Chapter 5. Printing

Working in the Macintosh environment, you’re used to a simple and elegant printer interface, particularly in Mac OS X, where the Printer Setup Utility makes it a breeze to add new printers and configure your existing printers. Until the advent of the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS), the Unix environment has never had a printing interface that even comes close in usability. As of Mac OS X 10.3, the Printer Setup Utility and CUPS are combined in a way that brings joy to command-line and GUI lovers alike.


Add a printer with Printer Setup Utility, and you’ll have access to hundreds of different printer models that are supported in Panther. The Linux Printing archive has even more Mac OS X compatible drivers (

Formatting and Print Commands

Before you print a file on a Unix system, you may want to reformat it to adjust the margins, highlight some words, and so on. Most files can also be printed without reformatting, but the raw print out might not look quite as nice. Further, some printers accept only PostScript, which means you’ll need to use a text-to-PostScript filter such as enscript for good results. Before we cover printing itself, let’s look at both pr and enscript to see how they work.


PostScript is a page-description language from Adobe supported by some printer models. PostScript printers were once the norm among Macintosh users and are still popular. If you’re using an inexpensive USB inkjet printer or a low- to mid-range ...

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