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SCO Unix/System V Printing FAQ

This article is from a FAQ concerning SCO operating systems. While some of the information may be applicable to any OS, or any Unix or Linux OS, it may be specific to SCO Xenix, Open There is lots of Linux, Mac OS X and general Unix info elsewhere on this site: Search this site is the best way to find anything.

How do I stop banners from printing? (SCO Unix/System V )

You need to edit the file /etc/default/lpd. You need one of the following lines:

For Xenix: BANNERS=0
For Unix: BANNERS=nobanner

Note that there are some Unix printer interface scripts which do not use /etc/default/lpd, and you must use an option to these to disable banners. Also, some Unix printer interface scripts expect the Xenix syntax above. Aren't standards wonderful? Should you encounter one of these, if you're reasonably adept at shell scripts, you might want to cut and paste the section that reads /etc/default/lpd from a script that works properly. Of course, be sure you make note of your changes so that you can redo them the next time an upgrade replaces your printer drivers.

On Unix systems, *sometimes* setting it to BANNERS=nobanner was the supposedly correct thing to do, but not usually.

Some printer scripts work from default/lpd even now, but some don't, and that can be annoying.

On Release 5, you are supposed to be able to choose Advanced settings from the Printer Configuration manager, and set the number of banners to 0.

The problem is that some of the interface scripts that SCO provides don't respect or even check the settings in /etc/default/lpd, and although most of the modern ones respect the setting from the Printer Manager, there are no guarantees. Do try the simple ways first. If you have a current version, you should be able to modify this completely within the printer manager. But, if that doesn't work (perhaps because you have third party scripts) you need to modify the scripts themselves.

You'll need to modify the scripts to take away the banners. Unfortunately, there are differences between the scripts, and even after that, there is still more work you'll have to do to make the changes permanent.

To begin with, search in the script for "banner=" at the start of the line. You can do this in vi by typing "/^banner=" and pressing enter. If you find nothing, try "/^nobanner=". If you still find nothing, try "/^BANNER".

Most of the scripts will say :


On these, you want to change the "yes" to "no". But watch out: some scripts (the HPLaserJet for example) need it to be


You need to read more of the script to see if that is the case.

Unfortunately, some scripts say:


and on these, of course, you must change "no" to "yes".

A few scripts might have:


This, of course, requires a change to "no".

Some scripts expect that a variable will be passed to them in the environment. These generally test something like this:

if [ -z "${BANNERS}" ]

For these, you'd set "nhead=0" after this section of the script. You should also be able to accomplish this from the SCO 5 print manager by setting the BANNERS setting to 0, but editing the script is absolute. Some of the scripts are really dumb about all of this.

It is entirely possible that you may have a script that does not use any such variables, but just blindly prints headers and or trailers. In such cases, you need to find where it's doing the printing and comment out those lines by putting a "#" ahead of them. If you are not sure what to comment out, you might be better off replacing this script with something more user friendly from /usr/spool/lp/model. Be sure to make a safe copy first, though. Having unwanted banners is better than not printing at all.

LPD printers are another story all together. Roberto Zini offers the following:

We had a customer who was lazy enaugh not to specify the
'nobanner' option along with the lp(C) command: for every
print job submitted a banner page got printed too and the
customer was not pretty happy about it (he already tried by
inserting the "BANNERS=nobanner" parameter in /etc/default/lpd
but unsuccesfully.

By following the printcap(SFF) manual pages, he inserted the 
'sh' parameter in the line remote printer line: that should
tell lp(C) to add the 'nobanner' option on its command line
but it didn't work. So, to ease his pain, I wrote the following
lp "wrapper" script, which actually did the job:

=== cut here ===

# Faked lp(C) frontend to fool the lp(C) subsystem when
# it's unable to process the 'sh' flag in the /etc/printcap file.
# This file should be placed under /usr/bin and replaces the
# original lp(C) file which gets renamed as lp.orig; please
# set this script permissions accordingly to the original
# lp(C) ones.
# (chmod 2111 lp)
# R.Zini - Strhold (22/03/2000)

MLPDEF=`lpstat -d | awk '{ print $4 }'`

# Grab the '-d <printer>' option; if it's not given, use the
# the DEFAULT destination printer.

while getopts :d: a
        case $a in
                d)      MYPRT=$OPTARG;;

# Do we have to use the default printer ?

if [ "Z$MYPRT" = "Z" ]
        MYDEF="-d $MYPRT "

# Check if we have to give the '-onobanner' option;
# in the /etc/printcap file the administrator has to insert
# the 'sh' flag for this trick to work.

grep ":rp=$MYPRT:" /etc/printcap | grep "sh" 1>/dev/null 2>&1 && MYBAN=1

if [ $MYBAN -eq 1 ]
        exec lp.orig $MYDEF -onobanner $MYOPTS  
        exec lp.orig $MYDEF $MYOPTS

=== cut here ===

It's a "quick & dirty" script and perhaps it should be
rewritten by making use of a more consistent style
(I'm not that good at shell programming) but I've
been told that it suited my customer's needs.

See also Unix SysV Printing

If your app is sending "-o nobanner", you might get something like this:

ERROR: The following options can't be handled:
            -h (or -o nobanner)
    UX:lpd: TO FIX: The printer(s) that otherwise qualify
            for printing your request can't handle
            one or more of these options. Try
            another printer, or change the options.

To fix that, do "/usr/lib/lpadmin -p yourprintername -o nobanner"

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