Chapter 21. Printer Configuration

The printconf application allows users to configure a printer in Red Hat Linux. It helps maintain the /etc/printcap configuration file, print spool directories, and print filters.

Starting with version 7.3, Red Hat Linux ships with two printing systems. The printconf application configures the printing system called LPRng. LPRng is also the default printing system. This chapter focuses on using Printconf to configure LPRng. For more information on the alternate printing system called CUPS, refer to the Section called Configuring the CUPS Printing System.

To use printconf, you must have root privileges. To start printconf, use one of the following methods:


Do not edit the /etc/printcap file. Each time the printer daemon (lpd) is started or restarted, a new /etc/printcap file is dynamically created.

If you want to add a printer without using printconf, edit the /etc/printcap.local file. The entries in /etc/printcap.local are not displayed in printconf but are read by the printer daemon. If you upgrade your system from a previous version of Red Hat Linux, your existing configuration file is converted to the new format used by printconf. Each time a new configuration file is generated by printconf, the old file is saved as /etc/printcap.old.

Figure 21-1. printconf

Five types of print queues can be configured with printconf:


If you add a new print queue or modify an existing one, you need to restart the printer daemon (lpd) for the changes to take effect.

Clicking the Apply button saves any changes that you have made and restarts the printer daemon. The changes are not written to the /etc/printcap configuration file until the printer daemon (lpd) is restarted. Alternatively, you can choose File => Save Changes and then choose File => Restart lpd to save your changes and then restart the printer daemon.

If a printer appears in the main printer list with the Queue Type set to INVALID, the printer configuration is missing options that are required for the printer to function properly. To remove this printer from the list, select it from the list and click the Delete button.

Adding a Local Printer

To add a local printer such as one attached to the parallel port or USB port of your computer, click the New button in the main printconf window. The window shown in Figure 21-2 will appear. Click Next to proceed.

Figure 21-2. Adding a Printer

You will then see the screen shown in Figure 21-3. Enter a unique name for the printer in the Queue Name text field. This can be any descriptive name for your printer. The printer name cannot contain spaces and must begin with a letter a through z or A through Z. The valid characters are a through z, A through Z, 0 through 9, -, and _.

Select Local Printer from the Queue Type menu, and click Next.

Figure 21-3. Adding a Local Printer

printconf attempts to detect your printer device and display it as shown in Figure 21-4. If your printer device is not shown, click Custom Device. Type the name of your printer device and click OK to add it to the printer device list. A printer device attached to the parallel port is usually referred to as /dev/lp0. A printer device attached to the USB port is usually referred to as /dev/usblp0. After selecting your printer device, click Next.

Figure 21-4. Local Printer Device

Next, printconf will try to detect which printer is attached to the printer device. Skip to the Section called Selecting the Print Driver and Finishing to continue.



If you type printtool at a shell prompt, printconf will start.