printing signs from command line environment

Tim Chase blinux.list at
Sat Jul 25 23:55:31 UTC 2009

> I found out later the dos print was successful, so it's something in or 
> out of the linux printing system.  Now that brings up another question 
> which could save lots of disk space.  How much of the high end linux 
> printing junk can be removed and still have the printing work with cat?

If you're happy with the monospaced-font output, you can harken 
back to the halcyon days of *nix and just use the BSD "lpd" 
daemon instead of CUPS.  With the BSD lpd setup simply spools 
output without trying to render it pretty.  You can pipe things 
through "pr" to paginate (and number pages, columnize, etc) and 
other such tools.  Or you can just cat into the "lp" command.

For printing signs, the bsdmainutils (at least that's the package 
name on Debian) has the "banner" program for use in such a case 
which you can use like

   banner -w80 "Your banner text here"

The -w parameter sets the number of output columns which, for me, 
defaults to something huge. so I use 80-columns (or even less -- 
it scales nicely).  All output is just text-characters so they 
can be dumped to the printer or the screen.

It works well with an old dot matrix printer and continuous-feed 
paper :)


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