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Choosing a Method to Manage Printers

As you can see from the list of features in Table 11-2, components provide quite a bit of overlapping functionality. Your site requirements and needs for centralized or decentralized printer administration will determine the optimum combination of tools you use for print administration.

The Solaris 2.6 print client software and the Printer Manager application in Solstice AdminSuite offer a graphical solution for setting up and managing printers on a network. The advantage of the Solaris 2.6 print client software is that it supports a name service (NIS or NIS+), which enables you to centralize print administration for a network. You can also use the lpadmin command to configure printers on individual systems.

You must run Admintool on the system to which the printer is connected. When you set up a printer, Admintool makes the appropriate changes in the /etc/printers.conf file and /etc/lp directories on the system as required. You can use Admintool to set up a system as a print server or print client only if it is running the SunOS 5.x operating system.

Admintool should meet most of your needs for setting up printing services. However, if you have special needs, such as writing scripts, you may want to use the LP print service commands directly.

System Requirements for a Print Server

You can attach a printer to a standalone system or to any system on the network. You can make any networked system that has a printer and adequate system resources into a print server.

Each print server should have the following system resources:

  Spooling directory space of 8MB (or more)
  Hard disk strongly recommended (not required)
  Memory of 12MB (or more)
  Swap space of 20 to 24MB (or more)

If the print server has a /var directory that resides in a small partition, and if a large amount of disk space is available elsewhere, you can use that space as spooling space by mounting it on the /var directory on the print server. Consult the Solaris 2.6 System Administrator's Guide for information about mounting file systems and editing the /etc/vfstab file.

Table 11-3 provides some common disk configuration information and recommendations for the average number of users that the configuration can serve.

Table 11-3 Typical Disk Configuration Information

Disk Size (MB) /var Partition (MB) Spooling Space (MB) Number of Users
104 8 4 1-3
207 16 12 1-16
424 212 206 1-32
669 335 328 1-64
991 500 490 1-64 or more
1360 335 206 1-32

Printer Configuration Information

To configure a printer on the network, you need the following configuration information:

  The serial (or parallel) device name (required), for example /dev/xxx.
  A unique name for the printer (required).
  The printer type (required).
  The type of file content (required), for example, PS for PostScript, simple for ASCII, or both.
  The filter names for your printer (required).
  The print server's Internet Protocol (IP) address in universal address format (output by the lpsystem -A command), required for printing between systems (required).
  The description of the printer to convey to users (recommended, optional)
  The default printer for each system (recommended, optional).

Configuration information is stored in the LP configuration files in the /etc/lp directory.

Printer Device Name

The printer device name identifies the port to which the printer is connected. When you use the -v option to identify the port, the lpadmin command uses the stty settings from the standard printer interface program to initialize the printer port.

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