Printing with VectorLinux 6.0


1. Pre-Installation check
2. Install & Configure your printer using CUPS
3. Printing to Windows server via SAMBA
4. Sharing Your Printer with Windows via SAMBA
  4.1. Setting up SAMBA
  4.2. CUPS configuration 

1. Pre-Installation Check

Some printer manufacturers have made more efforts to support Linux than others. This support takes the form of either releasing Linux-specific drivers or at least releasing crucial hardware data to the Linux community so others can write the necessary drivers. Two manufacturers who have excelled are Hewlett Packard and Brother. Others are improving their Linux support. To date probably the least Linux-friendly manufacturer has been Lexmark. Before purchasing or enabling a printer please check that it is supported by Linux at the "OpenPrinting" website. "Most" printers now manufactured do work with Linux but there are some exceptions - the website above is definitive.

If you have a parallel port printer you should have enabled the parallel port during the install process. If you did not do this go to VASM, SUPER, HARDWARE, HWSET, enable parallel. If you have a newer HP printer you should check that either the hpijs and/or hplip packages have been installed to your system - if not then install them (use "gslapt"). If you have a printer which requires a special driver you must install this driver prior to launching the CUPS configuration steps (below). The website above will point you in the right direction. Please ensure you follow the driver install directions exactly or it is unlikely you will magically get your printer to work.

If you are going to use a printer on a Windows server you should check if the printer is available (see the section "Printing to Windows Servers via Samba").


2. Install & Configure your printer using CUPS

Open your web browser of choice and in its address bar type:


Choose "Do Administration Tasks" and then enter "root" as username and root´s password at the prompt.

To add a printer, select "Add Printer" and answer questions as required. If your printer is a USB printer you should see the USB device and the printer name in the drop down devices list. For a parallel port printer you normally select "#LPT1" from the device list.

When this is complete you should test the printer. (Select Printers and then select Print Test Page). You may open your browser and enter the CUPS server page (as described above) whenever needed to administer your printer(s). The CUPS help pages also contain very useful documentation. If you are going to use a printer on a Windows server (or a Linux Server which supports SAMBA) see the section "Printing to Windows Servers via SAMBA" below.


3. Printing to Windows Servers via SAMBA

(Adapted From CUPS Software Admin Manual)

One way to print to a printer on a Windows Server is through the Microsoft Server Message Block ("SMB") protocol. Support for this protocol is provided with the free SAMBA software package. This is included in the base install of VectorLinux v6.

If you are going to use a printer on a Windows server ensure that you can access the server with the printer and determine share name via smbclient:

/usr/bin/smbclient -L server -U user

where server is name of the server and user is a login name on the server.

You should get something like:

added interface ip= bcast= nmask=
Got a positive name query response from ( )
Password: (not shown)

Sharename Type Comment
INKJET Printer
IPC$ IPC Remote Inter Process Communication

In this case the sharename is INKJET.

Before you proceed with the printer installation, check to see if there exists a symbolic link smb in the directory /usr/lib/cups/backend/. (If you installed CUPS using the preceding instructions the link should exist). If it is not there, you will need to create it by running the following command:

ln -s `which smbspool` /usr/lib/cups/backend/smb
ln -s /usr/bin/smbspool /usr/lib/cups/backend/smb

Notice that "which smbspool" is enclosed in back ticks, not single quotes! The back ticks will execute the command within and use the result in the ln command. The latter command works for the default installation of all versions of VectorLinux 6.0. Alternatively, you can create this link using Midnight Commander.

Once you have made the link you can configure your printer as in section 3. When prompted for device, choose "Windows Printer via SAMBA" which is near the bottom of the list of devices. When prompted for device URI set it with:


The workgroup name need only be specified if your system is using a different workgroup. The user:pass strings are required when printing to Windows NT, 2K or XP servers or to shares with passwords enabled under Windows 95 and 98.

In these cases the entry could be simplified to one of:


NOTE: The user/pass must match an existing, active account on the server.


6. Sharing Your Printer with Windows via SAMBA

(Adapted from Debian and Windows Shared Printing mini-HOWTO by Ian Ward

In this section we discuss how to set up VectorLinux to act as a print server for other printers on our network via SAMBA. It is assumed that you have your printer working locally using CUPS. We will need to make several changes to both CUPS and SAMBA configuration files.

Each of the Windows clients must have the appropriate printer drivers.

4.1 Setting up SAMBA

If you are allowing anonymous access to your printer you will need to create a user account for remote print jobs. As root (or su) do the following:

useradd -d /home/smbprint -s -m /bin/false 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. Since we have no password for the account "smbprint" we include "-s /bin/false". This causes an error if someone tries to access the system using this account. 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" user:

workgroup = WORKGROUP
printcap name = cups
printing = cups
security = share
guest account = smbprint
comment = all printers
printable = yes
guest ok = yes
create mode = 0700
guest only = yes
use client driver = yes
path = /home/smbprint
browseable = yes

The last line allows the Windows (and other SMB) clients to see the share when browsing.

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. In addition you can refer to "The Unofficial Samba HOWTO" at for further pointers.

Once you have added the above settings to your Samba configuration file you must restart Samba with the command:

/etc/rc.d/init.d/samba restart

The above assumes that script /etc/rc.d/init.d/samba exists and is executable. A copy of the script is available in the directory /etc/rc.d/init.d/sample-scripts if you have set up SAMBA to start as part of RC.M.

If SAMBA does not start at boot, one method to do this is to create symbolic links, S44samba and K55samba, to the above script in /etc/rc.d/rc2.d if you boot to text mode and /etc/rc.d/rc5.d if you boot to a GUI.

4.2 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 /etc/cups/mime.convs:

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:

<Location /printers>
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 example, if you want restrict printing to the subnet 192.168.0.* replace Allow From All with Allow From

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/rc.d/init.d/cups restart

Your Linux printers should now be accessible 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.