The nightmarish problem of installing a printer

Bill Tillman btillman99 at
Tue Sep 21 23:00:10 UTC 2010

I once used an inkjet printer and almost went broke keeping it fed with ink. I found a refurbished Brother HL-2040 Laser printer at Tiger Direct for $89. It's been running now for almost 3 years and I'm only on my second toner cartridge. To be honest, we're all on a big paperless effort and I rarely print anything these days. With PDF files and new software like Bluebeam Revu I just don't have the need to print much.
But since I occassionally do print and the kids need it from time to time for school I have my laser setup on a FreeBSD server which serves all segments in my LAN, including the separate wireless LAN for laptops. CUPS is installed on my server as a dependency for other apps but I don't use it to print.
I used to run it with a parallel cable but when I updated my server I had to switch to the USB port on the printer. And I just use simple LPR printing from the windows clients. Now I won't say it was that easy but once it was up and running it's hands free. The FreeBSD server uses ghostscript and a simple filter file which envokes gs. The /etc/printcap file is very simple too. I set the windows clients up to use a postscript printer driver to send the files to the server which it then processes and prints. All is well and I never have any trouble with it. One day soon I will have to purchase another toner cartridge but those are available at several sources.
Don't be intimidated by printing under FreeBSD. It's really quite simple unless you're trying to use one of those WinPrinters which will only run with M$.


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