Desktop printing, a request for your experiences

Chuck Robey chuckr at
Tue Nov 27 14:10:09 PST 2007

Kevin Kinsey wrote:
> Dominic Marks wrote:
>> List,
>> 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.

Well, I would give you two items, perhaps you could help me as well. 
First, as soon as I get my FreeBSD box completely configured with all 
the tools I now have on my older Gentoo box, I will be retiring the 
Linux box, along with the nicely operating CUPS installation.  That's 
soon but not now, I am too terribly into 3 other projects.  The other 
point is, I didn't find (on Linux) a setting for the Ascii print util I 
like (a2ps, ajnd please don't try to sell me on yours, I like a2ps) to 
print the correct size for HP Deskjets to use.  So, before I had FreeBSD 
back, I experimented, and found the ideal settings to get Gentoo's a2ps 
to print for me.  Well, FreeBSD *does* have a "a2ps-letterdj) to set a 
default a2ps for letterdj printers, but it seems to work very badly for 
me.  I wanted to find anyone who runs an HP Inkjet printer (apparently 
either their DeskJet or OfficeJet) AND a2ps, so I could ask them to try 
my changes to /usr/local/etc/a2ps.cfg, to see if it works for their 
printer as well as it does for mine, so I could feel safe to inflict 
this on other folks.

I got no replies.  Would you possibly be able to do this?  The HP InkJet 
printers have a slightly larger set of edge margins than a Laser printer 
has, and that causes a2ps to clip off the right hand edge of pages.  I 
wasted a large number of pages, doing a binary search type algorithm to 
locate the best settings for my printer, an old 7130.  You can still buy 
them on EBay, and as an honest recommendation, you would be really, 
really well served to buy one or two right away while they're still 
there, because HP got "marketing-smart" and cut the capabilities of 
their more recent "AIO" line of "All-In-One" type machines.

> My situation sounds somewhat similar to yours; wifey has a Winbox
> in the house, and I print through it to an HP 6100 Multifunction
> machine using apsfilter via SMB/samba.  IIRC, apsfilter thinks the
> machine is an "HP920" and uses the HP-provided 'hpijs' driver and
> GNU ghostscript.

I sure can say, that (at least on FreeBSD) that I think that apsfilter 
was really the best well-supported printer support on FreeBSD, but I 
will be giving at least a real try  on using CUPS, because it's better 
at networking.  Right now, I print to my Linux box by saying:

ssh (mylinuxhostname) lpr < (file to print)

and that works great, sending any possible file type that CUPS 
recognizes, specifically including all ps, pdf, and graphics types.  I'm 
very good at getting ssh to work without passwords, that's obviously a 
requirement, otherwise you'd have to go thru all the password runaround.

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