Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Adding A Printer

I don't usually have a printer installed on this machine, because I don't need it all that much, and it's fairly easy to get to the upstairs printer using a USB drive and SneakerNet. This week, though, Child#1 is going to GatorLand, and we bought a printer to go along. An Epson C88+, to be exact ($79.98 at Staples). The usual: USB 2.0, Prints photos, etc. I mentioned that I might want one for the Linux box and the salesman freaked out. He started muttering something about having a printer specially built, but I stopped him by saying that this printer was for a Windows laptop. He calmed down a bit.

So we took it home and installed it on the laptop, using the driver on the CD included in the package. It worked, of course. So naturally I had to try it on the Linux machine, before taking the thing down to Far North Orlando.

Hook it up, boot up. Now what? /var/log/messages shows that a printer was detected. I know that CUPS (Common Unix Printer System) is the method Linux uses to find printers, but what command do I use? If I running GNOME I'd use System=>Administration=>Printing or something like that, but that only points to a "real" command. Under FVWM there isn't a menu item like that, so we need to know the command.

It turns out to be gnome-cups-manager, which brings up a menu that includes the item New Printer. Clicking on that found the Epson, and hitting Add Printer found the proper driver — unlike Windows, I didn't have to install the driver from a disk. There is also an option to make this printer the default.

And you know what? It worked right away. Now lpr prints to the Epson, lpq shows the print status, and lpstat tells me what's connected. Just like a real Linux system. For under $80, I might well go out and get one of these for myself.