Nevis Printing

This page describes some basic commands related to printing on the Nevis Linux cluster.

How to configure printers on your laptop

If you connect your laptop to via an Ethernet connection, and your laptop is running CUPS, you will be able to browse the list of available print queues and select one.

However, if you connect via the wireless network, you will not be able to browse the list of queues. You can still print, but will have to add the printer queue to your laptop manually:


  • Go to System Preferences.
  • Click on "Printers & Scanners".
  • Click on the "plus" sign (+) to add a printer.
  • The method is IP. On more recent versions of Mac OS, this is a globe icon on the upper part of the panel.
  • The protocol is "IPP", the Address is <queue-name>; e.g.,
  • Leave the queue blank.


On Linux laptops, both the KDE and GNOME window managers have printer setup utilities. The general information you need is:
  • The printer protocol is IPP.
  • The printer (or "print server") is <queue-name>; e.g.,
  • The "print queue" can either be blank or "raw"
  • If you have to type in a URI for the above information, it is (for example) ipp://<queue-name>

CUPS direct (Mac and Linux)

On both Macs and Linux laptops, if the printer setup utilities seem a bit confusing, you might try to access CUPS directly:
  • Open a web browser (you're running one now, aren't you?) and use this URL: <http://localhost:631>.
  • Click on "Printers" on the top bar; you may have to type in a root or administrator password to proceed further.
  • The Name of the queue can be anything; just "Nevis" will do.
  • The Device is "Internet Printing Protocol (ipp)"
  • The URI is ipp:// or substitute a different queue for bw-research.


  • Start->Settings->Printers
  • Open "Add Printer"
  • Select "Local Printer", then click "Next"
  • Select "Create a new port", and select "IPP" from the pop-up menu. Click "Next". (If an "IPP" option is not available, then you don't have CUPS installed. You can try using the IP name <queue-name>, use "TCP/IP" as the port type, and leave the queue blank.)
  • As noted above, the print server is (for example) <queue-name> and the queue can be blank or "raw".

Print queues

As of 30-Nov-2022, the following print queues are available. To see a list of all available print queues, login to the Nevis Linux cluster and use the lpstat command:

lpstat -a

Main print queues


bw-research is the main "workhorse" printer. It's a fast black-and-white HP M601 printer. This printer has a duplexing feature, which allows you to print on both sides of a sheet of paper. To use the feature on Linux, the command is:

lpr -Pbw-research -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble <filename>
The bw-research printer has two paper input trays: manual, and lower. If any sheets are put into the manual bin (transparencies, for example) the printer uses it by default. Otherwise the paper comes from the lower bin. The correspondence is:

Option lpr option
Manual lpr -o InputSlot=Tray1
Lower lpr -o InputSlot=Tray2
Duplex lpr -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble

When you put three-hole-punch paper in the lower bin, it's commonly combined with the duplex option to print long documents that can be placed in loose-leaf binders. For example:

lpr -Pbw-research -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble -o InputSlot=Tray2

color-research (or colour-research)

As the name implies, color-research is an HP553dn color printer. It is capable of duplex printing.

Option lpr option
Manual lpr -o InputSlot=Tray1
Normal lpr -o InputSlot=Tray2
Duplex lpr -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble

Realistically, there's no need to specify an InputSlot option unless you've walked over to the printer and put some special paper (transparencies, labels, A4 paper) into one of the bins.


This is an Ricoh IM 4000 copier/scanner in room 119A ("the snack machine room") in the Nevis research building. It can be used as an "overflow" printer if bw-research is busy. If you're setting this up on your laptop, you can use any of the following printer drivers:

  • Generic Postscript Driver
  • Ricoh IM 4000 (in the unlikely event you have this definition on your laptop)
  • Ricoh 4081

Other queues


This is an HP3015 printer located in the electronics design area of the lower floor of the Nevis Electronics Building, and is intended for the use of the people who work on that floor.


This is an HP1200 printer located on the upper floor of the Nevis Electronics Building, in the DOE testing area, and is intended for the use of the people who work on that floor.


This is an "all-in-one" copier/scanner/printer located in the in Nevis electronics assembly/testing area on the upper floor. It's intended for the use of those who work in that building.


This is a B&W printer located in the in Nevis electronics assembly/testing area on the upper floor. It's similar to the bw-research printer. It's intended for the use of those who work in that building.

color-elec (or colour-elec)

This is a color printer located in the in Nevis electronics assembly/testing area, similar to the color-research printer. It's intended for the use of those who work in that building.


There are other print queues in existence, but they are restricted the use of specific working groups at Nevis or Pupin, and are not for general use. You may also see other printers at Pupin when browsing with CUPS; use them at your own risk.

Linux printing



The Linux cluster uses CUPS to manage its print services. On most machines that have CUPS installed, visiting the URL http://localhost:631/help/ will take show you basic documentation; you can also view the manual in the documentation section of the CUPS web site. This web page just covers brief highlights of that manual.

The reason why CUPS is used at Nevis is that it only requires complex configuration of the print server; the client machines don't have to be configured at all. This means that if you connect a laptop to the Nevis networks, and that laptop is running CUPS, you'll be able to print to the Nevis printers and make use of the various printer features without installing any additional drivers. (This only applies to laptops with a direct Ethernet connection at Nevis; CUPS is not visible on the wireless networks.)

Print server

In CUPS, the print server controls which print queues are available on the cluster, and is the only system that requires any printer drivers.

The print server on the Nevis Linux cluster is This print server is configured to deny access to systems outside the Nevis networks for security reasons.

If you're using a system outside those networks, and you wish to print on a Nevis cluster printer, see the FAQ below.; a typical setup for your system might be (using bw-research as an example):

Type of queue: lpr
Remote server:
Remote queue: printers/bw-research

If you're looking for Postscript Printer Description files (PPD files), you can find many of them on the Nevis Linux cluster, in directory /usr/nevis/printing/ppds/.

Printing from the command line

lpr is the basic command for printing a file in UNIX. For example:

lpr filename
will print the file "filename" on the default print queue; you can find out the default queue with the command
lpstat -d
If you want to print a file on a printer that's not your default (a color printer, perhaps), use the -P option to select the print queue:
lpr -Pqueue-name filename

To set printer options, use the -o option of the lpr command. Some examples:

lpr -Pbw-research -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble filename

will print on the main black-and-white printer using both sides of the paper. (See the description of the bw-research printer below.)

For color duplex printing, use:

lpr -Pcolor-research -o InputSlot=Plain -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble filename

For a list of options available on a print queue, use the lpoptions command:

lpoptions -p color-research -l

To see what jobs are printing, and the status of the print queues, use the lpstat command :

lpstat -u

Status and control commands

To check the status of a print queue, use the lpstat command. For example:

lpstat -p bw-research -u

If you want to remove one of your jobs from the print queue, use the lprm command. For example:

# lpstat -u
printer bw-research now printing bw-research-0.   enabled since Jan 01 00:00
bw-research-81               seligman         11264   Mon 15 Dec 2003 05:08:38 PM EST

# lprm 81

Note that usually only the number of the job is necessary to cancel it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I set my default options so that I always print two-sided?

Use the lpoptions command. For example, to set double-sided printing as the default option on the bw-research print queue:

lpoptions -p bw-research -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble

How do I change my default printer?

Note: it's possible for a system's default printer to change; for example, if that printer goes down for a while.

Again, use the lpoptions command. For example, to set the default printer to be the main black-and-white printer in the Nevis electronics building:

lpoptions -d bw-elec

How do I use one of these printers if I'm not at Nevis?

The printers at Nevis itself are behind the firewall, and cannot be accessed directly. However, you can still access them using IPP. Setting the "printer" to be and the "port" or "queue" to be printers/ followed by the name of the Nevis print queue (e.g., printers/bw-research).

How do I print multiple pages on a single sheet of paper?

There are several ways. You'll have to experiment to see what's best for you. I prefer to use the enscript command; some people prefer to use a2ps; there are also CUPS options, though the results are not as fancy what the above programs can produce:

lpr -o number-up=2 filename

The margins look funny when I print a plain text file. How do I fix this?

See the section on text options in the CUPS documentation. In general, you probably want something like this:

lpr filename.txt -o page-left=36 -o page-right=36 -o page-top=36 -o page-bottom=36
Note that the above options are already the default for all the print queues on the Linux cluster (they correspond to a 1/2-inch margin on all page edges). If these margins are not sufficient, you'll have to increase them.

An image looks like it's scaled incorrectly or displaced on the page. How do I fix this?

See the section on image options in the CUPS documentation.

If the problem that the image is too large, try the option -o scaling=100. This should scale the image so that it fits on one sheet of paper. (By the way, this is a neat way of printing documents sized for A4 paper onto American letter-size paper, and vice versa.)

Otherwise, I don't have a general solution to this kind of problem. You'll have to experiment on your own.

How do I use one set of options for printing text files, and another for printing postscript files?

There are two ways:

1) Use command aliases. For example, if you put the following in your ~/.myprofile file:

alias lptext="lpr -P bw-research -o sides=two-sided-long-edge -o number-up=2 -o page-border=single"
... then (after source ~/.myprofile or re-logging) the following command will print a file with duplex, two pages on each side, and a border around each page:
lptext filename.txt

2) Use printer instances. For example, if you define the instance:

lpoptions -p bw-research/text -o sides=two-sided-long-edge -o number-up=2 -o page-border=single
then you can print a text file with:
lpr -P bw-research/text filename.txt

Printing large text files

If you want to print a long text file, consider using the enscript command, which formats a text file into Postscript format. The following commands will print the text file two text pages per side, double-sided (good for long program listings). Both commands do the same thing, but the options are shown in both the short and long forms.

enscript -q2rGj -Pbw-research -DDuplex:true <filename>
enscript --quiet --columns=2 --landscape --fancy-header --borders \
    --printer=bw-research --setpagedevice=Duplex:true <filename>

Using three-hole-punch paper

To print on three-hole-punch paper, check that the tray (3 in this example) holds the correct type of paper and use the following command:

enscript -Gj --margins=36:36:: -o - <filename> | \
   lpr -Pbw-research -o Duplex=DuplexNoTumble -o InputSlot=Tray3 filename
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Topic revision: r16 - 2023-08-31 - WilliamSeligman
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