Overview of Linux Printing Systems
Today, the PostScript language stays the primary interface for printing in the UNIX world. All major applications will output at least generic PostScript that will then be processed by the printing system until it gets printed. This is obviously very limited, because applications have no unified way of querying printing features, or even know if a job printed correctly. Very few applications are able to use PPD files to access printer features, although StarOffice and OpenOffice are notable exceptions.
But the situation is improving. For instance, CUPS provides a basic C API that allows applications to be integrated more easily with their printing system. This API includes functions to communicate with a CUPS daemon through IPP, as well as functions to read and parse PPD files, and thus gather detailed information about printers and their capabilities. This still stays quite limited for the application developer, as this only works with CUPS and similar IPP servers.
On the free software side, the Gnome and KDE desktop projects now both include middle-level layers to facilitate printing : KDEPrint and Gnome-Print. These frameworks propose to provide a unified APIs to the applications, by abstracting the underlying printing system.
Things are much better than they were just a few years ago with the emergence of more advanced printing systems. As this is a subject essential to enterprises, we are beginning to see support from big name vendors like HP or IBM that strive to improve on this infrastructure.
Moreover, the Free Standards Group is working on the OpenPrinting project, whose stated goal is to define the next generation of the printing infrastructure for the Linux operating system. Gathering many experts from the industry, this workgroup is defining APIs and standards that will bring Linux up to speed with its competitors.
Stephane Peter is a senior software engineer working for Codehost, Inc in Culver City, CA. When not playing with printing systems, he can be found playing his guitar or biking around in Southern California.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
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