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Sunday, September 16, 2007

CUPS Printing Problems

Been a rough week and a half. For a long time now I just
used OpenBSD to print mostly plaintext documentation to
a windows shared printer. Now I'd like to be able to print
other stuff too. Graphics, web pages, etc. I installed cups,
samba, and pnm2ppa which built okay on my system but it's
not included in the ports and packages. I downloaded it
from http://www.superbhosting.net/sourceforge.php and built
it on my OpenBSD 4.1 box. I already had foomatic-rip and
foomatic-gwrapper in /usr/local/bin so I renamed them to
stop any confusion, since cups installs foomatic-rip when
you install it cups. I finally figured out how to print to
my windows shared printer with it, but that was just the
tip of the iceberg. I couldn't stop the shearing problem
no matter what I tried when I'd try to print a web page.
And, it was running off the bottom of the page despite the
fact I had it set for letter, not a4 mode. I finally went
into firefox's page setup, unchecked the box that says to
fit to page, and manually set it to 75 percent, and told
it to print images and colors. Also, when you configure
cups from the browser interface at localhost:631 under the
printer options section, I told it to use the ordered mode
under the dithering algorithm instead of Floyd Steinberg
which promises higher quality, and set the bidirectional
printing to on for faster speed, although it says without
it you'll get better quality. Now I'm still getting some
shearing on some letters, but not too much. When I print
just a text web page like at the rfc web site, it comes
out pretty good. I'll have to learn how to do more stuff
with it from the command line. Maybe I can tweak it some
more. I downloaded a new HP-DeskJet_722C-pnm2ppa.ppd for
pnm2ppa to use for my 722C printer. The cupsd daemon man
page says the default is to run in the background as a
daemon, so all I added this to /etc/rc.local:

if [ -x /usr/local/sbin/cupsd ]; then
/usr/local/sbin/cupsd
fi

And, to run samba as a daemon, I added:

if [ -x /usr/local/libexec/smbd ]; then
/usr/local/libexec/smbd -D
fi

if [ -x /usr/local/libexec/nmbd ]; then
/usr/local/libexec/nmbd -D
fi

That did the trick. They start up fine on boot. Anyone
reading this who has some experience with the shearing
problem with cups, foomatic-rip, and pnm2ppa, please
share it if you have time. That's it for today.

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