System Administration Guide: Printing

How the Printing Software Locates Printers

The following figure highlights the part of the print process in which the printing software checks a hierarchy of printer configuration resources to determine where to send the print request.

Figure 2–2 How the Print Client Software Locates Printers

that shows the steps the print client software uses to locate
printers. Also shows the various printer sources. See the following description.

  1. A user submits a print request from a print client by using the lp or lpr command. The user can specify a destination printer name or class in any of three styles:

    • Atomic style, which is the lp command and option, followed by the printer name or class, as shown in this example:

      % lp -d neptune filename
    • POSIX style, which is the print command and option, followed by server:printer, as shown in this example:

      % lpr -P galaxy:neptune filename
    • Context-based style, as shown in this example:

      % lpr -d thisdept/service/printer/printer-name filename
  2. The print command locates a printer and printer configuration information as follows:

    • The print command checks to see if the user specified a destination printer name or printer class in one of the three valid styles.

    • If the user didn't specify a printer name or class in a valid style, the command checks the user's PRINTER or LPDEST environment variable for a default printer name.

    • If neither environment variable for the default printer is defined, the command checks the sources configured for the printers database in the /etc/nsswitch.conf file. The naming service sources might be one of the following:

      • LDAP directory information tree in the domain's ou=printers container

      • NIS printers.conf.byname map

      • NIS+ printers.conf_dir map