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2004/08/12 foomatic,magicfilter

© August 2004 Tony Lawrence

Print filters. Whether it's CUPS, LPRng or plain old LPD, you often need a filter in between application data and the physical printer. In olden times, you'd use specific filters for specific purposes, but the trend now is to Swiss army knife, do everything filters that consult config files or databases to determine their actions (which is often just calling Ghostscript with appropriate options).

With some older lpd's (SCO's, for example), you couldn't specify a filter. We'd get around that by fronting with a Sys V printer where you could use a filter - an "interface script" that would end by sending to the lpd printer. More modern lpd's let you specify a "if=" line in printcap.

You can use your own filter scripts with CUPS, too, but you have to work within a "ppd" file. You just create the printer normally, but then change things. Your contribution would be a line added to the .ppd file that might look like:

*cupsFilter: "text/plain 0 MyFilter"

You'd create MyFilter in /usr/lib/cups/filter/ and the ppd file would be /etc/cups/ppd/queue-name.ppd

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Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

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