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System Administration Guide: Solaris Printing
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Overview of the PPD File Management Utility

To provide support for a wide range of printers, the Solaris print system has the ability to use PostScript Printer Description (PPD) files. The PPD File Manager (/usr/sbin/ppdmgr) provides a means of administering PPD files on a system. This utility enables you to add PPD files to the system and update printer information for printers that are not yet supported in the running Solaris OS.

With the ppdmgr utility, you can perform the following tasks:

  • Add a PPD file to a PPD file repository on a system.

  • Supply a label that groups PPD files within a PPD file repository.

  • Update the information in the PPD cache file Solaris Print Manager uses to display supported printer information.

Adding PPD Files to a System

When you add or modify a printer by using Solaris Print Manager, a PPD cache file, ppdcache, is referenced to display printer driver information. See Description of the Printer Driver Field in Solaris Print Manager. The PPD File Management utility generates the cache file by gathering printer information from the PPD files in all of the PPD file repositories on a system. To reflect any changes that are made in Solaris Print Manager, the PPD cache file must be updated.

You can use the following methods to add a PPD file to a system:

  • ppdmgr utility

  • lpadmin command with the -n option

  • pkgadd command

When you add a PPD file to a system by using the ppdmgr utility or the lpadmin -n command, the changes are reflected in Solaris Print Manager. If the PPD file is manually copied to the system or added by using the pkgadd command, you can use the ppdmgr utility to make sure that the new PPD files are reflected in the cache file that is used by Solaris Print Manager.

Using the ppdmgr utility to add a PPD file to the system provides more flexibility because you can specify what label is used and where the file is stored. The -L and -R options of the ppdmgr utility enable you to specify a label and repository of your own choosing. See Specifying a PPD File Label. If you add a PPD files to a system by using the lpadmin -n command or the ppdmgr utility and do not specify a label or repository, the PPD file is stored in the user label directory within the user repository. Similarly, if the source path to the PPD file that you provide is not from an existing PPD file label within an existing PPD file repository on the system, then the file is copied to the user label within the user repository.

Specifying a PPD File Label

A PPD file label describes a grouping of PPD files and refers to a user-selected or default directory name within a PPD file repository. When you use the ppdmgr utility to add a PPD file to the system, you can optionally specify a label. Using labels allows for easier organization of PPD files, which makes for easier identification of PPD files when you add or modify a printer by using Solaris Print Manager.

You can also specify a file label when you request an update or a rebuild of the PPD cache file by using the -u or the -r option . If you do not specify a label, the user default label is assigned to the PPD file. If you request an update or a rebuild of the PPD cache file, the default label is all, which specifies all PPD file repositories.


Note - You cannot specify the all label when adding a PPD file to a system by using the ppdmgr utility with the -a option. See PPD File Labels for more information.


Specifying a PPD File Repository

You can specify a repository when adding a PPD file to a system by using the ppdmgr utility or when requesting an update of the PPD cache file. A repository is a directory where PPD file information is stored. More than one PPD file repository can exist on a system. PPD files that are supplied by third-party vendors are stored in the vendor repository. PPD files that are added by system administrators can be stored in the admin repository.

The following are locations where PPD files are stored on a system:

  • The PPD files that are delivered with the Solaris OS are stored in the system repository.

  • PPD files that are added manually by using the ppdmgr -a command or the lpadmin -n command are stored in the user repository.

  • PPD files that are added manually by using the ppdmgr utility with the -R option are stored in the repository that you specify with this option.

  • The all repository is used to specify all the repositories on a system. You can specify the all repository when requesting an update or a rebuild of the PPD cache file by using the -u or -r option of the ppdmgr command. If no repository is specified, the default repository is user. For more information, see How to Update or Rebuild the PPD Cache File by Using the ppdmgr Utility.


    Note - You cannot specify the all repository when adding a PPD file to a system by using the ppdmgr utility with the -a option. See PPD File Repositories for more information.


Locating PPD File Label and Repository Information in Solaris Print Manager

The Printer Driver field in Solaris Print Manager now displays the PPD file label and the PPD file repository abbreviation, in addition to the printer driver information. The addition of the label and repository information assists in the selection of the correct printer driver. This information is especially useful in situations where multiple PPD files with identical names are located on a system, within various label directories and repositories.

For more information, see Description of the Printer Driver Field in Solaris Print Manager.

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