It is generally agreed that System V printing is
not a success, and we advocate using BSD printing wherever possible. The
Solstice Printer Administration Software now supplied as part of Solaris
2.6 is a reasonable compromise and provide an equivalent to /etc/printcap
for BSD printing. An earlier version of this is available as an option
with Solaris 2.5 and can be installed on 2.4. The file /etc/printers.conf,
can be generated directly from /etc/printcap, and therefore simplifies
automation of printer access ( see below).
However, there are still differences in the way filters are defined and stored, and each printer is required to be either generic PostScript or described in the terminfo database; this makes setting up printers more complicated than for pure BSD.
Automatic generation of printcap files
With many hosts using many printers, and some printers restricted to a few hosts and vice versa, some method of rationalising this was needed. The automatic system described below is in use at several sites and can be set up on request.
On a central system we have lists of generally available printers and restricted printers. There are also lists of hosts each with details of which of the restricted printers ( if any) it can use. Finally there are scripts for generating a printcap and appropriate spool directories on each host, for BSD printing and various other flavours. To add a printer for all hosts, one need only add it to the list of all or restricted printers, and to the lists of any hosts which are allowed to use it if it is restricted. For each host then a Makefile is run which recreates the /etc/printcap or equivalent - this has to be run actually on the host and is a good candidate for Task .
Increasingly printers are being attached to dedicated printer controllers on the Ethernet. HP's Laser Jet printers with JetDirect ethernet cards are now very popular; we provide instructions for installing this. HP publish this on the Web free to anyone who has bought a JetAdmin network card. We find this a fairly trouble-free and robust arrangement; it is better on Solaris hosts than on SunOS where unusually the System V facilities do need to be used to get double-sided printing and so on.
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