File: USAGE

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Foomatic Database
=================

foomatic-db
-----------

The collected knowledge about printers, drivers, and driver options in
XML files, used by foomatic-db-engine to generate PPD files.


Till Kamppeter <till.kamppeter@gmail.com>
http://www.openprinting.org/

This usage documentation file is written by Till Kamppeter


Intro
-----

Foomatic is a database providing information about the usage of
printers with Unix-like operating systems (Linux, Solaris, ...).

The applications of these operating systems send PostScript or PDF to
the printer queues. Therefore one usually hands over the PostScript
directly to a PostScript printer (sometimes with some inserted
PostScript commands for options) or uses Ghostscript for generating
the data format the printer needs from PostScript or PDF input. This
is done by the printer spooler which also stores the data in a spool
directory when the printer is still occupied by another job, transmits
the data to a print server in the network, and so on.

The printer drivers for non-PostScript printers are either compiled
into Ghostscript, a plug-in for Ghostscript (e. g. IJS drivers), or
they are an extra filter which converts a generic bitmap generated by
Ghostscript into the printer's data format. For this the spooler has
to call complicated command lines of Ghostscript and the extra filter
(if needed). The user of a Unix-like operating system normally does
not see these command lines because an installation program takes
appropriate filter scripts and/or description files from a database
and assigns them to the printer queue.

Widely used databases were the RHS-Printfilters and the APS
filters. Their disadvantages were that they only supported one spooler
(LPD/LPRng) and only a small part of the driver's options (mostly page
size and resolution). Foomatic supports all options of the drivers and
all known spoolers (LPD, LPRng, GNUlpr, CUPS, Solaris LP, PPR, PDQ,
CPS, direct spooler-less printing). In addition, all known free
software printer drivers are supported. Foomatic also supports
printing of various non-PostScript/PDF file types for spoolers which
do not support these by themselves (LPD, LPRng, GNUlpr, spooler-less
printing). To enable this feature you need to have "a2ps", "enscript",
or "mpage" installed.

Another problem is that the way how to install queues, to print files,
and to handle jobs is very different with different spoolers. LPD for
example requires editing of configuration files for adding a queue,
whereas CUPS and PPR have specialized command line utilities. Foomatic
puts a layer between the applications and the spoolers so that one has
a common, spooler-independent command line interface for all spoolers,
so that switching of spoolers or administration of a network with
different spoolers gets much easier, because for the same operations
there are the same commands, independent of the spooler.

This command line interface can also be used as a base for
spooler-independent graphical frontends.


Installation
------------

Foomatic runs on all systems where one can run the Perl
interpreter.

This package itself does not need any other packages. It is needed by
foomatic-db-engine. foomatic-db-engine version 4.0.0 or newer is
highly recommended, as it supports all the newest features.

Install it as the very first part of your Foomatic installation using
the commands (if you have downloaded this package from CVS, run
"./make_configure" at first, for that you will also need the
"autoconf" and "aclocal" utilities, "aclocal" is in the "automake"
package in some distributions):

   ./configure
   make install

"make install" must be run as "root", "./configure" can be run as a
normal user. Note that you don't need a "make" command. There is
nothing to compile/build in this package.

The "configure" script will generate the Makefile, which is used to
install the database with "make install". If "configure" fails because
of something not being installed, do

   rm -rf config.cache autom*.cache

before you run "configure" again (after installing the missing parts).

By default, Foomatic is installed into subdirectories of /usr/local
(e. g. /usr/local/bin/foomatic-configure), to get it into subdirectories
of /usr (/usr/bin/foomatic-configure), enter:

   ./configure --prefix=/usr
   make install

There are other things which can be adjusted by options on the
"configure" command line, enter "./configure --help" for more
info. You can also modify variables in the beginning of the "Makefile"
after running "configure", but note that every run of "configure"
re-creates the "Makefile".

You can also run Foomatic out of the source directory of
foomatic-db-engine (for example when you want to try it out, or when
you don't have root access), in this case you don't need to install
the database as shown above. Simply have this package handy and follow
the instructions in the USAGE file in the foomatic-db-engine package.

Further instructions in the USAGE file of the foomatic-db-engine
package.


Database structure
------------------

The database structure is described in the README file.