Apple Inc, is seen by many in the open source world as a power hungry and closed technology company. Although it might be the case to some extent, Apple has in fact contributed quite some open source code. The Darwin kernel based on FreeBSD, Webkit which is a open source browser engine and CUPS web utility to name a few are some of the projects Apple has released under GPL. The CUPS web utility is one project that many Linux users simply can’t live without. Based on the Internet Printing Protocol (IIP), CUPS has become a standard printing service in many Linux distros, especially the ones that are based no Debian. Many Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary OS, etc are now bundled with the Common Unix Printing System. It was originally developed for Mac OS X and since it was made open source is now used by UNIX like operating systems.
If ou are using a Linux computer and wish to print from it, you should make use of CUPS to configure your printer. Let us take a look at how you can connect a printer with this print server.
- 1. Most of the popular Linux operating system are pre-loaded with CUPS. To check if your Linux box has CUPS, open up a browser and load the following address, http://localhost:631/
If you get a page that looks something like in the image above, congratulations, you already have CUPS in your system. If you get an error, you should probably install it. For Ubuntu and and its derivative, you can use the following code to install it.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cups
You should also check if all the CUPS dependensies are also installed and check its status.
dpkg -l cups
service cups status
- 2. Once you have CUPS installed, visit the address mentioned above from your favorite web browser. Under administrator click on Add Printers and Classes. In the next page click on Add printers and you will have a page that looks like this. You might be asked to enter your username and password to security reasons.
Image source: https://db.tt/VnVXRJy0
Choose “Internet Printing Protocol (https)” or “HP Printer (HPLIP)” if you have an HP machine. You can also use the https method to install your HP Printer.
- 3. In the next page you will be required to add an IP address. This is the IP address of your printer. The IP of your printer could be easily found out using the following terminal commands.
If the printer is connected to a server the IP address of the server is going to the the IP of the printer, as well. It could look something like this, socket://10.34.23.21, along with the port number if need be.
- 4. You will now be asked for a Name, Description and Location of the printer. You can enter whatever you want in this these fields and also choose sharing option.
- 5. In the next page, you will be able to choose your printer using the Make and Model name. If you don’t find your model in the printer, you can use your PPD file to configure the machine. Most of the PPD files could be downloaded from the printer manufacturers support website, a simple Google search will help you find the necessary PPDs. Once you have downloaded the PPD, you can browse to the folder using the CUPS interface and add the printer.
- 6. Once the printer has been added, you can find your printer in the CUPS home page, using the following address http://localhost:631/
The machine is now ready for printing. You can now configure it, and queue jobs. Using the above steps, you will be able to add multiple printers to your Linux machine.
With the help of CUPS, installing a printer in a Linux machine is not as intimidating as it used to be in the old days even though you might have to use the terminal a couple of times. However on the downside, it might be impossible for you to find the ink level in your printer directly from the machine, like how you could do it with proprietary software provided by the manufacturer for Windows. So the next time you are buying printer ink, make sure you buy more supplies from Ink Station and Amazon for backup.