The nightmarish problem of installing a printer

Frank Shute frank at
Fri Sep 17 18:01:41 UTC 2010

On Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 01:45:54AM +0100, Chabane HEMDANI wrote:
>  I'm computer science teacher at university of Tizi-ouzou in Algeria. I'm
> using FreeBSD since 2007 when I "discover" it by chance when searching in
> the Web something about Linux.
>  Since that date, I always invited and recommended to my students to install
> and use this "magical" and my favorite system.
> However, all my students retort me that they have a problem of installing
> their printers. I have so this problem, so I can't tell good-bye
> definitively to winosor and Linux. I always need them for printing.
> I've search, read, learn, follow instructions about nearly all the
> web-documentation about installing a new printer to work under cups without
> any success. I've  an HP Laser Jet 1018 printer and tools given by package
> print/hplip don't work correctly.
> I'm using FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE
> I've rebuild a kernel without  ulpt.
> I modified my /etc/rc.conf to enable cupsd and hpiod and  hpssd.
> I modified /etc/devfs.rules like suggested by cups (see pkg_info -D
> cups-base-1.4.4 ).
> I've made many other configurations like that suggested at
> <,_hplip%20>
> and finally, I've given to my students the wrong  answer that "no one can
> print under FreeBSD !"
> Please where is the problem?
> Please help me to help others.
> Please help me to enlarge the FreeBSD users community.

Many congratulations on your efforts to promote FreeBSD!

I'm not going to tell you how to print with CUPS as it's too
complicated and fragile for my liking.

Have you thought about using lpd(8)? If your printer can understand
Postscript (and I believe HP Laserjets can) then this can be a fairly
simple process as you just send the raw PS to the printer with lpr(1)
via a spool and filter.

My filter:


cat - 
echo "\f"


and my printcap(5) isn't overly complicated either and the format is
well documented in it's manpage.

Most Unix applications can produce Postscript or PDF (which can be
converted to PS with ps2pdf which comes with Ghostscript) and LaTeX
can produce PS with dvips.

I recommend LaTeX for all users, especially university based users who
are going to produce thesis/technical docs.

Anyway, just a thought. Setting up lpd is documented in the Handbook
of course.

If your printer can't speak Postscript then you have to use
Ghostscript and something like apsfilter with lpd.




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