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Recipe 14.8. Distributed Printing with Classes

14.8.1 Problem

You have a user group that generates a lot of high-volume printing, and you need an easy way to give users a group of printers to use, without having to hassle with individual print queues.

14.8.2 Solution

Use classes to create, in effect, a single printer queue containing several printers. From the Admin page of the CUPS web interface, click "Add Class." Select printers for the class from your installed printers. Users can now send print jobs to the class, instead of to an individual printer, and the first available printers will take them. You can add or remove printers from this menu, and even create subclasses.

You can also do this from the command line. Create a class and populate it with printers this way:

# lpadmin -p printer1 -p printer2  -p printer3 -c art-dept

To add another printer to this class, use:

# lpadmin -p printer4 -c art-dept

Remove a printer with the -r option:

# lpadmin -p printer4 -r art-dept

To delete the entire class, use:

# lpadmin -x art-dept

14.8.3 Discussion

Obviously, you don't want to group geographically dispersed printers into the same class—they should be in the same room. It will get confusing enough, as users won't know which printers have their print jobs. The advantage is that if a printer gets jammed or otherwise becomes unavailable, jobs will still be printed without user intervention. It's also great for high-volume printing, as idle printers will automatically take over from busy ones.

14.8.4 See Also

  • The "Printer Classes" section in the CUPS Software Administrators Manual (http://localhost:631/documentation.html)

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