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What is a virtual printer? (SCO Unix/System V )

Note: this article is for Sys V printing, not CUPS. However, by using System V interface scripts within CUPS, you can do all of this.

You can have a printer that sends its output to another printer; pipe the final output to lp -s -dotherprinter You'll probably want the first printer's device to be /dev/null, but consider that it does not have to be: you can have a printer that prints to multiple places at the same time.

This scheme can be very useful for network printers that use lpd. Rather than trying to pass options through, front end with a script that does whatever needs to be done (like running it through /usr/lib/lponlcr) and then passes it to the lpd printer.

This is how you do "virtual" printers: many names all going to the same print device, but all with diferent options. This is often easier than handling all the testing for different switches inside one interface, and it gives you mnemonic names like "HPLandscape", "HPLetterTray", etc.

The simplest model for that is to create your own script:

shift; shift; shift; shift; shift
cat $* | lp -s -d otherprinter

Another way is to use the "network" script. Let's say you want to actually send to "kyocera":

 cp /usr/spool/lp/model/network /usr/spool/lp/model/yourscript
 vi /usr/spool/lp/model/yourscript
 (add whatever you need and then)
 /usr/lib/lpadmin -p wrapit -m yourscript -v /dev/null
 /usr/lib/accept wrapit
 enable wrapit
 echo "wrapit: lp -dkyocera" >> /usr/spool/lp/remote

You also need to remove the lines near the top of the script that say:

[ -r $mapping ] || exit 2
set -- `grep -e "^$printer:" $mapping` || exit 3

Now when you print to "wrapit", it will go to the kyocera carrying whatever you added in the script.

If you have 5.0.6 or newer Roberto Zini offers:

Early this year I made some tests and they actually worked; as an example:

. create the /tmp/myfilter.sh script

. this script is made of the following lines:


. give this script 755 permissions

. modify your /etc/printcap file and add, on the line which refers to 
the remote printer, the "of=/tmp/myfilter.sh" statement

. run the Printer Manager and restart both local & remote print services

. now print by using "lp -d<your_printer> filename

You should end up having the hex dump of the <filename> printed on the 
remote printer.

Please notice that I customer of ours was unable to get the same results 
until he removed and reinstalled a just-downloaded copy of RS506A.

See also Using Netcat for a simple lpr client by Carsten Hammer

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