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Printing with FREESCO

FREESCO comes with a built-in print server. This makes it possible to connect one or several printers to your FREESCO. These printers will then be accessible from all computers in your LAN. This tutorial describes how to setup FREESCO as a print server, handling two printers.

Setting up the print server is a three-step process.

  1. Connect your printers and verify they print correctly
  2. Configure your FREESCO to act as a print server
  3. Configure your clients to use FREESCO when printing.

The process is rather straight forward and shouldn't cause much problem.

Connect your printers

You need to know the names of the printer ports. Since 035 this can easily be looked up from the main menu. Log in to your FREESCO as a super user and start the setup program. From the main menu, select "h" (Detect hardware). FREESCO will display information about some of the hardware it has detected. If any printer ports are detected they will be displayed. The output from my machine includes

/dev/lp1 at 0x0378
/dev/lp0 at 0x03bc

Now you know that names of your printer ports (in my case /dev/lp0 and /dev/lp1). Connect the printers to your FREESCO. When done, turn them on and ensure they are loaded with paper. At the prompt of your FREESCO type:

[root@Freesco] echo "lp0" > /dev/lp0
[root@Freesco] echo "lp1" > /dev/lp1

If your printers are working correctly, the text "lp0" should be printed on one and "lp1" on the other. Now you know which printer that is connected to which port.

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Configure your FREESCO

Now it is time to configure FREESCO to handle your printers. Each printer connected to your FREESCO has two print queues; one that does not print a job separator page ('raw' queue) and one that do print a job separator page ('feed' queue). For each printer you configure you specify a name for each of these queues. When configuring the clients later on, you specify which printer to use by giving the name of the queue. To start the setup process, start the setup program and select "advanced settings". From the Advanced Settings Menu select setting 46 Print Server. The setup of the print server starts.

        Configure one, or up to ten printers here. The client must
        support UNIX style LPR printing (Native LPR printing from Linux, 
        Microsoft TCP/IP printing for Windows NT or a 3rd party client for
        Standard port number is 515 for Linux, NT, Win2k, and XP.
        Available device ports are lp1 lp0 cua0 cua1
        Feed queue is a name that prints a separator page between print jobs.
        Raw queue is a name that does not print a separator page.

        NOTE:   A different feed and/or raw queue MUST be assigned for each
        printer. Multiple queues can be assigned for the same device.

        WARNING:y - Enable service worldwide (insecure)
                s - Enable service locally (secure recommended)
                n - Disable service

        NOTE:   If you have port forwarding on port (515), you must
                not use secure modes.

46 Enable Print Server (y/s/n) [n]?

The print server should be run as a local service so change the default by entering a "s" and press Enter.

46 Print server port number [515]?

515 is the default port and it should not be changed. Just press Enter to continue.

460  Printer #0 device port [lp1]?

Here you specify which printer port your first printer is connected to. In my case my first printer port is lp0 so I change the default value to lp0. That way I know that printer #0 is on lp0.

460 Feed queue #0 name [feed0]?

Here you specify the name of the 'feed' queue for this port. The default is fine so just hit Enter.

460 Raw queue #0 name [raw0]?

Here you specify the name of the 'raw' queue for this port. The default is fine so just hit Enter here too.

460 Do you want to print out a test page (y/n) [n] 

Here you have the possibility to print a test page. The default is to not print a page, but if you want to try your printer, type 'y' and press Enter. A nice test page is printed. Once the page is printed, the setup continues:

461  Printer #1 device port []?

Now it is time to specify the next port which in my case is lp1. Enter the name of the port and hit Enter.

461 Feed queue #1 name []?

Once again it is time to give the name of the 'feed' queue but now for lp1. I follow the same format that was used for lp0 and give this queue the name "feed1"

461 Raw queue #1 name []?

This is the name of the 'raw' queue for lp1. I give this queue the name "raw1".

461 Do you want to print out a test page (y/n) [n] 

Once again you have the possibility of printing a test page. Do your choice and hit Enter. Now you are asked about the port used for printer #2:

462  Printer #2 device port []?

As there is no printer #2, just press Enter to skip this setting. This will interrupt the print server setup and you will be transferred back to the Advanced Settings Menu. Exit from the menu and save your changes. Now the print server is configured and it needs to be started. Either reboot your FREESCO or type

[root@Freesco] rc_lpd start
Starting print server...                Done  port 515

Now the print server is started. Take a look at the log to verify that the server started without problems:

[root@Freesco] cat /var/infolog | grep lpd
Apr 12 20:59:34 - lpd[1692]: lpd started.

By now you know that your printers are connected correctly and that FREESCO can print to them. You also know that the print server is up and running. Now it is time to configure the clients.

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Configure clients

The final step is to install the printers on the clients. This is done by using the LPD protocol and the process is well described in the FREESCO DokuWiki. One thing that differs from the text in the DokuWiki is that you no longer use the queue names "lp" and "nt". Instead you use the queue names you specified when you configured the print server. So when setting up the printer connected to lp0, you either specify queue "raw0" or "feed0", etc.

When setting up the clients it is a good idea to tick the "LPR byte counting enabled" checkbox (if it is available). With this option turned on, the correct job size will be written to the FREESCO log.

If the last paper of the print job gets stuck in the printer or if your printer always feed an extra paper, you use the wrong queue in the port specification. If you use the raw queue and the last paper get stuck, create a new port and specify the feed queue. If you use the feed queue and an extra paper is feed, create a new port and specify the raw queue.

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Page author: My email

Last modified: Wed Apr 16 20:51:14 CEST 2008

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