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OpenSuSE 11.1 Quick Start Guide
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2.5 Setting Up a Printer

YaST can be used to configure a local printer that is directly connected to your machine (normally with USB or parallel port) and to set up printing with network printers. It is also possible to share printers over the network and to add 3rd party drivers (PostScript Printer Description (PPD) files). Further information about printing (concepts, technical details, and troubleshooting) is available in Section 9.0, Printer Operation, (↑ Reference ).

In YaST, click Hardware > Printer to start the printer module. By default it opens in the Printer Configurations view, displaying a list of all printers available and configured. This is especially useful when having access to a lot of printers via the network. From here you can also Print a Test Page on the selected printer and configure local printers.

2.5.1 Configuring Local Printers

If an unconfigured local printer is detected, YaST starts automatically to configure it. YaST can configure the printer automatically if the parallel or USB port can be set up automatically and the connected printer can be detected. The printer model must also be listed in the database used during the automatic hardware detection.

If the printer model is unknown or cannot be automatically detected, configure it manually. There are two possible reasons why a printer is not automatically detected:

  • The printer does not identify itself correctly. This may apply to very old devices. Try to configure your printer as described in Configuring Manually.

  • If the manual configuration does not work, communication between printer and computer is not possible. Check the cable and the plugs to make sure that the printer is properly connected. If this is the case, the problem may not be printer-related, but rather a USB or parallel port–related problem.

Configuring Manually

To manually configure the printer, select Add in the Printer Configurations view. YaST will load a list of printer drivers—this may take some time. Use the Connection Wizard to specify how the printer is connected to the machine. Then choose a suitable driver and specify a unique name for the printer queue in the Set Name field.

A printer is never used directly, but always through a printer queue. This ensures that simultaneous jobs can be queued and processed one after the other. Each printer queue is assigned to a specific driver, and a printer can have multiple queues. This makes it possible to set up a second queue on a color printer, that prints black only, for example. Refer to Section 9.1, The Workflow of the Printing System, (↑ Reference ) for more information about print queues.

For many printer models, several drivers are available. When configuring the printer, YaST defaults to the one marked recommended as a general rule. Normally it is be necessary to change the driver—the recommended one should produce the best results. However, if you want a color printer to print only in black and white, it is most convenient to use a driver that does not support color printing, for example. If you experience performance problems with a PostScript printer when printing graphics, it may help to switch from a PostScript driver to a PCL driver (provided your printer understands PCL).

If no driver for your printer is listed, you can try to select a generic driver with an appropriate standard language from the list. Refer to your printer's documentation to find out which language (the set of commands controlling the printer) your printer understands. If this does not work, refer to Adding Drivers with YaST for another possible solution.

The printer is now configured with the default settings and ready to use. Click Finish Add to return to the Printer Configurations view. The newly configured printer is now visible in the printers list.

Adding Drivers with YaST

If your printer does not appear in the Assign Drivers dialog when adding a new printer, the PPD (PostScript Printer Description) file for your model is not available. For more information about PPD files, refer to Section 9.3, Installing the Software, (↑ Reference ). To manually add a PPD file from the local file system or an FTP or HTTP server, choose Add Driver.

Get PPD files directly from your printer vendor or from the driver CD of the printer. For details, see Section 9.8.2, No Suitable PPD File Available for a PostScript Printer, (↑ Reference ). Alternatively, you can also find PPD files at http://www.linuxfoundation.org/en/OpenPrinting/, the OpenPrinting.org printer database. When downloading PPD files from OpenPrinting.org, keep in mind that it always shows the latest Linux support status, which is not necessarily met by openSUSE.

Fine-tuning a Local Printer Configuration

In order to adjust the default settings for paper size, resolution, media source and others, choose a printer from the list in the Printer Configurations view and click Configure. In the window for modifying the respective printer queue, you can make detailed adjustments by opening All options for the Current Driver. If you have access to more than one printer queue, you can specify whether this should be the Default Printer. You may also alter the generic printer Description and the Location description here.

For many printer models, several drivers are available. When configuring the printer, YaST defaults to the one marked recommended as a general rule. See the Driver section in the dialog for all drivers available. The one that is currently chosen is marked as Current Driver.

Normally it is not necessary to change the driver—the one chosen by YaST should produce the best results. However, if you want a color printer to print only in black and white, it is most convenient to use a driver that does not support color printing, for example. If you experience performance problems with a PostScript printer when printing graphics, it may help to switch from a PostScript driver to a PCL driver (provided your printer understands PCL).

2.5.2 Configuring Printing via the Network with YaST

Network printers are not detected automatically. They must be configured manually using the YaST printer module. Depending on your network setup, you can print to a print server (CUPS, LPD, SMB, or IPX) or directly to a network printer (preferably via TCP). Access the configuration view for network printing by choosing Printing via Network from the left pane in the YaST printer module.

Using CUPS

In a Linux environment CUPS is usually used to print via the network. The simplest setup is to only print via a single CUPS server which can directly be accessed by all clients. Check Do All Your Printing Directly via One Remote CUPS Server and specify the name or IP address of the server. Click Test the Server to make sure you have chosen the correct name/IP address. Leave with OK.

If you print via more than one CUPS server, check Receive Printer Information from remote CUPS Servers. Specify, whether you want to listen to servers in all networks available, to servers in your local network, or to specific IP addresses. This setup needs a running local CUPS daemon that communicates with the remote CUPS servers. Therefore answer Yes when asked to start a local CUPS daemon.

Using Print Servers other than CUPS

If your network offers print services via print servers other than CUPS, start the Connection Wizard and choose the appropriate Connection type. Ask your network administrator for details on configuring a network printer in your environment.

2.5.3 Sharing Printers Over the Network

Printers managed by a local CUPS daemon can be shared over the network and so turn your machine into a CUPS server. Usually you share a printer by enabling CUPS' so called browsing mode. If browsing is enabled, the local printer queues are made available on the network for listening remote CUPS daemons. It is also possible to set up a dedicated CUPS server, that manages all printing queues and can directly be accessed by remote clients. In this case it is not necessary to enable browsing.

To share your printer, open the Share Printers view in the YaST printer module. Select Allow Remote Access and configure your CUPS daemon to be accessible For Computers Within the Local Network. To enable the browsing mode, also check Publish Printers by Default Within the Local Network. Then specify the network interface(s) that should be used by the CUPS server. If you enable more than one interface, you can also enable or disable the browsing mode on a per interface base. Apply the settings with OK and allow to restart the CUPS server.

OpenSuSE 11.1 Quick Start Guide
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