To CUPS or not to CUPS

Craig Colton meerkats at
Thu Jul 3 04:09:59 PDT 2003

On Wednesday 02 July 2003 12:19 am, you wrote:
> On Wed, 2003-07-02 at 10:05, Craig Colton wrote:
> > > I think the problem you have is the fact that the best hint to
> > > assure a working printing configuration on Linux is one that is
> > > anti-Cups.
> I disagree entirely.  CUPS is not THAT hard to make work, and once you
> have it working it will save you from lots of other pitfalls.
> > > Untill then, the general consensus is that the Printing Minority Report
> > > (despite it's anti-CUPS'ness, in some casess /because/ ;)) is the best
> > > solution to getting started with a working printer configuration.
> What general consensus?  I've mostly kept quiet on the matter because I
> consider it to be silly, but that doesn't mean I agree with the
> anti-CUPS people - and I don't.  I expect lots of other lurkers also
> disagree and just couldn't be bothered to say so, like me.
> To state my position bluntly: CUPS is a HUGE improvement over past
> printing systems despite its admitted bugs, and it would be much better
> if people got on board and did the little bit of work to make CUPS
> function instead of going their own way and making a zillion more
> homebrew printing projects. I'm not really against the minority report,
> despite that view - I just see it as an experimental learning sort of
> thing, not a serious printing answer.
> > > > Sorry to be so adamant.
> Then don't be! :)
> > Your schematic for getting printing up and running on LFS could work -
> > even with cups. How about this:
> >
> > 1. A user decides beforehand if he will be using cups.
> > 2. If so, he installs:
> > 		a.Cups
> > 		b.espgs (this version of ghostscript is mandatory for cups but would
> > presumably work for PMR)
> To nit-pick, that is the preferred version of ghostscript IF you want to
> use ghostscript with CUPS at all.  I have a few print servers connected
> to native Postscript printers (between myself and my clients, that is)
> without ghostscript being installed at all.
> >		c.Gimp-Print, hpijs or other driver packages.
> Likewise there are lots of people who could use cups well but not need
> these graphic drivers at all.  And if we're going to be REALLY honest,
> the best hint to ensure a working printer configuration on Linux is to
> buy a printer that's easy to configure (which in my experience puts
> Lexmark laser printers first and HP inkjets second) :(.
> > Since Cups runs as a deamon process, until we switch him on with
> > /usr/sbin/cupsd, presumably he'll sit there like a good boy while all the
> > other printing requirements are checked and tested.
> >
> > A user might prefer to use cups if:
> > 1. He has networked printers.
> > 2. He has used it in his base distro - and likes it.
> > 3. He would like to see and use his all of his printer's features from a
> > gui. 4. He will be installing a full desktop and would like to integrate
> > printing. 5. He has specific printing needs related to graphics.
> >
> > A humble offering from an interested party.
> The rest of the plan sounds good, but presumably you are offering this
> as an alternative to the printing minority report, and that introduces a
> new problem:  The CUPS routine above is not likely to go out of date
> soon - that is, despite software updates you can probably still set it
> up following the same steps a couple years from now.  If you try to set
> up your own more direct printing system you will get hit in the face by
> every software update and the install hint will go out of date in
> months.
> --
> Steve Bougerolle 

Steve, it seem that you may have mixed quotes from Jeroen and I.
You are entirely right, of course about ghostscript and postscript printers - 
I have one myself. The setup I was describing would be appropiate for your
run of the mill Epson, Canon, or HP inkjet. I have found though, that even 
though these are the most prolific, there seems to be a huge misunderstanding 
about what it takes to get them to perform as advertised on a LFS system.

The ghostscript version and a set of drivers are critical. The last I checked, 
the BLFS book had no mention of drivers. This means that a new user who 
expects his HP900c to work as it did in his Red Hat system will be 
dissapointed. If you can go back and piece together my discussion with 
Jeroen, you'll see that after I bashed his template for a general LFS tip 
using PMR for getting a printer functioning, he suggested (more politely than 
I deserved) to quit griping and do something about it.

That's all this is here. My attempt to do something positive. I was simply 
suggesting a way to have Cups integrated into a printing tip in a way that 
wouldn't break Cups later (if ghostscript is needed) I have two problems with 
taking this any further. One is venue. The hints list is so overcrowded with 
cups and printing hints, that one more will just get lost. And the BLFS book 
is structured too formally to go into the depth that may be  required for a 
full discussion.

The other is that, although I have some knowledge of printing, I don't 
consider myself an expert, so I may not be qualified. You, on the other hand
don't seem to suffer from this encumbrance : )  Perhaps you could help put 
together something?

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