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Community: Improvements to LinuxPrinting.org and the Printing HOWTO

Sep 07, 2000, 16:54 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Grant Taylor)

[ Thanks to Grant Taylor for this link. ]

By Grant Taylor

I've made a variety of improvements to the LinuxPrinting website:

The Location I've moved the site from my personal pages at picante.com out to a more suitable and easier to remember domain name: http://www.linuxprinting.org.

Support Database

I've relocated the entry point for the support database; it's now http://www.linuxprinting.org /database.html. Anyone with links to the old printer_list.cgi may wish to change them; going directly there lets people bypass some of the introductory explanatory information.


I've revamped the Printing HOWTO. It's now written in DocBook SGML; this allows, among other things, illustrations and a high-quality index. See http://www.linuxprinting.org/howto/ .


I finally added a selector that lets users go directly to a specific printer. This was perhaps the most overdue change.


I've continued active development of Foomatic, a spooler-independent driver/spooler integration system. A useful level of functionality is now available, and large portions of the code have been moved out from the website into a more portable, and free, package. Execution data can now be entered by people other than me using a set of web forms; as the data is entered more and more drivers will become useful in the system. The data-to-spooler conversion code is now available for people to work with; it would be straightforward to add support for additional spoolers or fix bugs. See http://www.linuxprinting.org /foomatic.html.

Raw Data

I've created a new mechanism for software to fetch data from the database. Programs can fetch both an overview list, containing basic info (ie make, model, notes, drivers, pnp signatures, etc) on all printers, or a printer/driver data structure representing everything there is to know about using a particular printer and driver together (this structure is, of course, the magic behind foomatic). The foomatic developer snapshot includes example code for both of these new features. I plan to switch to an XML export format in the near future; the punctuation will change, but the functionality will be identical.

Developer Articles

I've added developer articles section to the site. The intent is to accumulate a large body of technical information useful for free printing software developers. Thus far there are only a few articles, but in time there will be many; let me know of anything I should include!


I've placed all of the code that is useful outside my network under the GPL, and settled upon an informal LGPL-like license for the data itself.

About LinuxPrinting.org

The LinuxPrinting project provides a single location for users and developers to find out anything they need to know about printing on free Unix with free software. The two main resources on the site are:

Printing HOWTO
The HOWTO has been the authoritative source of Linux printing information for 8 years. In its current incarnation is a 65 page overview of the available software and a tutorial guide to the configuration of LPD (the most common spooler) and PDQ (an elegant alternative to LPD).

The Linux Printing Support Database
The Database contains information about the use of particular printers with free software. Its extensive coverage and active community participation have made this one of the best places to find out about using printers with free software.