Setting up a Printer Under Fedora Core

Setting up a Printer Under Fedora Core

In this section, we walk you through printer setup under Fedora Core. You can connect a printer directly to the Fedora Core machine through a parallel, serial, or USB port. You could also connect a printer across a network over another type of print spooler or through another operating system, such as HPJetDirect, UNIX using Line Printer Daemon (LPD), NetWare using NCP, CUPS using IPP, or Windows using SMB. If you're installing a local printer, you might choose to share it with other users across the network.

Setting up a Printer During Installation

If you have a local printer that connects to your machine through the parallel, serial, or USB port and you have not yet installed Fedora Core Linux, make sure that the printer is connected when you begin installation. The kudzu utility may identify and configure your printer automatically if it is plugged in during the installation process.


This works best with relatively new and widely available printers. During one Fedora Core installation during the writing of this book, we connected an old DeskJet 722C printer to the parallel port. It was properly detected and configured during Fedora installation.

Even if kudzu identifies and configures your printer during installation, you should check the Printer Configuration tool once the system restarts. Use Printer Configuration to make sure that the printer was installed properly. If there are special functions available for your printer, you can configure them at this point.

Using Red Hat's Printer Configuration Tool

If you have already installed Fedora Core or Red Hat Linux on your machine and now want to add a printer to the system, the process is slightly more involved. One of the easiest ways to install a printer on a Red-Hat-based system is to use the Printer Configuration tool. Follow these steps:

  1. From the Red Hat menu, select System SettingsPrinting or issue the command redhat-config-printer. Supply the root password when prompted.

  2. The main Printer Configuration window appears (Figure).

  3. Click the New button. The Add A New Print Queue window appears (Figure).

  4. Click the Forward button. The Queue Type window appears. In this window, enter a name and description for the printer. The name is required; the description is optional, but quite helpful if you have multiple printers on this network.

  5. Click Forward. In the next window, you must enter a queue type (Figure). Choose from several different types of queues describing local and several types of network connections. In this example, we chose a Networked CUPS queue. When you have made your selection, the screen changes so that you can enter the name or IP address of the print server, and the path to the queue (Figure).

  6. Click Forward. A new Printer Configuration window appears, the Printer Model screen. Here, you can select the make and model of your printer. Use the drop-down box to select the make, and that manufacturer's models will appear in the following frame (Figure). Select the appropriate model.

  7. Click Forward. The final screen appears, containing the information you entered previously. If anything here is not correct, use the Back button to step back through the sequence and change the information. If the information is correct, click Finish.


    You will be prompted to print a test page. This is usually a good idea, but if you don't want to at this point, you can always print one later using the main window's Test menu.

  8. At this point, the printer should appear in the listing in the main Printer Configuration window (Figure). Assuming the test page printed successfully, the printer is configured and ready for use.

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Figure: Use the Printer Configuration tool to set up a new printer.
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Figure: Begin the printer configuration wizard in the Add A New Print Queue window.
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Figure: Select the appropriate queue type for this printer.
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Figure: Once you've selected a queue type, provide specific information about your print server.
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Figure: Identify your particular printer in the drop-down menu.
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Figure: Once the printer appears in the main Printer Configuration window, it is ready to go.

Adding a Printer using the CUPS Web Configuration Tool

If you prefer to use a web tool, you can configure a printer with the CUPS web configuration tool. This is particularly useful if you are at a remote machine on the network. The CUPS daemon runs a small web server that listens on port 631, so be sure that you have configured that port appropriately if you want to use this service. If you have blocked this port while configuring a firewall with iptables, you will need to unblock it before using this tool.

To use the CUPS tool, follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser, and type http://localhost:631 into the location bar. If you are working remotely, replace localhost with the correct IP address. The CUPS configuration main page loads (Figure).

  2. Click Do Administration Tasks. The Administration page loads.

  3. Click Add Printer. The Add New Printer page loads (Figure). On this page, add the name, location (IP or DNS name), and an optional description of the printer.

  4. Click Continue. The Device page loads. On this page, use the drop-down box to choose the type of device that the printer is attached to. In this case, we selected Internet Printing Protocol (ipp) (Figure).

  5. Click Continue. On the next page, you must add the URI for the printer. Several examples are shown. Enter the URI that describes the location and queue, as shown in Figure.

  6. Click Continue. On the next page, select the make of your printer.

  7. Click Continue. On the next page, select the model of your printer and the appropriate driver.

  8. Click Continue. You should see a message that the printer has been added successfully.

  9. Click Printers in the navigation bar. In the list that appears, you should see the new printer listed (Figure). You can now print a test page, using the button under the printer's icon. If the test page prints successfully, the printer is ready to go.

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Figure: You can configure a printer through the CUPS web tool.
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Figure: Provide the details of the new printer on the Add New Printer page.
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Figure: Choose the appropriate protocol used by your printer.
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Figure: Define the printer with a URI that describes its specifications.
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Figure: If the printer appears in the list, it has been configured properly.

In general, Red Hat recommends using the Printer Configuration tool. However, the CUPS interface is good for configuring additional printer connections using Internet Printing Protocol (http and ipp) and for managing printer classes.

There are a few things to keep in mind while using the CUPS web-based printer interface:

  • You need the root password to do CUPS administration.

  • To allow remote administrative access, you must change these lines in the /etc/cups/ cupsd.conf file:

    <Location /admin>
    AuthType Basic
    AuthClass System
    Order Deny,Allow
    Deny From All
    Allow From
  • You can add more Allow From lines to let other hosts (names or IP addresses) have access to CUPS administration on your server.


In general, it's best to choose one printing administration interface and stick with it. Sometime hand-editing configuration files or using an alternate graphical user interface (GUI) tool can make the new entries unreadable by other GUI tools.

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