Printer Setup

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First, you'll need CUPS. If you have a Hewlett-Packard (HP) printer, add the HPLIP package. Some of these packages are outside of main, and the appropriate repos will need to be configured. See tip below.

# apk add cups cups-pdf cups-filters hplip

Tip: As with all installation processes, Alpine's package management can guide you on the need to pull various packages from other repositories (e.g.@testing) other than the enabled main or edge repositories throughout this wiki page, as long as the other repos have been pinned. For example, for Alpine version 3.7.0 on x86_64 systems, apk would have guided you to substitute in cups-pdf@testing and hplip@testing.

Confirm cups starts. You may also set it to run at boot-up.

# rc-service cupsd start

# rc-update add cupsd boot

Go to http://localhost:631 with your web browser and follow the steps to "Add Printer". It will ask you to log in to add a printer. Log in as root, then finish the steps. Once you're done, you should be able to print.

If that doesn't work, you may also need to add HPLIP's dependencies separately. There are currently no packages for CUPS DDK, hp-setup or foomatic.

# apk add ghostscript py3-reportlab libjpeg net-snmp

This material needs expanding ...

Modifications/sections required e.g. to address container user-case scenarios, etc.

configure mdev for USB printers

By default USB printer with mdev would have ownership root:root and permission 0660. As cupsd would try to open a libusb-based printer as lp user, it won't have permission to use the device in /dev/bus/usb.

First let's get some info about our USB printer.

# -uU | grep Printer
 3-2               04b8:0007 00 1IF  [USB 2.00,   480 Mbps,   2mA] (EPSON USB2.0 Printer (Hi-speed) 55PKAZZ15776790829)
# grep -H "" /sys/bus/usb/devices/usb3/3-2/{id{Vendor,Product},bcdDevice}

These are important for us to distinguish our printer.

# cat >> /etc/mdev.conf <<EOF
SUBSYSTEM=usb;PRODUCT=4b8/7/100;.* root:lp 660 */lib/mdev/usbdev

Unplug the USB cable and plug it in again. Now the USB printer device at /dev/bus/usb/ will have valid ownership and permissions.

# ls -l /dev/bus/usb/002/011
crw-rw---- 1 root lp 189, 138 Apr 14 21:19 /dev/bus/usb/002/011

CUPS will be able now to use libusb to discover the local USB printer.

Desktop Environment

Additionally, in a desktop environment you could proceed as follows.

Check whether root and the user's username (yourusername) are already members of the lp and lpadmin groups. Note: yourusername can be added to the lpadmin group if they should be able to administer the CUPS system with their password.

$ groups root

root bin daemon sys adm disk wheel floppy dialout tape video

$ groups yourusername

yourusername disk wheel audio cdrom dialout video users plugdev

If not, add them:

# adduser root lp # adduser root lpadmin # adduser yourusername lp # adduser yourusername lpadmin

Start CUPS (cupsd) and make it persist between boots; then reboot:

# rc-service cupsd start # rc-update add cupsd # reboot

Managing Printers via Command Line

Credit to ArchWiki's excellent CUPS page for guidance with the following basic steps.

Locate your printer

With your printer connected and powered on, determine the URI for your printer. Depending on whether the connection is via usb or parallel ports, the URI will carry a usb:// or parallel:/ prefix.

$ lpinfo -v #
network lpd
network socket
network beh
file cups-brf:/
direct usb://HP/LaserJet%202200
network ipp
network ipps
network https
network http
direct hp

In the example above, the URI is usb://HP/LaserJet%202200

Find a .ppd or .ppd.gz driver

If your printer supports IPP Everywhere -- most recent models do -- see the driverless command in cups-filters:

$ driverless ipp_uri > printer.ppd

or just pass -m everywhere to lpadmin.

Otherwise, you could list all the drivers available by running lpinfo -m and then searching through the results to find a .ppd or .ppd.gz specific to your printer. A quick solution is to use the --make-and-model flag and grep to filter the results by plugging in your printer's make, model and series in this fashion:

$ lpinfo --make-and-model "make_and_model_names" -m | grep -i printer_series
  • Search for the term HP to find instances of Hewlett-Packard.
  • You do not need to state the printer_series in whole if at all e.g. 2200 may be preferable to searching for 2200M, etc.

For example, type:

$ lpinfo --make-and-model "HP LaserJet" -m | grep -i 2200

From the results, you might select the following .ppd driver:


If required, additional drivers can be obtained by installing gutenprint, and running the lpinfo search again. These may not specify .ppd names.

# apk add gutenprint gutenprint-doc

Configure a queue

Create a queue using a queue_name of your choice. Your selected printer's name is an obvious choice, but do not use spaces.
You will also need to be root or use sudo, and you will also need to plug in the URI and the .ppd driver:

# lpadmin -p queue_name -E -v "uri" -m driver

With this example, you could set as follows, but there are other solutions.

# lpadmin -p HP_LaserJet_2200 -E -v "usb://HP/LaserJet%202200" -m drv:///hp/hpcups.drv/hp-laserjet_2200-pcl3.ppd

This printer queue could be set as default:

# lpoptions -d HP_LaserJet_2200

Printer settings can typically be set in your GUI application's Print menu or by examining the CUPS lpoptions page. If you have a single queue, the setting options available (such as page type, duplex, etc.) for your queue can simply be listed by using the -l flag. Asterisks(*) indicate current settings:

# lpoptions -l
PageSize/Media Size: Card3x5 Hagaki Photo4x6 A6 Photo5x7 Card5x8 Oufuku A5 B5 JB5 Executive 16k Letter *A4 ExecutiveJIS FLSA Legal EnvA2 EnvC6 EnvChou4 EnvMonarch EnvDL Env10 EnvChou3 EnvC5 EnvB5 Custom.WIDTHxHEIGHT
Duplex/Double-Sided Printing: DuplexNoTumble DuplexTumble *None
InputSlot/Media Source: *Auto PhotoTray Upper Lower Envelope LargeCapacity Manual MPTray
ColorModel/Output Mode: *Gray
MediaType/Media Type: *Plain
OutputMode/Print Quality: *Normal Draft Best
OptionDuplex/Duplexer Installed: *False True

If there is only one queue, options can be set by simply using -o flags for each setting:

# lpoptions -o PageSize=Legal -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble

See also