Detecting printer from (k)ubuntu

Debian and Windows Shared Printing mini-HOWTO
Ian Ward
Revision History
Revision 1.6           2005-07-01            Revised by: iw
Clarified hpijs requirement, added lpinfo and lpoptions commands
Revision 1.5           2005-06-19            Revised by: iw
Added note about becoming root to execute commands
Revision 1.4           2004-01-05            Revised by: iw
Wording corrections
Revision 1.3           2003-11-18            Revised by: iw
Removed incorrect lpadmin -h usage
Revision 1.2           2003-10-03            Revised by: iw
Note about woody and gs-esp, conflict with bash's enable command and
fix for XP/2000 clients
Revision 1.1           2003-06-26            Revised by: iw
Added passwords on windows shared printers, Corrections
Revision 1.0           2003-05-15            Revised by: tmm
Initial release, reviewed by LDP
Revision 0.8           2003-04-11            Revised by: iw
converted from LaTeX
Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Getting Started
2.1. Linux Printing Components
2.2. Required Packages
2.3. CUPS Local Printer Configuration
2.4. Linux Printing Basics
3. Printing To Windows PCs
3.1. Connecting To Windows
3.2. CUPS Configuration
4. Sharing Printers With Windows PCs
4.1. Sharing Basics
4.2. Samba Configuration
4.3. CUPS Configuration
5. Troubleshooting
5.1. Failing To Connect To Windows Printers
5.2. Other Failures
6. License
1. Introduction
Debian GNU/Linux ([] is
the premier volunteer-supported Linux distribution. Unfortunately,
setting up printers in Debian can be difficult. Also, simple
step-by-step instructions for sharing printers between Windows and
Linux using the latest tools are hard to find. This HOWTO was written
to address both problems.
This HOWTO will demonstrate how to use command-line tools to configure
your Debian system for printing. It will explain how to send documents
from Linux to Windows printers and how to share Linux printers with
Windows PCs. Some troubleshooting examples are also given.
The primary url for this document is [
linux_windows_printing.html. The source Docbook/XML and EPS files for
this document may be downloaded from [] Please forward bug reports, corrections
and suggestions regarding this document to ian at excess dot org.
2. Getting Started
2.1. Linux Printing Components
The main components we will be using include:
The Common UNIX Printing System ([] http:// is a print spooler and a set of support programs for
using and administering printers.
*  Samba
Samba ([] is software that
allows non-Windows computers to act like Windows computers on a
network by implementing Windows file and printer sharing protocols.
*  Printer Drivers ([] http:// offers the largest number of printer drivers
and maintains a database of printers supported under Linux. You must
download a printer driver for each model of printer you want to use in
Linux. A printer driver consists of a PPD file and a filter program,
or only a PPD file for PostScript printers.
2.2. Required Packages
All of the required programs and libraries are part of the standard
Debian archive. You may download and install these packages with the
usual Debian packaging tools. The following is a list of packages you
CUPS server
CUPS BSD commands
CUPS client programs
foomatic-bin printer support programs
Samba SMB/CIFS server for UNIX
Samba SMB/CIFS client for UNIX
ESP Ghostscript ([]  http://
Not available as a Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (a.k.a. woody) package, use
"gs" instead.
GNU A2PS ([]
The following commands will install these packages. You will have to
become root or use sudo to execute these commands:
apt-get update
apt-get install cupsys cupsys-bsd cupsys-client foomatic-bin samba
smbclient gs-esp a2ps
Additional packages may be required for specific printers. For
example, the hpijs package must be installed for many HP InkJet,
DeskJet and LaserJet printers to function properly. The PPD files for
these printers are identified by the string hpijs in their filenames.
2.3. CUPS Local Printer Configuration
The lpadmin command is used to configure printers. The following is an
example of setting up a laser printer with CUPS. You will have to
become root or use sudo to execute these commands:
/usr/sbin/lpadmin -p Laser -v parallel:/dev/lp0 -P /root/laser.ppd
/usr/bin/enable Laser
/usr/sbin/accept Laser
/usr/sbin/lpadmin -d Laser
Please note that bash has a builtin command called enable, so bash
users must use the full path (/usr/bin/enable) to enable printers.
The first command creates a new printer called "Laser" that is
connected to the first parallel port and is using the PPD file
/root/laser.ppd. "Laser" is then enabled and told to accept jobs with
the enable and accept commands. The last command sets "Laser" as the
default printer.
If your printer is connected to a USB port or if you do not know the
correct device-uri for your printer try running /usr/sbin/lpinfo -v
to get a list of available printer devices.
Make sure your printer's page size and other options are set correctly
by running /usr/bin/lpoptions -l. More detailed information about
printer configuration is available in the CUPS documentation.
2.4. Linux Printing Basics
Figure 1. Printing Locally
Documents are spooled by using either lpr or lp followed by the file
You may view the printer queue and check the printer status with the
command lpstat -o or lpstat -p. To cancel a print job use either
cancel or lprm followed by the job id.
The CUPS spooler daemon is called cupsd. It converts documents to
PostScript, then converts them to a format native to the printer
Figure 1.
Printers that do not understand PostScript use a rasterized, or
bitmap, format for documents. Rasterized formats can be much larger
than the original PostScript, and will take longer to send to the
Filters are programs used to convert documents from one format to
The CUPS spooler will do its best to find a suitable filter for the
documents you send. If no filter suitable for converting your document
is installed you will receive an error similar to lpr: unable to print
Many applications do not include filters for their documents formats.
Documents created with these applications can only be printed from
within the application itself, unless the document is exported to
PostScript or another standard format.
3. Printing To Windows PCs
3.1. Connecting To Windows
Figure 2. Network Printing
SMB and CIFS are the Windows file and printer sharing protocols. We
use Samba to speak to the Windows PCs using these protocols. Before
configuring CUPS we should make sure we can connect to the Windows PC
with smbclient, the Samba SMB/CIFS client Figure 2.
The following is an example of creating a connection to a Windows PC:
/usr/bin/smbclient -L rice -U fred
added interface ip= bcast= nmask=
Got a positive name query response from ( )
Password: (not shown)
Sharename  Type  Comment
INKJET     Printer
STUFF      Disk
IPC$       IPC    Remote Inter Process Communication
The command shown asks for a list of shares on a Windows PC named
"rice", with the user id "fred". The result shows a printer named
If Windows naming service is unavailable you will need to specify the
IP address of the Windows PC with the -I switch as in:
/usr/bin/smbclient -I -L rice -N
For more information see the Samba documentation about smbclient
3.2. CUPS Configuration
Once you have found a Windows printer you may configure CUPS. First
verify that your installation of CUPS has the smb backend with the
following command:
ls -l /usr/lib/cups/backend/smb
If this file does not exist create it by issuing the following:
ln -s `which smbspool` /usr/lib/cups/backend/smb
The following is an example of setting up the printer shown above.
You will have to become root or use sudo to execute these commands:
/usr/sbin/lpadmin -p RicePrinter -v smb://fred:mypass@rice/INKJET  \\
-P /root/inkjet.ppd
/usr/bin/enable RicePrinter
/usr/sbin/accept RicePrinter
/usr/sbin/lpadmin -d RicePrinter
As mentioned above, bash has a builtin command called enable, so bash
users must use the full path (/usr/bin/enable) to enable printers.
The "lpadmin" command sets up a the shared Windows printer by giving
the username, password, netbios name and printer name as a single
parameter. See Section 2.3 for a further explanation of the commands
Your printer is now ready to test. Send a file to the printer with the
lp command followed by a filename, or by printing a document from
within an application.
4. Sharing Printers With Windows PCs
4.1. Sharing Basics
Figure 3. Printer Sharing
Samba uses nmbd and smbd daemons to share files and printers with
Windows PCs. nmbd acts as a Windows naming service, broadcasting your
computer's name to Windows PCs on the LAN. smbd accepts file and
printer requests from Windows PCs Figure 3.
You will need to download and install Windows printer drivers for each
Linux printer you are sharing. Windows printer drivers can be found by
searching the web site of your printer manufacturer.
4.2. Samba Configuration
If you are allowing anonymous access to your printer you will need to
create a user account for remote print jobs:
/usr/sbin/adduser --system --disabled-password smbprint
This command adds a user called "smbprint" to your system. Make sure
there is enough disk space in /home/smbprint, the "smbprint" user's
home directory, to spool files. Check that the "smbprint" user does
not have permission on your system to read or modify sensitive files
and directories. If you have configured CUPS to restrict printing to
certain users on your system, you must allow the "smbprint" user to
access printers you want to share.
The Samba configuration file is /etc/samba/smb.conf. The following is
an example configuration file set up to use CUPS with the "smbprint"
printcap name = cups
printing = cups
security = share
browseable = yes
printable = yes
public = yes
create mode = 0700
guest only = yes
use client driver = yes
guest account = smbprint
path = /home/smbprint
Please note that this configuration will allow printing by anyone that
can make a network connection to your computer and is not recommended
for computers on untrusted networks, such as computers with direct
Internet connections. If you need to implement access control, set
 security = user or security = domain and read the Samba man pages for
further information.

Once you have added the above settings to your Samba configuration
file you must restart Samba with the command:
/etc/init.d/samba restart
4.3. CUPS Configuration
Windows printer drivers format their output for the printer before
sending it across the network. You must configure CUPS to accept the
pre-formatted output by uncommenting the following line from
application/octet-stream   application/vnd.cups-raw   0   -
Also uncomment the following line from /etc/cups/mime.types:
Now CUPS must be told to allow connections from other machines on the
network. Add these lines to /etc/cups/cupsd.conf:
AuthType None
Order Deny,Allow
Deny From None
Allow From All
As in the Samba configuration, this configuration allows any computer
to connect to your printers and is not recommended for computers on
untrusted networks. For information about tightening access control to
your printers, see the cupsd.conf man page and the CUPS documentation.
Finally, restart cups with the following command:
/etc/init.d/cupsys restart
Your Linux printers should now be shared to Windows PCs on the LAN.
Follow the usual steps for adding a network printer to your Windows
PCs, and remember to print a test page.
5. Troubleshooting
5.1. Failing To Connect To Windows Printers
When smbspool, the smbclient utility CUPS uses, fails to connect
properly it emits error messages that are humorous but not very
helpful. One such message is Unable to connect to SAMBA host: Success.
Another sign of connection failures is when documents seem to get
stuck on the queue when printing to Windows printers.
View the most recent entries in the CUPS log with the following
/usr/bin/tail /var/log/cups/error_log
If you see a message similar to cli_connect() failed... then smbspool
could not find the Windows PC you are trying to connect to. Check the
spelling of the Windows PC's host name. Check that the Windows PC is
turned on and that its network connection is functioning properly.
Make sure you can connect to it using smbclient as shown in Section
If you see a message similar to SMB tree connect failed: ERRSRV -
ERRinvnetname then smbclient connected to the Windows PC but could not
connect to the printer you requested. Check the spelling of the shared
printer using smbclient as shown in Section 3.1.
5.2. Other Failures
Other failures include being unable to print to a local printer and
having your print jobs disappear from the queue without being printed.
You may also see vague error messages such as Child process 2384
exited with status 32.
Increase CUPS' logging level to "debug" to see more messages about
what happened before the print job failed.
1.  Open the main CUPS configuration file /etc/cups/cupsd.conf in a
text editor.
2.  Change the line that reads "LogLevel warn" to "LogLevel debug".
3.  Save the configuration file and exit the text editor.
4. Restart the CUPS server with the command:
/etc/init.d/cupsys restart
You can follow the CUPS log with the following command:
/usr/bin/tail -f /var/log/cups/error_log
You should see a line that reads Scheduler shutting down due to
This indicates that the CUPS server was stopped successfully.
Send your print job again and watch for useful debug messages that
One example of a useful debug message is GNU Ghostscript 7.05: Can't
start ijs server 'hpijs'. In this case the solution is to install the
"hpijs" package.
If you cannot determine the cause of the failure, do an Internet
search for key terms in error messages you see; it is likely that
someone has solved your problem before. You may also try upgrading the
packages listed in Section 2.2 to their latest versions.
6. License
Copyright © 2003 Ian Ward.
This manual is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any
later version.
This is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without
any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or
fitness for a particular purpose. See the GNU General Public License
for more details.
A copy of the GNU General Public License is available as /usr/share/
common-licenses/GPL in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution or on the
World Wide Web at You can also
obtain it by writing to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple
Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.