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Linux Printing Quick Guide

Mac Printer Servers, Print, CUPS, UNIX,

See also: Linux Printing User Guide, Visitor Printing, Printing, NRAO Acceptable Use Policy

Currently available printers

Charlottesville: Linux, Mac

Green Bank: Linux, Mac

New Mexico: Linux, Mac

Printer Servers

All four main NRAO sites each have two parallel printer systems: one for Windows and one for Linux/Mac systems. This apparent duplication is present for historic and other reasons. This documentation is primarily aimed at documenting the rich set of features available to Linux and Mac users via the CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) servers.

This table offers both direct links to the print servers at each site, as well as links to more concise lists of printer names (and locations!) where available. One of the really nice things about CUPS is its web interface. By just following the links in the table below (under "Direct link to print server), you can see detailed info on all printers, jobs, etc. in real time. This really helps if you want to know what happened to an errant job, or if a large print job is done yet.

Direct link to print server Notes
printhost.cv For Edgemont Road and Ivy Road
printhost.aoc For the AOC (not VLA)
printhost.vla For the VLA site

Basic Printing

Oh Server, Print my file (dangit)
lpr -Pprinter myfile
lp -d printer myfile

CUPS gives you the best of both worlds. Whether you're used to lpr or lp, lpq or lpstat, CUPS wants to keep you happy. The basic syntax is shown in the box on the right; use whichever command you prefer. Note that the lp version has a space between the -d and the printer name.

Simplex Printing

lpr -o sides=one-sided myfile
Duplex Printing
lpr -o sides=two-sided-long-edge myfile (Portrait)
lpr -o sides=two-sided-short-edge myfile (landscape)
(but watch: coming soon: an easier way!).
Transparency Printing
lpr -o media=Transparency myfile
Text in Landscape Mode
lpr -o landscape myfile

Smart Tip: If you have the PRINTER environment variable defined (e.g., as psnet) you can omit the -Pprinter or -d printer options from the command line; CUPS will assume you want that printer (psnet in this example).

The system has many back-end filters that can almost magically convert the format you send it to the format the printer needs to have. The classic example is:

lpr -Pps1 mypic.jpg

where we just send the printer a raw JPEG file. You can also send it many other image formats (gif, png, maybe even tiff), plain text files, PostScript files, HP-GL/2 files, and even PDF files (but be warned: the conversion is based on ghostscript technology; you may get good results or not; if not, use the acrobat reader acroread to print).

Smart Tip: For text files, there is a program called a2ps which can add headers, pretty-print C code, and many other minor things.  The -1 option prints 1 page per page (it defaults to 2 pages side by side).  The -o - option tells it to write to the pipe so the output can go directly to the lpr command.

a2ps -1 file.txt -o - | lpr -Paoc213

Smart Tip: you can print your text files in landscape mode via:

lpr -o landscape myfile

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