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A Guide To Linux Printing


May 31, 1999


Are you wondering how the Linux printing system works? Or maybe you just think of the process as magic. The software that handles printing under Linux is extremely flexible and this article explains how it works.


Please see some of our other Linux printing articles:
More Than HPLIP Service for Linux
Sharing Linux Printers Across Subnets
Make Your Own Holiday Cards with GIMP
Printing Your Custom GIMP Holiday Cards
TurboPrint for Linux Saves the Day-- Again



A file printed in Linux will pass through several programs. The printing request will typically originate from an application that will invoke the printing client software. The file will pass from the printing client, to the printing spooler and then through a series of filters and being finally sent to your printer. Linux's printing system was designed to make it easy to add support for network printers and a variety of formatting options. Normally all of the steps are transparent to the end user. However, a good understanding of the process helps when debugging printing problems.