The main aims of the new printing service at CERN are to reduce the amount of home-written software used in the generic computing infrastructure, and to realign CERN with established printing standards. The benefits of these changes will be to reduce costs and to make printing simpler for users, especially visitors, who will no longer need access to special client software.

The new service is based on client-side printing, where each print job is preformatted on the client machine and the print server provides a spooling mechanism to the printer. This requires an appropriate, correctly configured driver to be installed on the client computer.

For Windows clients, the print server will distribute the appropriate driver and default settings. For Scientific Linux CERN (SLC) 3 and 4, the Printing Wizard software has been modified to install so-called Foomatic drivers on the client (www.linuxprinting.org/foomatic.html).

This article explains how to print from different operating systems on printers managed by the central printing service. To verify the status of a particular printer, visit http://cern.ch/ WinServices/Services/Printers.

Windows computers (NICE)

Under the new printing system, searching for and installing a printer on a NICE computer is integrated in the operating system and there is no need for a CERN Printer Wizard Windows application. All supported Windows versions have built-in search-for-printer capabilities. The following instructions apply to the NICE XP computer but the procedure for the NICE 2000 machine is similar.

To add a new printer, go to the Start menu, select Control Panel, and click Printers and Faxes. You will see a list of printers that have already been installed (if any). Click the Add a Printer link on the left side of the window. The printer wizard will start. Select the option: A Network Printer or a Printer Attached to Another Computer, which appears in the first window. Choose Find a Printer in the directory and click Next. You should see a window where you can specify your search criteria. Figure 1 shows how to search for all printers located in building number 31 with a model name that includes the "2500C" substring, and that can print in colour.

Once you have found the printer, just double click on it. The appropriate driver will then be downloaded from the server and installed on your computer. The default printing preferences will be set as well. You can then verify that your printer is on the list of installed printers (figure 2).

By right-clicking on the selected printer you can set it as the default printer and also choose any printing preferences. Depending on the driver, you can select several options. The most popular are settings for double-sided printing or for default paper size. Once you apply changes, these will become the default printing preferences used by all other applications. You can still overwrite these settings if necessary before each print job.

There is an important difference between a printer configured with the new system and with the old CERN Printer Wizard. Under the new system, all printers on your computer are installed in the user's profile. Now when you install a printer, it is installed only for you and not for other users of your computer. This means that a user does not have to be a local administrator to install a printer.

Scientific Linux CERN 3 and 4

Before users of SLC3 and SLC4 can print anything they have to configure the printers on their computer. They can do this in two ways:

  • By using the CERN Printer Wizard graphical interface (figure 3). This tool enables you to search for printers by building and by some general capabilities. You can then install one printer at a time and configure default preferences such as double-sided printing (figure 4).
  • By running a command line configuration tool. For example, type "cern-config-printers –b 31 –i" to install all printers located in building 31. Please type "cern-config-printers" with the "-h" parameter to get additional information.

In most cases you will probably print documents from the application itself. For instance, you can print a PDF document by selecting File / Print in Adobe Acrobat Reader. In that case you should be able to select some printing properties from the graphical interface, assuming that the correct driver for a given printer is installed on your distribution of SLC.

To print from the command line you should use the "lpr" command. If you print standard A4 documents on the paper in the default tray, you only need to provide the printer and file names, including the document you want to print: "lpr –P31-r029-hp mydocument.ps".

If, however, you want to disable double-sided printing or print on transparencies that are loaded in a tray that is not the printer's default, you need to provide additional parameters. Detailed documentation is available about each SLC3 or SLC4 machine at http://cern.ch/linux/documentation/cups-1.1/index.html#STANDARD_OPTIONS. You can also find information on the Linux support pages at http://cern.ch/linux/scientific3/docs/printing.shtml.

As an example, if a user wants to print a document on transparencies that are loaded in the upper tray of an HP Business InkJet 2300 printer called 5-1-thcolor, and the user also wants to print on one side of the sheet only, he or she should type the following command: "lpr –P5-1-thcolor–media=Tray1 –sheets=single-side mydocument.ps".

Another example would be to print the client banner: "lpr –P5-1-thcolor –job-sheets=standard mydocument.ps".

There is one limitation, however: current distributions of SLC3 and SLC4 do not have an exact driver installed for each model of the printer. Sometimes a Generic PostScript driver has been configured for the printer instead. In this case it may not be possible to select a tray or other advanced printing features. If you need to change the properties on a printer where a Generic PostScript driver has been installed, please use Windows Terminal Services instead.

Mac OS X

Users of Mac OS X have to install and maintain drivers themselves because there is no supported tool for Mac OS X such as CERN Printer Wizard on Linux SLC systems. However, drivers for most of the printers at CERN are included in the Mac OS X operating system. If you cannot find the appropriate driver, run Software Update first.

To add a new printer to your system first check its model by visiting the Printer Status page (http://cern.ch/WinServices/Services/Printers).

Once you know the model, open the Printer Setup Utility located in the Utilities folder. Click the Add button and select IP Printer. Now select the protocol Line Printer Deamon – LPD, and type the address "PrinterName.print.cern.ch" (PrinterName should not have the letter "B" before it). For the queue name, type "PrinterName", again without the letter "B". Finally, select the appropriate driver from the Print Using dropdown list. Figure 5 shows how to connect to the 31-R029-HP printer.

Depending on the model, you may also be asked to specify extra features that could be installed on the printer. For instance, you could specify that the 31-R029-HP printer has a duplex unit installed, which will enable you to print on both sides of the paper.

After installation you can set a default printer by selecting a printer in the list then clicking the Make Default button. The default printer will now be displayed in bold on the list of installed printers (figure 6).

Whenever you want to change settings, you should click the Show Info button. For detailed documentation on printing from Mac OS X, see: http://cern.ch/it-dep/gencomputing/mac-support/PrinterSelect.htm.

Windows Terminal Services

Printing from Windows Terminal Services is the same as printing from any NICE XP computer (see above). Under the new printing infrastructure users can install printers themselves, they do not need to ask Terminal Services administrators to do it. Each printer installed by a user is installed in his or her profile and does not affect the configurations of other users.

LXPLUS

Printing from LXPLUS is the same as command line printing with SLC3. The only difference is that all of the printers hosted by the central printing service are preconfigured on all LXPLUS nodes. Users do not have to configure printers themselves.

Visitors' Windows computers

A visitor to CERN who uses a Windows computer can also benefit from the automatic distribution of drivers. However, the built-in operating system search for the printer mechanism will not work, so we have provided a Printer Status page with search capabilities at http://cern.ch/WinServices/Services/Printers.

By checking the Advanced box users can search for printers by name and also by additional criteria. Once a printer has been found the user has to connect to it. Open My Computer and type "\\PrinterName.print.cern.ch\PrinterName", where PrinterName is the name of the printer without the letter "B" before it. Now you will be asked for your credentials. Type your NICE account name and password if you have one, otherwise type "print" for the account name and "Guest@CERN" for the password. You can now change preferences and print in the same way as all NICE XP users (see above).

Documentation for Windows visitors is available at http://cern.ch/WinServices/Help/?kbid=070107#visitor.

Visitors' Linux computers

On SLC3 and SLC4 computers a dedicated application called CERN Printer Wizard takes care of the configuration and set-up of appropriate drivers and printers. If you have a Linux computer that is not SLC3 or SLC4, you need to install printers and drivers yourself. The first step is to identify the printer and check its model name. You should use the Printer Status page to do this (http://cern.ch/WinServices/Services/Printers).

Once a printer is found you can use the information on the page to configure your system with a tool that is available on your Linux distribution (system-config-printer, printconf, YAST, CUPS web interface, etc.).

When the printer has been configured, you can print using the "lpr" command in the same way as on the SLC3 or SLC4 systems (see above).

Detailed documentation for visitors using Linux-based systems is available at http://cern.ch/linux/documentation/printing.shtml.

Known issues

For a list of known issues and possible solutions, consult our FAQs documentation at http://cern.ch/WinServices/Help/?kbid=070020.

If you have a query that is not answered on the FAQs page, please contact the helpdesk (email helpdesk@cern.ch or telephone 78888).

Further information

1. Entry point for printing service documentation: http://cern.ch/WinServices/Help/?kbid=070001.
2. Local CUPS documentation available on each SLC3/4 machine: http://localhost:631/documentation.html.
3. Bulletin article introducing changes to the printing service: http://bulletin.cern.ch/eng/indexes/index.php?bullno=42/2006&base=gen&yearno=2006#Article25.
4. Bulletin article on banner page policy: http://bulletin.cern.ch/eng/indexes/index.php?bullno=42/2006&base=gen&yearno=2006#Article21.
5. CNL article introducing changes to the printing service: www.cerncourier.com/articles/cnl/3/9/15/1.