Desktop printing, a request for your experiences

John Nielsen john at
Mon Nov 26 07:54:27 PST 2007

Quoting Dominic Marks <dom at>:
> Can anyone give me their experiences of desktop printing
> (OpenOffice/KDE/Gnome/Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird, etc) recently?
> I haven't tried for a while but it was a pain to setup and maintain the last
> time I looked at it.
> If you are using this for "real-work" and you are getting good results please
> let me know what you are using (software and hardware ideally).
> The environment I would like to put this into is a family house, very small
> setup with 2 PCs and 2 printers. Currently both are Windows PCs but
> one is experiencing all of the classic issues with a multi-year Windows
> installation and since they are used exclusively for E-Mail and word
> processing I am interested in migrating one PC over to FreeBSD.
> .. If the solution was a Linux distro (box package, or otherwise) I would
> also be interested.
> ... I am not a subscriber so please keep me CC'ed in the discussion.

At home I have one headless FreeBSD server, one FreeBSD desktop, one 
Windows desktop, and one or more laptops running either OS at various 
times. I also have an old cheap (non-PS) laser printer and a new-ish 
multifunction photo printer. The laser printer is connected to the 
FreeBSD server, which runs CUPS and Samba, among other things. The 
inkjet is connected to the Windows Desktop.

Printing from FreeBSD (all stations also use CUPS) to the laser printer 
always works fine. Printing from Windows to the laster printer (talking 
to Samba with a CUPS backend) works fine most of the time. Occasionally 
graphics-intensive jobs will come out screwy, and Acrobat Reader 
doesn't always behave well for some reason (even though I'm using the 
Adobe Windows PS driver..).

Printing from Windows to the inkjet always works well, and the vendor 
driver obviously supports all of the printer's features. Printing from 
FreeBSD to the inkjet (using an SMB backend to CUPS on the FreeBSD 
server) works well for standard documents and resolutions. If I need to 
print high-res or borderless photos I do it from Windows. (I also use 
the Windows station for scanning.)

Much of the above could be different for different people using 
different printers. In my case attaching the dumb laser printer to a 
FreeBSD server makes it more usable, whereas attaching the inkjet 
printer to the FreeBSD server made it less so (vs Windows). The 
gutenprint drivers are catching up to the vendor ones but for this 
printer they aren't there yet.

On the whole I'm quite happy with my CUPS server on FreeBSD, especially 
when printing from other CUPS-capable workstations (i.e. anything BUT 
Windows). Printers show up automatically and work the same from all 
stations with no need to distribute drivers, etc.


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