Convenient Linux Printing

One of the reasons I really like Mandriva Linux is that it sets up a lot of Linux applications very nicely out of the box. One of the stellar examples is the way that it sets up CUPS for printing. For instance, when I roam between, home, work, and space, the moment I attach to the network, I knows which printers are there, and those are the ones it tries to print to. I’ve got CUPS servers in all 3 places that server up a sane default, so I never have to pick a printer, and lpr does it all for me.

One of my nits with Mandiva, is I often can’t figure out exactly how it does these things. I figured out that it was using slp for subnet based broadcast (all cups servers with Broadcast enabled send these multicast packets around periodically to self configure with each other), which works fine at home, and at work if I’m wired, but doesn’t solve the whole story. The last bit of the puzzle is the use of BrowsePoll in your /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.

BrowsePoll specifies an IP:PORT that cups should try to poll for printers at the same interval as it is sending these slp packets on the network. Adding a couple of entries there, and I never have to think about printer configuration again. 🙂