Inaccuracy in 'The Handbook' printer setup manual

Adam blueeskimo at
Sun Apr 20 08:59:13 PDT 2003

It says:
******************************************************************************* Checking a Parallel Printer
This section tells you how to check if FreeBSD can communicate with a
printer connected to a parallel port.

To test a printer on a parallel port:

     1. Become root with su(1).
     2. Send data to the printer.
              * If the printer can print plain text, then use lptest(1).
                # lptest > /dev/lptN
                Where N is the number of the parallel port, starting
                from zero.
              * If the printer understands PostScript or other printer
                language, then send a small program to the printer.
                # cat > /dev/lptN
                Then, line by line, type the program carefully as you
                cannot edit a line once you have pressed RETURN or
                ENTER. When you have finished entering the program,
                press CONTROL+D, or whatever your end of file key is.
                Alternatively, you can put the program in a file and
                # cat file > /dev/lptN
                Where file is the name of the file containing the
                program you want to send to the printer.

You should see something print. Do not worry if the text does not look
right; we will fix such things later.


That last part is not entirely true (where is says you should see
something print if you pipe to /dev/lptN). This does *NOT* work with
some printers (including my Canon S600). However, once
apsfilter+ghostscript are installed, the printer works fine. But piping
to /dev/lpt0 (or whatever device you are set up for) does not print
anything. On my printer in particular, the light blinks when I write to
/dev/lpt0, but nothing comes out.

This inaccuracy cost me a good day's worth of troubleshooting, because
the handbook strongly advised getting this part working before moving on
to config'ing printcap and apsfilter. I eventually gave up on this part
and decided to move on, at which point I was amazed when it actually

I hope this clarification saves someone some heartache in the future.

Adam <blueeskimo at>
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