Thursday, April 17, 2014

Printing in Linux

If there is an Achilles heelin Linux, it would be printing. Linux gives you many options for installing a printer and that is part of the problem. In general, CUPS is the preferred way to install a local printer.

Network printers

If you are printing to a network printer, it gets more complex. You have options such as jet direct option, Samba, IPP and CUPS. I prefer to use a network printer because anyone on a home LAN has access to the printer on a 7 x 24 basis.

In most cases I have used jet direct and printed to port 9100.

Any printer can be set-up as a network printer with a home print server. Rightardia has used both the NetGear and the Airlink print servers. Have found the Airlink 101 to be very reliable and more resistant to power surges and brownouts.

Some print servers are wireless and others require and Ethernet wired connection. The particular print server in this article require a wired USB connection to your printer.

The wireless unit  looks about the same with the exception of an antenna it sports.

The configuration is fairly straight forward. by default, the unit gets an IP address by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). You can look up the DHCP address of the print server in your router's  or cable modem's DHCP host table. 

You will notice the two Rightardia print servers print servers have host names: PS-4BA44B and PS-495EA8. You can use the your browser to configure the print server by entering the IP address of the print server into the navigation toolbar. The default login is amps230 and the password is admin for the airlink 101 for Java based configuration tool.

What the print does is create a virtual IP address for the printer connected by USB that by default is If your network has a different IP addressing scheme or you have multiple Airlink print servers, you should change the IP address of the subsequent ones. Use an IP address that is outside to the scope of the DHCP server. For example if you have two print servers on network, change the IP addresses respectively to and

Of interest, Windows networking will print to the Airlink print server name such as PS-4BA44B. This is probably the netbios name

However, Linux is more particular. After installing the printer using Jet Direct, print to printers IP addres and use a socket setting to port 9100.

The locations should be the IP address such as:

The device URL should follow this format:


In Linux, you print to the IP address of the printer rather than to the print server name.

Where is the Linux driver?

Linux printing can be a challenge because the print driver library is as not as robust as Windows. Canon printers are a  good example. The MFC 4570dn multi-function printer Rightardia uses didn't have a driver for a long time until Canon finally released one.

In addtion, the Debian Pixma IP6000dn inkjet printer driver doesn't work in curent vesions of Ubuntu and Linux Mint. However, the Fedora and Centos drivers do work.

If you cannot find a driver or one that works, one option is Turboprint.

It has many of the drivers that Linux rleases lack and has many options for Inkjet printers that are missing in Linux. However, the basic program costs € 29 and the family plan with two years of downloads is € 55.

Rightardia found Turbopirint to be an easier way to go with Linux printing. If you are printing to a Linux network printer, you will need to use the IP address of the printer rather than the print server.

You can use the command line: system-config printer, to revise the TurboPrinter options for the driver, onec installed, if necessary. The configuration using Turbo printer looks like this:

Network printer socket /jet direct (network printer connection) (IP adress)
9100 (port)

Before you prucahse Tuboprint, check to make sure the driver you need is supported: see

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