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1. Introduction

The Printing HOWTO should contain everything you need to know to help you set up printing services on your Linux box(en). As life would have it, it's a bit more complicated than in the point-and-click world of Microsoft and Apple, but it's also a bit more flexible and certainly easier to administer for large LANs.

This document is structured so that most people will only need to read the first half or so. Most of the more obscure and situation-dependent information in here is in the last half, and can be easily located in the Table of Contents, whereas most of the information through section 8 or 9 is probably needed by most people.

If you find this document or the website useful, consider buying something through my referral association with or; please use the links on the suggested printers page so that your purchase can be credited to

Since version 3.x is a complete rewrite, some information from previous editions has been lost. This is by design, as the previous HOWTOs were so large as to be 60 typeset pages, and had the narrative flow of a dead turtle. If you do not find your answers here, you are encouraged to a) look on the website and b) drop me a note saying what ought to be here but isn't.

The website is a good place to find the latest version; it is also, of course, distributed from Metalab ( and your friendly local LDP mirror.

1.1. History

This is the fourth generation of the Printing HOWTO. The history of the PHT may be chronicled thusly:

  1. I wrote the printing-howto in 1992 in response to too many printing questions in comp.os.linux, and posted it. This predated the HOWTO project by a few months and was the first FAQlet called a `howto'. This edition was in plain ascii.

  2. After joining the HOWTO project, the Printing-HOWTO was merged with an Lpd FAQ by Brian McCauley <>; we continued to co-author the PHT for two years or so. At some point we incorporated the work of Karl Auer <>. This generation of the PHT was in TeXinfo, and available in PS, HTML, Ascii, and Info.

  3. After letting the PHT rot and decay for over a year, and an unsuccessful attempt at getting someone else to maintain it, this rewrite happened. This generation of the PHT is written in SGML using the LinuxDoc DTD and the SGML-Tools-1 package. Beginning with version 3.27, it incorporates a summary of a companion printer support database; before 3.27 there was never a printer compatibility list in this HOWTO (!).

  4. In mid-January, 2000, I found out about the PDQ print "spooler". PDQ provides a printing mechanism so much better than lpd ever did that I spent several hours playing with it, rewrote parts of this HOWTO, and bumped the version number of the document to 4.

  5. In mid-2000, I moved my printing website to, and began offering more powerful configuration tools there. I also converted the HOWTO to DocBook, and initiated coverage of CUPS, LPRng, and GPR/libppd.

1.2. Copyright

This document is Copyright (c) 1992-2000 by Grant Taylor. Feel free to copy and redistribute this document according to the terms of the GNU General Public License, revision 2 or later.

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