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Re: lpr/lpd


On 18.09.23 04:29, Russ Allbery wrote:

It at least used to be that you could print directly to a remote printer
with lpr and a pretty simple /etc/printcap entry that you could write
manually.  I used to use that mechanism to print to an office printer
until I discovered rlpr, which is even better for that use case.  It's
possible some of those installations are people doing that, rather than
via dependencies or other things (in which case they probably should move
to rlpr).

Yes, that's basically how I use it. Pretty much all existing printers with network interfaces support the BSD lpr protocol still, and accept PostScript or PDF. People in Germany are likely to have a FritzBox DSL router, which conveniently allows you to export USB printers that way too.

And yes, it is quicker for me to copy another printcap entry and swap out the host name than it is to find out how to authenticate to CUPS, set up the printer, print a test page then remove and recreate it because the generated "short" name I need to pipe data into lpr isn't short. I will definitely be looking into rlpr.

I think those packages are probably still useful to someone, I guess several universities will be running these because they are small and robust, and can just leave a job in the queue if there is a temporary problem rather than mark the printer as offline and any jobs queued to it as paused.

Oddly specific rant, I know, but it's "small" things like that that can break a use case completely, and that's why we usually ship alternative implementations for everything, and why a lot of seemingly small changes are controversial: they break non-standard use cases.


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