printing in slackware: using foomatic and system-config-printer
I am looking for a univeral printing solution with slackware to accomodate most printers. The printing system used by redhat-fedora and by debian-ubuntu seems in that regard quite performing.
As a first step, I would like to be using the overall foomatic system:
(foomatic-filters, foomatic-db, foomatic-db-engine, foomatic-db-nonfree, foomatic-db-compressed-ppds)
Has someone installed the overall series of package under slackware?
In a second step, I would like to install system-config-printer gui that seem more intuitive than CUPS interface. For those of you using this interface under slackware, have you been able to optimize it? Which additional packages are needed?
My personal advice is that even if it could seem pragmatic, easier to use wizards (MSWin tendency), in the long term you'll win in all levels (time, efficiency, security, portability and a long etc.) avoiding its use.
CUPS, as explained above, is what you want and what you've got by default -- for network printers, USB printers, Wi-Fi printers and, what heck, serial or parallel printers, too. About the only thing you'll be missing (maybe) is the "drivers" for some printers. That's where PPD files (shipped by some manufacturers) are needed; e.g., H-P does, Canon typically does not, some other do too.
You apparently are using Slackware. Slackware ships with HPLIP (Hewlett-Packard provides printer files for pretty much everything they make along with the HPLIP utility for setting up the CUPS interface. Canon? Nope -- got a Canon printer that's a boat anchor (or an even better door stop). Brother apparently provides appropriate stuff for theirs, seems like Epson does, too (but I dunno about that).
In all cases, CUPS does the job of making squiggles on paper and manages any practical number of network and non-network printers -- including the office-type printer/copier units you see in larger organizations (Xerox and the others). It's what CUPS is for and CUPS does an excellent job (and it just is not that difficult or tricky to set up and get going). Before you buy, make sure you're not buying a pig in a poke (that would be anything that's Windows-only), you'll regret it.
That Canon? It's a Pixma i6310D: you pay the shipping and I'll give the damned thing (it is only useful with Windows).
Hope this helps some.
Whether it be CUPS or system-config-printer, what I want is access to a database of drivers that would cover the largest number of printers, not only the printer that I would like to install for myself. The use is for the community of a small slackware based distribution called porteus. We have the intent to accomodate as much users as possible. Naive users are our main concern, though I have realised that printer accessibility is not necessarily easy for the experienced user, especially if he did not thought linux in the first place.
To cover a wide array of linux printer drivers, there are some printer drivers database. I am trying to sort out the differences between these database in terms of printer coverage. Do these database overlap much? What is the cost-benefit of the available database in terms of their size or weights and the importance (popularity) of the printers that they cover?
1) As a database, added to CUPS, gutenprint is a wise choice as a printer drivers database. It covers a wide array of manufacturers and printer models. However, I would like to get a wider coverage.
2) For hp alone, Hplip without dependencies could be a nice addition to gutenprint as it will cover more generously the array of printers produced by that manufacturer. Hp according to market studies, see:
would have 41% of market shares. Other printer manufacturers' shares would be: canon (19%), epson (14%), samsung (6%) and brother (5%) manufacturers, the rest of the printer business being shared by other manufacturers (15%)
3) There is also the foomatic system. Under slackware the binary packag currently available is foomatic-filters. From what I understand this will permit CUPS to be compatible with individual ppds. The foomatic database thru ppds will permit the access to a wide array of printers. There seems to be an advantage to have also foomatic-db (the database), but also foomatic-engine and maybe foomatic-nonfree directly on the computer, as the system-config-printer interface will take directly advantage of the database. From my understanding the foomatic system tends to have a printer coverage independent of the gutenprint database (but I am not that sure). Your comments on that would be appreciated. Would this system be complementary to the gutenprint and to the hplip databases?
I am looking for your knowledge and impressions about these databases of printer drivers concerning their complementarity and pertinency to cover user needs extensively, but at the same time efficiently. If you know of additional printer driver database, your suggestions are welcome.
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