YASNPP - [Yet Another Stupid Newbie Printing Problem]

Joel Hammer jhammer2 at home.com
Sun Oct 28 06:08:03 GMT 2001

The best advice is just to transfer all your files to windows and let
windows print them.
If you reject this advice, you will have to learn about:
1. Postscript
2. enscript
3. lpr and lprng
4. printer filters
5. print queues
6. God know what else.

Knowing nothing about GUI tools for setting up printers (they never work for
me), likely, you have two print queues in /etc/printcap for each printer.
One is a "raw" queue, with no filtering, and the other is a filtered queue.
The test pages printed fine because, likely, the test page was sent to the
raw queue, or maybe the filtered queue, and your real print jobs are being
sent to the other queue. (Keep in mind that windows does no filtering of the
files you send to it to print.)
Most (?All) linux applications product postscript output when they print.
So, if you print a page from netscape or staroffice, a postscript file is
generated. All print filters expect postscript input.
There is a problem in RH 7.1. It doesn't install enscript by default.
Enscript is important. It encodes text files into postscript files which
then are converted, by your print filter, into a format understood by your printer.
I would look at the /etc/printcap file and figure out which queues are
Then, I would try sending a simple text file to each promising queue (not
the raw one!) with:
lpr -Pqueue FIleToPrint
If that fails (or, if it works!), try sending a postscript file the same way.
(The "file" command will show you what type of file it is).
To get postscript files to work with, just try printing to a file from netscape.
You can look at your postscript files with gv.
If the text files don't print, use locate enscript to see if it got
installed. It is, I believe, on your RH 7.1 cdrom.
Printing is one of the two biggest headaches in the linux world. (The other
is permissions.)
There is a commercial product out there which I haven't used for this
purpose, but, basically, it allows windows to print postscript files to its
printers, using those lovely windows printer drivers, not the awful, sorta
work,  print filters you get with linux. It even has a queue arrangement so
you just have to put your linux generated postscript files into the queue
directory, and the software takes over. I haven't sunk to that yet, but that
is an alternative to this bother.
Here is the link:
If you are going to be using your windows machine as the print server, I
would definitely explore this option.

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