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Chapter 6. Printer, Fax, and Font Management
IN THIS CHAPTER
In this chapter, we look at printer and font management in Mac OS X. Because printing spans the GUI and underlying command-line functionality, and it's a bit early to be talking about the fine details of the command line, we'll cover the Aqua GUI interface to configuring and using printing resources here, and defer discussion of the command line details until Chapter 13, "Using Common Command-Line Applications and Application Suites."
First, you will see how to add a local or network printer. Then you will learn more about your printer and its queue, as well as settings for your print job and sending it to a printer. After a brief examination of the printer, we look at font management. You'll see how to manage your font collections, add a new font, and manipulate the keyboard inputs available in Mac OS X.
One of the neatest additions Apple put into Mac OS X starting with 10.2 was the CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) printing system. With 10.3, Apple expanded support for more CUPS features, and 10.4 has continued this trend with further consolidation of settings and expansion of printing features. With almost any other printing system you might have encountered, support for a printer depends on whether the printer manufacturer decides to write a driver for your machine. And, with typical printer drivers, whether the output you get from one printer looks similar to that from another depends on how the different manufacturers have implemented their drivers. CUPS is different. CUPS is a system that makes every printer look like a PostScript printer from the application's point of view, completely eliminating all the weirdness that has long been associated with using PostScript or TrueType (scalable) fonts, or natively vector graphics from programs such as Illustrator, on inherently bitmapped printing devices such as ink-jet printers. "Drivers" for CUPS can be written by interested users, manufacturers, or third-party retailers, and are relatively simple modules that plug into the main printing system and instruct it in how to talk to a particular type of printer. Between the various sources of printer descriptions for CUPS, more than 5,000 different models of printers are supported.
Apple has neatly wrapped the CUPS system into both its GUI and command-line printing environment. Where Apple's tools stop and CUPS begins is completely hidden to the user and really of no consequence. The integration is sufficiently seamless that unless you really want to dig around in its guts, you'll never have to even know that CUPS exists printing simply works, and works much better now than ever before.
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