[scribus] (OT, Sort of) Understanding my printers

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Thu May 13 17:43:04 CEST 2010

On Thu, 13 May 2010 09:10:35 -0400 Gregory Pittman <gregp_ky at yahoo.com>

> This is fairly longstanding problem with Fedora, and seems to affect 
> only Scribus, suggesting that somehow Scribus isn't interacting with 
> CUPS the way other programs are.

I have been publishing books by printing to networked laser printers
for a long time. That is, I started back in the days of Windows 2000,
then moved to Linux when the current version of Ubuntu was Breezy, and
now use Fedora 11.

Regardless of platform, I have always been confused about how to
explain what I want to the printer. There are three things talking to
the printer's brain at the same time:

1) The printer's control panel
2) The operating system and CUPS
3) The application I am printing from

Some of the above will override some of the others some of the times.
But exactly which one takes precedence seems to vary according to the
specific setting you are trying to convey to the printer. 

It is a hopelessly confusing mess.

About a year ago I acquired a Xerox Phaser 7400DN to print book covers
(it can handle up to 256 gsm paper and sizes up to 12.5 x 48 inches).
This is a very high end printer with hundreds of options. The number of
possible combinations is in the millions. Recently I wasted about a
hundred pages trying to print a cover with the correct page orientation
and margins. After giving up printing it directly from Scribus I
exported to PDF and tried all the PDF viewers I have (Adobe, Okular,
Evince, Cabaret, Foxit). Each gave different results, but all were
wrong one way or another. Then I exported to PS, but I couldn't get
correct output from that either. Finally I managed to get the page to
print with the right orientation and margins by sending the PDF with
lpr. I saved the command for future use.

Now, I think the problem is not bugs in the software but, rather, a
PEBCAK*. If only I understood better how to communicate with the
printer I would find printing a lot less frustrating.

*PEBCAK: "Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard"

I wish there was some guide (website) that I could refer to that would
tell me exactly what to do. Unfortunately, it would take pages for each
printer and operating system. 

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