[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: How can printing be simplified with Debian GNU/Linux?

Arthur Korn writes: 

> Raphael Bossek wrote:
>> Visit www.linuxprinting.org and try out the printer database and
>> you will see how simple it could be...

Yes, Jeff Licquia (the CUPS package maintainer) and I had some
discussions about how to do this a month or two ago.  We sort of half
mapped out a system which would support all Debian-provided spoolers
in a fairly idiot proof way.

In 7.2, Mandrake shipped CUPS with a pre-extracted and massaged set of
CUPS data from this database; the results are quite nifty.  They
included various GUI tools that have recently been extended to support
all the option types found in the printer description files.

For Debian, the idea was to query, compute, and perhaps even store
printer configuration information independantly from the spooler
itself.  This way, a user would get the same interface for configuring
a printer with any spooler, and lots of work could be done once
instead of three or four times over.  The "query" step is made nearly
trivial by building atop my database (which has pnp signatures, for
example); the "compute" step would be similarly straightforward - it
would be an automated version of the steps described in the three
sibling "docs" pages on linuxprinting.org.

As the icing on the cake, we could probably rig it so that, say,
uninstalling CUPS and installing LPRng didn't destroy the system's
printer configuration.  (Think about it - that's actually a nontrivial
thing, yet it falls cleanly out of what Jeff and I had in mind).

> Well, the entry for my printer (Lexmark Optra E312) is wrong (it can
> very well print plain text), and not very helpful. 

Does it print text when sent just plain ASCII?  That's what this bit
means.  If it's wrong, anyone can fix it.  Mail me or toggle the
checkbox yourself ;) 

> The only thing one needs to know to get it to run isn't in the
> database (entering some lines into /etc/printcap, the if= being
> /etc/magicfilter/ps600-filter).

So that's not the level of information in the database; that level of
information is in the HOWTO and the LPD docs page.

The level of information in the database allows for something like
that ps600-filter to be automatically written, for arbitrary printer
and driver combos, and including complete support for any user
adjustable per-job driver or printer options.  What's more, that
ps600-filter-alike thing can be constructed to suit more or less any
spooler, including CUPS, PDQ, LPD, and so forth.

The goal of linuxprinting.org and Foomatic is *uniformity*, across all
sorts of drivers, and across all sorts of spoolers.  Users should be
able to configure printers by following one simple - ideally
automagical - method, not by following a forty-nine step flowchart and
doing some scripting besides.  This is undoubtedly what appealed to
Raphael and began this thread.

As for the E312, making a Postscript printer go isn't really a problem
that needs solving, so I haven't paid too much attention to it.  We'll
get there...

Grant Taylor - gtaylor@picante<dot>com - http://www.picante.com/~gtaylor/
  Linux Printing Website and HOWTO:  http://www.linuxprinting.org/

Reply to: