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a problem with CUPS

I have a rather complicated CUPS printing setup, which works, mostly, but not entirely:

My printer is an old HP 5MP, laser printer, which I purchased before HP invented the word "laserjet" because I was committed to Macintosh back then and the HP 5MP offered both parallel port and Apple Talk interfaces.

My current working desktop computer has neither of these. It is too new. And I don't think I have any Apple Talk cables any more. But I do have another, much older computer that does have a parallel port and an ethernet interface card. When I got my 'new' computer (one without parallel port) , I made the older computer into a 'print server', serving 'printing' over my LAN. It has worked well, except for times when new print software was released and I had to configure the CUPS soft ware. I have great difficulty comprehending CUPS.

My problem is that CUPS software does not handle .pdf files easily. If I try to print file, zyx.pdf, by typing "lpr zyx.pdf" , the command is accepted, the light flashes on the printer and after a while a piece of paper comes out of the printer ... but it is -blank-. Evince also 'prints' only blank pages. Pages from iceweasel, and emacs (including the fancy Postscript format) are printed correctly. But if I save the page to a file and then try to print the file, something prevents the black stuff from sticking to the print drum. Where is that something?


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