CUPS: Common UNIX Printing System

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9780672321962: CUPS: Common UNIX Printing System

The Common UNIX Printing System is quickly becoming the standard printing solution for Linux. This book provides you with detailed instructions on using, administering, and programming for the Common UNIX Printing System. In addition to the CUPS software, this book includes information and online downloads of many popular add-ons to CUPS that provide enhanced graphical interfaces and printer drivers.

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Review:

One of the problems with Unix is its spotty support for printers. Before the advent of the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS), a particular printer needed a driver for, say, System V Unix, and a separate driver for FreeBSD. The problem has become particularly pronounced now that Linux is becoming more popular as a desktop operating system, where it competes with Windows and other operating systems under which printer installation is pretty easy. CUPS installs on all major Unix and Linux flavors, and handles the interface between printer and operating system. Driver writers can, therefore, write for CUPS and not worry about what's underneath. CUPS: Common Unix Printing System is first on the scene with CUPS documentation for installers, administrators, users, and programmers. It represents good work and is a worthwhile guide and reference that goes beyond freely available online documentation.

Some readers may be disappointed that certain procedural parts of this book--notably that which has to do with compiling CUPS into the Unix kernel from source code--are exclusively Linux based. You can extrapolate other Unix flavors' procedures from the Unix instructions, but explicit how-to information would be nice. However, explanatory information on the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP, on which CUPS is based) is nicely written, and the CUPS documentation itself--particularly the instructions for developing printer drivers (in C) is excellent. Read this if you want to develop printer drivers for what's likely to become a standard on consumer Linux distributions. --David Wall

Topics covered: The Common Unix Printing System (CUPS) and the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) that underlies it. Though CUPS installation and its user interface are covered, the real value of this book is in the author's picking apart of IPP transactions and the CUPS API for programmers writing printer drivers. The drivers section devotes special attention to HP PCL and PostScript document handling.

About the Author:

Michael Sweet is co-owner of Easy Software Products, a small software firm specializing in Internet and printing technologies. He first started using a computer terminal at the age of 6 and sold his first program at age 12. Michael's obsession with printing and graphics led him to develop image printing software for dot-matrix and later inkjet printers. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in computer science from the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica/Rome, he moved to Maryland to pursue a career in real-time computer graphics for the Navy. After a few years working for the Navy, he again began writing printer drivers. He released a freeware program called "topcl", and then went on to found Easy Software Products and develop the highly successful ESP Print software. In 1997 he began work on the Common UNIX Printing System, and in 1999, his company released CUPS under the GNU GPL and ESP Print Pro as a commercial product. Aside from writing printer drivers, Michael is also author or co-author of several books, including Serial Programming Guide for POSIX Operating Systems and OpenGL Superbible.

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