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3. Printing To Windows PCs

3.1. Connecting To Windows

Figure 2. Network Printing

SMB and CIFS are the Windows file and printer sharing protocols. We use Samba to speak to the Windows PCs using these protocols. Before configuring CUPS we should make sure we can connect to the Windows PC with smbclient, the Samba SMB/CIFS client Figure 2.

The following is an example of creating a connection to a Windows PC:

/usr/bin/smbclient -L rice -U fred

added interface ip= bcast= nmask=
Got a positive name query response from ( )
Password: (not shown)

Sharename  Type  Comment
INKJET     Printer
STUFF      Disk
IPC$       IPC    Remote Inter Process Communication 

The command shown asks for a list of shares on a Windows PC named "rice", with the user id "fred". The result shows a printer named "INKJET".

If Windows naming service is unavailable you will need to specify the IP address of the Windows PC with the -I switch as in:

/usr/bin/smbclient -I -L rice -N

For more information see the Samba documentation about smbclient usage.

3.2. CUPS Configuration

Once you have found a Windows printer you may configure CUPS. First verify that your installation of CUPS has the smb backend with the following command:

ls -l /usr/lib/cups/backend/smb

If this file does not exist create it by issuing the following:

ln -s `which smbspool` /usr/lib/cups/backend/smb

The following is an example of setting up the printer shown above. You will have to become root or use sudo to execute these commands:

/usr/sbin/lpadmin -p RicePrinter -v smb://fred:mypass@rice/INKJET -P /root/inkjet.ppd
/usr/bin/enable RicePrinter
/usr/sbin/accept RicePrinter
/usr/sbin/lpadmin -d RicePrinter

As mentioned above, bash has a builtin command called enable, so bash users must use the full path (/usr/bin/enable) to enable printers.

The "lpadmin" command sets up a the shared Windows printer by giving the username, password, netbios name and printer name as a single parameter. See Section 2.3 for a further explanation of the commands above.

Your printer is now ready to test. Send a file to the printer with the lp command followed by a filename, or by printing a document from within an application.