Linux provides various user-level printing options. Traditionally, tools such as the text-mode lpr have been used to print files from the command line. Understanding how to use these and other printing and document formatting commands will enable you to print documents quickly and efficiently. A quick rundown of the enscript and nenscript utilities will help you create good-looking printouts even from basic text documents. GUI programs present their own user interfaces that you can use to control printing options from such programs. Finally, we describe some of the mechanics behind the printing system. This will help you to manage your printing sessions by giving you an understanding of how it all works, enabling you to use the system to its best effect.

Basic Linux Printing Commands

The lpr command prints a document in Linux. You might not always invoke this command directly—you may just press a Print button on some glitzy drag-and-drop graphical interface—but ultimately, printing is handled by lpr and the other print management utilities we describe here.

If you want to print a program listing, you might enter the following:

    $ lpr myprogram.c

Input is also often piped to lpr from another command, as described later. The lpr program starts the printing process by storing the data temporarily to a directory called a print spool . Other parts of the print management system, which we show you how to set up in "Managing Print Services" later in this chapter remove files from the ...

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