From: Robert Brown (eli_at_typhoon.xnet.com)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2003 22:54:57 -0600 (CST)
> Well, I finally got a Linux compatible printer (Epson). Now I need to
> find out again how to get it configured.
> I've tried PRINTERS, PRINTING, PRINTING MANAGER, SERVICES, NETWORK
> DEVICE CONTROL and HARDWARE BROWSER.
> That's under KDE.
> I know I've seen it somewhere where you can tell which printer you have
> so that it can chose the correct driver.
I use an "Epson Stylus Color 600" printer (among others) on my
network. It has a parallel interface, so the hardware is known as
/dev/lp0 thru /dev/lp3 on my Red Hat 9 installation. I have the
printer's interface cable plugged into the parallel port that Linux
addresses as /dev/lp0. To send a file to the printer, I just use:
# cat file /dev/lp0
which will indeed transfer the file to the printer.
Now I suspect when you used the work "driver", what you meant was the
filter to transform a "normal" file into one that the printer can
Normally Epson printers can print a text file directly, so if you do
# ls > /dev/lp0
you should see a directory listing come out on your printer.
However, you did not buy a color ink jet printer just to prin ugly
black ascii text files, I am sure. In order to print graphics on
these printers, you need to convert some other format into a raster
that the printer can understand. Normally, Unix systems like to use
postscript files as a standard way to talk to a printer. That is what
I like to do. If the printer does not understand postscript
internally, you have to convert the postscript into a printer raster
by using ghostscript.
The gory details of all this can be a pain, and it depends on what
kind of printer you actually have. Even the model makes a differecne.
You will have to determine what gostscript driver you need to use to
generate a raster file that is compatible with your printer, and what
options and parameters to feed it to make it work for you. The man
page for ghostscript and the printing howto should be you starting
I have always used the Berkeley printing setup -- for years -- but
with my upgrade to redhat 9, I am going to try CUPS. As of yet, I
have no experience with it. With the Berkeley setup, there is a nice
thing called the magic filter that determines what kind of file you
sent it and automatically converts it into the right format for your
printer to understand. What this means in fact is that it converts
everything into postscript, and then feeds it into your ghostscript
printer filter you worked so hard to get working, and then sends the
resulting raster file to the actual printer itself.
The magic filter is nice, because then you can just send a gif or jpg
file to the printer, and it "just works". If you use other formats,
such as e.g. tex dvi pdf or whatever, you can set the filter up to
work with them also.
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