19.0 Printer Operation
CUPS is the standard print system in SUSE® Linux Enterprise. 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 SUSE Linux Enterprise 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 that is supported by the 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 already 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
- Standard Printer (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
the open source developers may still be working on these features. Except
for the hpijs drivers developed by HP, 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 (usually GDI printers)
Usually only one or several Windows drivers are available for
proprietary printers. These printers do not support any of the
common printer languages and the printer languages they use
are subject to change when a new edition of a model is released.
See Section 19.7.1,
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 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
supported may not have had this status when the latest
SUSE® Linux Enterprise version
was released. Thus, the databases may not necessarily indicate the correct
status, but only provide an approximation.