KDE printing disasters

John Layt john at layt.net
Wed Oct 15 21:17:46 BST 2008

On Monday 29 September 2008, Anne Wilson wrote:
> On Sunday 28 September 2008 22:20:33 James Richard Tyrer wrote:
> > Anne Wilson wrote:
> > > Is there anywhere apart from the configure print job dialogue to set
> > > default settings? I'm using a printer capable of duplex and n-up
> > > printing, but I'm having huge problems. It seems to insist that I am
> > > printing onto rolodex cards, no matter what I tell it about using A4.
> > > It prints one A4's-worth onto a tiny space on the page, dries the ink,
> > > then turns out 5 empty sides before printing another tiny image.
> > >
> > > Are default settings configurable?
> >
> > Did you read the documentation?  Is there any documentation?  ARGH!
> There is no documentation whatsoever - again, I don't know whether it's a
> distro problem.
> > IAC, the Properties dialog box does not have a save button.  So, I don't
> > know if it always saves values which you enter or never saves them.  I
> > consider that a bug that should be reported.
> Agreed.  I'll do that.
> > I presume that you have opened the "Properties" dialog and selected your
> > paper size and despite this, it prints using some smaller size.
> Yes - the properties box knew that A4 is my default size.
> > It also would make some difference what application you are using.
> I was trying to use kprinter from konqueror.  In the past I have even
> redirected printing from firefox to kprinter, although it looks as though
> this may no longer be necessary for most jobs.
> > With additional information, I will try it although I don't have any A4
> > paper  US letter is close enough.
> Very close.
> > > Is this a version problem or a distro problem?
> >
> > It could be a distro problem since KDE depends  on CUPS/FooMatic for the
> > actual printing.  I would suspect that it is the actual printing system
> > that is at fault.
> I checked the settings on localhost:631, and that showed A4 as the paper
> size.
> > > Can we look forward to seeing brochure printing again?
> >
> > I presume that what you want is 2 up duplex that orders the pages
> > correctly (landscape: 4,1,2,3) so that you have a brochure when you fold
> > the page in half.
> Actually, no.  2-up gives me large-print web pages (release notes, install
> instructions etc) on the fewest physical sheets of paper.  The brochure
> facility was an enscript, I believe, and orders the pages as 1&24, 2&23
> etc. for folding.
> > Don't know, put in a feature request.
> Will do that, also.  I don't want to have to put everything into openoffice
> if I want to print a brochure, and I do that sometimes with web-archived
> magazine articles.
> Anne

Hi Anne,

Sorry for the late reply, but I've been away on holiday.

The print dialog is no longer provided by KDE and kprinter is no more :-(, 
instead we use the Qt print dialog.  This gives us cross-platform printing, 
but means we are restricted to the features provided by Qt.  So any bug 
reports (if you are sure they are not app, distro or CUPS related) or feature 
requests need to go to the Qt bug tracker rather than b.k.o.

One such missing feature is KDE no longer automatically saves the last used 
printer settings for each application, it is now up to each app to save and 
restore the settings, so needless to say I know of no KDE apps that do so as 
yet (I'm planning a way of making this easier to do inside KDE, but I'll also 
add it to my list of features to request from Qt).  Also, if the app keeps the 
same QPrinter instance to use each time the dialog is called, then the 
settings will persist so long as the app is running, but again most apps don't 
do this either.

There's two lots of settings, the CUPS settings and the application settings.  
The stuff in the Properties/Advanced dialog are the CUPS settings and it picks 
up whatever the defaults are in CUPS for the currently selected printer 
instance.  All the other settings in the main dialog and the Properties/Page 
dialog are the sole responsibility of the app to set up each time.

As for brochure printing, there's no hope for that at the moment as Qt doesn't 
appear keen on implementing post-filtering like kprinter did and there's no 
clever hack I can do to make it happen either.  My personal opinion is that 
this should be a feature provided by CUPS like n-up after the app has created 
the print file.

If you're looking for an easy way to 'persist' a set of CUPS settings for an 
app or across all apps, I create multiple Instances within CUPS for my printer 
with different sets of default settings, so I have one instance for 'A4 Draft 
Grayscale' for most printing and another for '6x4 Colour Photo' to print on 
the photo paper in the photo tray, etc.  Then it's just a case of selecting 
which printer Instance to print to in the dialog, no need to mess with that 
awful Qt Properties/Advanced dialog.

I'm not sure if you resolved your issues, but it does sound like an issue 
between Qt and CUPS.  Have you tried printing using a 'pure' Qt app like Qt 
Assistant to see if it also has a problem?

Let me know if you have any more questions.



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