Friday, September 17, 2010

CUPS: Printing made easy in Slackware

Recent releases of Slackware use CUPS to setup and monitor print jobs. The primary interface to the application is browser based, and the service startup is controlled by /etc/rc.d/rc.cups. With the service running, the tool is accessed from the localhost on port 631 (i.e. http://localhost:631). It can also be used over the network- and in that case it may be better to use https for security. This is the main control window for CUPS, notice several click-able tabs:

The latest release of the software has good support for a lot of printers, including the popular HP OfficeJet all-in-one devices.

More about HP all-in-one devices.

In regard to the HP network devices, I have found that you can set the print URL manually using a socket and port 9100. For example, if the printer is located at address, then setup CUPS pointing to the URI:

(You can simplify the name if your network is using a local DNS server. On small networks, the address alone is not too big of a hassle.) If you just want to print, the socket URI is a lot easier to enter, rather than HP's own syntax:

This is a case where GNU/Linux took a long time to get this right, but now it is working perfectly and is actually easier than comparable setup offered in Windows. I think the latest integrated installer for HP devices is pretty crappy, but YMMV. Earlier Windows drivers refused install under Windows 2000, but that's expired now.

Another nice feature of the all-in-one devices is that the scanning function can be integrated into the Gimp. The only thing necessary is to create a link to the plugin:
$ ln -s /usr/bin/xsane ~/.gimp-2.6/plug-ins
With this linked, there will be new entries on Gimp's "File->Create" menu.

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