9.0 Printer Operation
openSUSE® supports printing with many types of printers, including
remote network printers. Printers can be configured with YaST or
manually. For configuration instructions, refer to
Setting Up a Printer, (↑ Start-Up ). Both graphical and command
line utilities are available for starting and managing print jobs. If your
printer does not work as expected, refer to
Section 9.8, Troubleshooting.
CUPS is the standard print system in openSUSE. CUPS is highly
user-oriented. In many cases, it is compatible with LPRng or can be
adapted with relatively little effort. LPRng is included in openSUSE
only for reasons of compatibility.
Printers can be distinguished by interface, such as USB or network, and
printer language. When buying a printer, make sure that the printer has an
interface (like USB or parallel port) that is available on your hardware
and a suitable printer language. Printers can be categorized on the basis
of the following three classes of printer languages:
- PostScript Printers
PostScript is the printer language in which most print jobs in Linux
and Unix are generated and processed by the internal print system. This
language is quite old and very efficient. If PostScript documents can
be processed directly by the printer and do not need to be converted in
additional stages in the print system, the number of potential error
sources is reduced. Because PostScript printers are subject to
substantial license costs, these printers usually cost more than
printers without a PostScript interpreter.
- Standard Printers (Languages Like PCL and ESC/P)
Although these printer languages are quite old, they are still
undergoing expansion to address new features in printers. In the case
of known printer languages, the print system can convert PostScript
jobs to the respective printer language with the help of Ghostscript.
This processing stage is referred to as interpreting. The best-known
languages are PCL, which is mostly used by HP printers and their
clones, and ESC/P, which is used by Epson printers. These printer
languages are usually supported by Linux and produce a decent print
result. Linux may not be able to address some functions of extremely
new and fancy printers, because the open source developers may still be
working on these features. Except for HP developing HPLIP, there are
currently no printer manufacturers who develop Linux drivers and make
them available to Linux distributors under an open source license. Most
of these printers are in the medium price range.
- Proprietary Printers (Also Called GDI Printers)
These printers do not support any of the common printer languages. They
use their own undocumented printer languages, which are subject to
change when a new edition of a model is released. Usually only Windows
drivers are available for these printers. See
Section 9.8.1, Printers without Standard Printer Language Support for more information.
Before you buy a new printer, refer to the following sources to check how
well the printer you intend to buy is supported:
The OpenPrinting.org printer database.
The Ghostscript Web page.
List of included drivers.
The online databases always show the latest Linux support status. However,
a Linux distribution can only integrate the drivers available at
production time. Accordingly, a printer currently rated as
perfectly supported may not have had this status when the
latest openSUSE version was released. Thus, the databases may not
necessarily indicate the correct status, but only provide an