System Administration Guide: Printing

Printer Definitions

The following sections describe each printer definition you can set with Solaris Print Manager:

Printer Name

When adding a printer to a system, you specify a printer name for the printer.

A printer name must adhere to these guidelines:

Establish a naming convention that works for your site. For example, if you have different types of printers on the network, including the printer type as part of the printer name can help users choose an appropriate printer. For instance, you could identify PostScript printers with the letters PS. However, if all of the printers at your site are PostScript printers, you would not need to include the initials PS as part of the printer name.

Printer Server

The print server is the system that has a local printer connected to it and makes the printer available to other systems on the network.

Printer Description

You can assign a description to a printer by using the lpadmin -D command or by using Solaris Print Manager. The printer's description should contain information that helps users identify the printer. You might include the room number where the printer is located, the type of printer, the manufacturer, or the name of the person to call if printing problems occur.

Users can view a printer description by using the following command:

$ lpstat -D -p printer-name

Printer Port

When you initially install a printer, or later change its setup, you can specify the device, or the printer port, to which the printer is connected. You can use either Solaris Print Manager or the lpadmin -p printer-name -v device-name command to specify the device or printer port.

Most systems have two serial ports, plus a parallel port or USB ports. Unless you add ports, you cannot directly connect more than two serial printers and a parallel printer, or two USB printers, to one system.

You can select the following printer port types by using Solaris Print Manager. These options give you as much flexibility as using the lpadmin command.

Printer Port Type 

Corresponding Device Name Options 






/dev/printers/0 —> /dev/ecpp0



Specify any port name that the print server recognizes 


The LP print service initializes the printer port by using the settings from the standard printer interface program. For more information about printer interface programs, see Administering Print Filters. If you have a parallel printer or a serial printer for which the default settings do not work, see Adjusting Printer Port Characteristics.

x86 only –

If you use multiple ports on an x86 based system, only the first port is enabled by default. The second port, and any subsequent ports, are disabled by default. To use more than one port, you must manually edit the device driver port configuration file for each additional asy (serial) port or ecpp (parallel) port. The path names for the x86 port configuration files are the following:



Printer Type

The printer type is a generic name for a type of printer. Printer type identifies the terminfo database entry that contains various control sequences for the printer. By convention, printer type is usually derived from the manufacturer's model name. For example, the printer type name for the DECwriter printer is decwriter. However, the common printer type PS does not follow this convention. PS is used as the printer type for many models of PostScript printers, such as the Apple LaserWriterI and Apple LaserWriterII printers. For more information about the terminfo database, see The terminfo Database.

You can specify the printer type by using the lpadmin -T command or Solaris Print Manager.

File Content Type

In this Oracle Solaris release, to assign the file content type printer definition by using Solaris Print Manager, first deselect the Use PPD files default attribute in the Print Manager drop-down menu in Solaris Print Manager. You cannot select a file content type if you use PPD files. The default file content type for printers that are associated with PPD files is PostScript. This file content type is automatically set by the tool. You can also specify file content type by using the lpadmin -I command.

Print filters convert the content type of a file to a content type that is acceptable to the destination printer. The file content type tells the LP print service the type of file contents that can be printed directly, without any filtering. To print without filtering, the necessary fonts must also be available in the printer. You must set up and use filtering for other types of files.

Most printers can print directly the following types of files:

When submitting a file for printing, the user can indicate the content type of the file by using the lp -T content-type command. If no file content type is supplied when the request is submitted, the LP print service checks the first file in the request to determine the content type. If the file begins with ^D%! or %!, the request is considered to contain PostScript data. Otherwise, the request is assumed to contain simple (ASCII) text. The LP print service uses the file content type to determine which filters to use to convert the file contents into a type the printer can handle.

When you are not specifying PPD files, Solaris Print Manager provides a list of file content types from which you can choose when you install or modify an attached or network-attached printer. The choices are translated to the names that the LP print service uses. The following table describes the file content types that you can choose with Solaris Print Manager.

Table 12–1 Choosing File Content Type With Solaris Print Manager When Not Using PPD Files

File Contents Choice 

LP Print Service Name 




PostScript files do not require filtering.  



ASCII files do not require filtering. 

Both PostScript and ASCII 

simple, postscript

PostScript files and ASCII files do not require filtering. 



All files require filtering, except those files that match the printer's type. 



No filtering is required. If the printer cannot handle a file content type directly, the file will not be printed. 

Choose the file content type that best matches the printer's capabilities. PostScript is the default choice in Solaris Print Manager and is probably correct most of the time. PostScript means that filtering is not needed for PostScript files.

Printer Make

When you set up a printer with PPD files, the printer make is the name of the manufacturer of the printer. The printer make is found on the printer itself, and on the packaging materials and documentation that is shipped with the printer.

The following are examples of printer makes that are available in this release:

Printer Model

The printer manufacturers produce several types and models of printers. When you set up a printer with PPD files, the printer model defines the printer precisely. The model is usually stamped on the front or top of the printer. This information is also displayed on the packaging materials and documentation that is shipped with the printer.

The following are examples of printer models that are available in this release:

Printer Driver

The printer driver is determined when you select the PPD file for the specified printer make and printer model.

Printer Destination

This printer definition specifies the host name, IP address, or URI of the target printer. This definition applies to network-attached printers only.

Printer URIs can be specified by using the following formats:

Network Protocol

This printer definition specifies the protocol to be used between the print server and the printer. The current choices are the BSD, TCP and URI network protocols. This printer definition applies to network-attached printers only.

Fault Notification

This printer definition is used to specify whether a notification is sent when a printer fault is detected, and how the notification should be sent.

Default Printer

The default printer is the printer that the print system commands use when a printer is not specified on the command line or in by using a printing tool. For more information about using LP print commands to set up a default printer destination, see Setting Up a Default Printer Destination by Using LP Print Commands.

Banner Page

The banner page is the first sheet that is printed when on a print job is requested. The banner page can be set to always print, optionally print, or never print. For more information about using LP print commands to specify banner page options, see Printing Banner Pages by Using LP Print Commands.

User Access List

The user access list specifies a list of users are allowed to print from the specified print server. For more information about using LP print commands to limit user access to a printer, see Limiting User Access to a Printer by Using LP Print Commands.

Printer Class

A printer class is a collection of printers. Print requests that go to a class of printers are handled by the first available printer in that class. For more information about using LP print command to define printer classes, see Setting Up Printer Classes by Using LP Print Commands.

Fault Recovery

You can find out about printing faults so that you can correct the problem. Fault recovery options are defined by using the lpadmin command with the -F option. For more information about using LP print commands to set up fault recovery, see Setting Up Printer Fault Recovery by Using LP Print Commands.