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HPR - HPR1194: Copying a Printer Definition File Between Systems

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I recently learned where Linux stores the PPD created when you set up a

printer and how to copy it between PCs.  I'd like to briefly share

that information with you.

This is how to copy a printer definition file (equivalent of a printer

driver) from a system where the printer is already configured to

another system that you want to be able to access the same

printer.  Reasons you might need to do this:

a.  The normal CUPS (Common Unified Printing System) set up

doesn't have the right definition file for your printer.  In rare

instances, you might have to download a ppd from the manufacturer or

another source.  If so, copying the ppd may be easier than

downloading it again.

b.  You configure CUPS and find there are no pre-provided


drivers.  I thought this was the case when I first tried to

configure CUPS under Linaro on my ODroidX.   For all intents and

purposes, Linaro is an Arm port of mainline Ubuntu (Unity

included).  I installed CUPS via Aptitude and tried to configure a

printer as I would on any Linux system.  When I got to printer

selection, the dropdown to select a

manufacturer (the next step would be to choose a model) was greyed out,

as was the field to enter a path to a ppd file.  I closed the

browser and tried again, and the same thing happened.  This is

what prompted me to find out where to find a PPD file on another system

and copy it.  I never got to see how it would work, because when I

had the ppd file copied over and ready to install, the

manufactures and models in CUPS were already populated.  There had

bee an update between my first and second attempts to configure CUPS on

the ODroidX, but I'd rather say it was a glitch the first time, instead

of the ppd's suddenly showing up in the repo.

c.  When I installed Arch on another system, I found there was far

less options for choosing models, in my instance, there was only one

selection for HP Deskjets.  I suspect borrowing the model specific

ppd from another distro will increase the functionality of the printer.

Copying the ppd

1.  On the computer where the printer is already configured, find

the .ppd (Postscript Printer Definition) file you generated (filename

will be the same as the printer name) in /etc/cups/ppd/model (or

possibly just /etc/cups/ppd, neither my ODroidX or my Fedora laptop

have the "model" folder).

2. Copy to your home folder on the new system (You can't place the file

in it's final destination yet, unless you are remoted in as root)

3. According to the post I found on, CUPS looks for

a GZipped file [ gzip -c myprinter.ppd > myprinter.ppd.gz ; the '-c'

arguement creates a new file, rather than gzipping the old one, and you

use redirection to generate the new file.]  Recall that I never

got to try this, because when I re-ran CUPS, the printer selections

were already populated. 

4. Copy the archived file to /etc/cups/ppd/model on the machine that needs the printer driver

Configure CUPS (IP Printer)

1. Open localhost:631 in a browser

2. Click Administration tab

3. Click "Add a Printer" button

4. Log in as an account with root priviledges

5. For Ethernet printers, select "AppSocket/HP JetDirect" button and click "Continue"

6. From the examples presented, " socket://PRINT_SERVER_IP_ADDRESS:9100  " works for me, click continue

7. On the next page, fill in a printer name, this will be the file name

for the PPD generated as well as how the printer is labled in the

printer select dialog.  The other fields are optional.  Click


8. (I am assuming if the LinuxQuestions post was right, CUPS will find

the gz file and show the manuafacturer and model as options) From the

list, select a manufacturer, or input the path to your PPD file

9. Select the printer model

9a.I think you could copy over the ppd as is and type the path to it in the field where it asks for a ppd file. 

10.Modify or accept the default printer settings

Or just copy the ppd and compare the settings in /etc/cups/printers.conf

Go to this episode


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