Linux Printing - Policies - Computer Science and Software Engineering - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Printing from CSSE Linux Accounts

There are three printers available to undergraduate users of CSSE Linux accounts, located in CSSE labs 1, 2 and 4 in the Erskine building. The names of these printers are:  "CSSE_lab1", "CSSE_lab2" and "CSSE_lab4", respectively.

Most Linux applications, such as Firefox and Thunderbird, can send files directly to the printer by using the "Print ..." (Ctrl+P) command from the "File" menu, without having to use any of the commands described below for specific types of files.

Printing a "Portable Document Format" (PDF) file

Documents that are produced by a word processor, and/or those that include graphics, are usually provided as PDF files (especially on the Web), and are a compressed version of the PostScript format which is compatible with most systems. If you have a PDF file (whose names usually end in ".pdf"; e.g. "blarg.pdf") then you can view and print it (as above) using the `evince' command:

`evince blarg.pdf'

For more information, see the man(ual) page:  `man evince'.

Printing a "Text" file

Text files contain ordinary (ASCII) text. Program source files are one type of text file. The best way to print text files is to use the "Any-to-PostScript" utility:  `a2ps'. This provides a very wide range of options to format the output in various ways, but the defaults generally give excellent results. For example, to print the text file, "blarg":

`a2ps blarg'

For more information, see the man(ual) page:  `man a2ps'.

Printing a "PostScript" (PS) file

Documents that are produced by a word processor, and/or those that include graphics, are always converted to PostScript format (or PDF) to be printed. If you have a PostScript file (whose names usually end in ".ps"; e.g. "blarg.ps") then you can view it using the `gv (ghostview)' command, or print it directly to the printer (which prints only PS files) using the `lpr' command:

`gv blarg.ps'
`lpr blarg.ps'

For more information, see the man(ual) pages:  `man gv' and `man lpr'.

To save paper, `psnup', `a2ps' and `mpage' squeeze multiple pages (2, 4, 8 or 9) of a PostScript file on to one page (`a2ps' and `mpage' work for text files as well as PostScript files). For example:

`mpage -P -4 -A X_oheads.ps | lpr'

For more information, see the man(ual) pages:  `man mpage' and `man psnup'.

Printing a LaTeX "Device Independent" (DVI) file

The "LaTeX" document preparation system produces "device independent" (DVI) files. DVI files (whose names usually end in ".dvi") can be viewed on-screen using the `xdvi' command. To print a .dvi file, it must first be converted to PostScript format by the `dvips' command. For example, to convert and print the DVI file, "blarg.dvi":

`dvips blarg'
`lpr blarg.ps'

For more information, see the man(ual) pages:  `man xdvi' and `man dvips'.

Printing a "Troff" file

"Troff" is a document processing system that predates "LaTeX". The `groff' command typesets "Troff" files into PostScript format. For example, `groff -man' is the command used to produce a PostScript file from a "Troff" manual page, whereas `nroff' "typesets" Troff files in a format suitable for listing on an ASCII terminal.

For more information, see the man(ual) pages:  `man groff' and `man nroff'.

Print Queues

The `lpq' shell command lists print jobs currently in the queue. To cancel a queued job use the shell command:

`lprm request-id'

where "request-id" is the value printed in the "Job" column by `lpq' for the print job you want to delete. Note that `lpr', `lpq' and `lprm' can be instructed to operate on a printer other than the default one using the " -P" option.

Print Charging

Printing on CSSE printers is charged to each student's ICTS account. If the balance of a student's ICTS account drops below $0.0, then they will be unable to print until they deposit more money in their ICTS account.

You should take sensible steps to limit your printing by viewing material on-screen (say in a different window), and printing source programs "n-up" (two or more pages per sheet). Please avoid unnecessary printouts---they are environmentally unfriendly and cost you money!

  • Phone: +64 3 364 2362
    Fax: +64 3 364 2569
    admin@cosc.canterbury.ac.nz
  • Computer Science and Software Engineering
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand
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