from VIM can only be done through commands, which are worth memorizing:

  1. Open a text file in VIM and use the following command to print it with the default printer:
The printout came out with margins and with the file name and page number in the header.
  1. We can also use another printer, such as CUPS-PDF that we configured earlier

    :set printdevice=CUPS-PDF
    :set printoptions=paper:A4,syntax:y,wrap:y,number:y

By default, CUPS-PDF saves files in /var/spool/cups-pdf/julio. To change this, edit the following line in the file /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf: Out /home/${USER}

Note: If printing source code, change the colorscheme to default first.

Julio Batista Silva
Julio Batista Silva
Data Engineer

I’m a computer engineer passionate about science, technology, photography, and languages. Currently working as a Data Engineer in Germany.

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