# # Unix printing explained - it's not like Windows
APLawrence.com -  Resources for Unix and Linux Systems, Bloggers and the self-employed

Unix Printing

I've removed advertising from most of this site and will eventually clean up the few pages where it remains.

While not terribly expensive to maintain, this does cost me something. If I don't get enough donations to cover that expense, I will be shutting the site down in early 2020.

If you found something useful today, please consider a small donation.



Some material is very old and may be incorrect today

© February 2003 Tony Lawrence

If you are coming from the Windows world, you are probably bewildered by the multiple kinds of printing schemes in Unix. There's lpd, System V, direct to port, smb, CUPS, LPRng and weird stuff that uses ftp, and probably more. Worse, there is no such thing as a printer driver in the same sense as you have in Windows.

The two major divisions are lpd and System V printing. Lpd uses the "lpr" command (though many also accept "lp") and the "/etc/printcap" file. System V uses "lp" and its own hierarchy of files (often at /var/spool/lp). Many systems have BOTH Lpd and Sys V style printing and may even mix the two together (as though you weren't already confused enough).

Most Unix/Linux systems can print to shared Windows printers though Samba or Tarantella's (SCO) Visionfs. Conversely, Unix or Linux systems can share printers that will appear in Network Neighborhood.

Unlike Windows, where the drivers are fed a structured printing language, you have to deal with conversions yourself: Postscript to HP, text to Postscript, etc. On some systems, this kind of thing can be handled more or less transparently - Linux systems are particularly good at that, but if you are having problems, it helps to know about things like Ghostscript (a utility that converst postscript to text or laser output) and other filters.

Articles and notes here related to:



If you found something useful today, please consider a small donation.



Got something to add? Send me email.





(OLDER)    <- More Stuff -> (NEWER)    (NEWEST)   

Printer Friendly Version

->
-> Unix printing explained - it's not like Windows


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Sierra: A Take Control Crash Course

Digital Sharing Crash Course

iOS 8: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Apple Mail, Third Edition

Take Control of High Sierra





More Articles by © Tony Lawrence





Printer Friendly Version

Have you tried Searching this site?

This is a Unix/Linux resource website. It contains technical articles about Unix, Linux and general computing related subjects, opinion, news, help files, how-to's, tutorials and more.

Contact us


Printer Friendly Version





If we define Futurism as an exploration beyond accepted limits, then the nature of limiting systems becomes the first object of exploration. (Frank Herbert)




Linux posts

Troubleshooting posts


This post tagged:

Printing

StartHere



Unix/Linux Consultants

Skills Tests

Unix/Linux Book Reviews

My Unix/Linux Troubleshooting Book

This site runs on Linode