Printing in Amigo Linux: Fine-tuning your printing set-up

Amigo Linux Printing How-To:

Fine-tuning your printing set-up

Introduction  |  Printer set-up  |  Software installation  |  Fine-tuning  |  Endnotes

1.  Installing and using other printers

The first printer you installed was your default printer, but you can install as many as you want. Just go through the same procedure again as described before. A "different printer" may in fact be the same physical printer, but printing with different options, e.g. with a different resolution.

For example, my default printer is an Epson Stylus Color 760 with the driver option "Any Epson Stylus Color, 360x360dpi", called EpsonStcAny36 in xpqd. This works nicely for text and line graphs. It produces typical postscript-raster greys. For images I sometimes prefer to use another driver option, which I have installed as a second printer called Epson760_36 in xpdq (see below for details). This produces random dithered greys.

You can specify the printer you want to use for a particular job on the command line. In my case, if I wanted to use the second printer, I would issue the command

pdq -P Epson760_36

2.  Fine-tuning your printer driver

My experience is with the Ghostcript uniprint driver and Epson driver options. Thus I hope that my notes will give you some ideas, but they may not apply exactly to your situation.

When I go into "Driver options" in xpdq, there is no Epson Stylus Color 760 printer listed. In fact, a particular option Y is implemented by pdq telling Ghostscript to use the printer description file Y.upp in /usr/share/ghostscript/7.07/lib. It turns out that this directory does contain not one but TWO *.upp files for the Epson Stylus Color 760 printer, called Stc760p.upp and Stc760pl.upp ! So I looked at the list of printers in the uniprint driver options and picked one that I would certainly not use, say XYZ.upp. Next I made a back-up of the original XYZ.upp and copied the original Stc760pl.upp to XYZ.upp. Then I installed a new printer in xpdq using the XYZ driver option, and now I can print on one physical Epson Stylus Color 760 printer using one of two printing modes.

3.  Drag-and-drop printing from ROX

Printing from the command line is cumbersome. But is is easy to set up drag-and-drop printing from the ROX filer. Just write a brief script for your default printer,

pdq $1
make it executable, and put a symbolic link pointing to it onto your ROX desktop. Now you can drag-and-drop a postscript file from ROX onto your printer shortcut, and pdq will do the rest.

Of course you can do the same thing for every other printer you have installed in xpqd. At this point, printing in Amigo Linux is almost convenient!

4.  Printing with pdq in place of lpr

You will notice that many applications, for example the gv Ghostcript viewer, use the lpr command for printing by default. lpr would be in /usr/bin if you were using the lpr spooler and printing system. You can pretend to use lpr by creating a symbolic link named lpr in /usr/bin that points to the pdq binary. Then issuing the command lpr means you execute pdq.

5.  Printing a text file

In Linux printing, even a text file has to converted into postscript first before it can be printed. If you have a need for printing text files, you may want to install a program called enscript that does the text-to-postscript conversion. Download and install

Then create the script
# -1 means print 1 column
# -B means print no header
# -f fontname sets printer font; default is Courier10 (10 point)
# -p file (-p- means stdout)
# --word-wrap sets word wrap to on for printing
# --margins=l:r:t:b sets margins in ps points
enscript -1 -B -p- --word-wrap --margins=72:60:60:60 $1 | pdq
Change the options as it suits you, make your script executable, and put a shortcut to it onto the ROX desktop. Now you can do drag-and-drop printing of text files.

C. Steinbrüchel (2005)

Introduction  |  Printer set-up  |  Software installation  |  Fine-tuning  |  Endnotes