USB Printer

Mike Meyer mwm-dated-1049592592.da47d0 at
Mon Mar 31 17:29:55 PST 2003

In <200303311816.24823.fallenbr at>, Konrad Scorciapino <fallenbr at> typed:
> > > How can I configure a USB Printer on FreeBSD? Actually I have a Deskjet 
> 656c 
> > > from HP and I've tried to send something to /dev/ulpt0, but the system 
> simply 
> > > locked up.
> > if ulpt0 is showing up in dmesg, then you have the printer
> > configured. What to do next depends on what you want to do with the
> > printer - and whether or not the deskjet is a winprinter.
> ulpt0 is showing and it detects my printer type. Here is the output:
> konrad at localhost ~ > dmesg | grep ulpt0
> ulpt0: HEWLETT-PACKARD DESKJET 656C, rev 1.10/1.10, addr 2, iclass 7/1

What did you try sending to /dev/ulpt0 that caused things to lock up?

> I want to be able to print all popular kinds of files. How can I proceed? 

You need to install a printer filter program. The most popular one is
apsfilter, because it handles all the details of the setup. The
downside is that it's a honking big shell script that treats all
printers as if they were winprinters. I prefer magicfilter, which is a
C program that interprets filter files to control things, and will
handle flat ascii or even PCL reasonably. The downside of it is that
you have to set up your printcap and the filter file by hand. I'll be
glad to help you with that if you want to go that way.

Both magicfilter and apsfilter are available as ports.

> And how do I know whether my printer is a winprinter or not?

The standard way is by sending it flat ascii text, and seeing if it
prints that. If it prints the text you sent, it's not a winprinter. If
it does nothing, or prints gibberish, it's probably a winprinter.

Mike Meyer <mwm at>
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.

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