Easy printer sharing in GNOME

Do you need to share out printers from your Linux machine? If so, Jack Wallen has a simple set up that will have you printing from remote machines in no time.

Do you remember how challenging sharing printers could be back when you had to manually configure your smb.conf file to include shared printers? Well, those days are over with the latest incarnations of the GNOME desktop. Like folder sharing, printer sharing has been made very simple and can be done completely within a GUI. Let's see just how this is done. Assumptions

I will assume that you already have the printer attached to the local machine and it is printing just fine. I will also assume the machine the printer is attached to is the Linux machine that will share the printer out. If that is all the case, you are ready to begin the sharing process.

How to share out a printer

The first thing to do is to click System | Administration | Printing. When this new window opens, right-click the printer you want to share and select Properties. From the Properties window click the Policies tab (see Figure A) and then make sure the following are checked:
  • Enabled
  • Accepting Jobs
  • Shared

Figure A

Once you have those items checked, click OK.

The next step is to configure the CUPS server settings. To do this go back to the main Printing window and click Server | Settings. In this new window (see Figure B) make sure the following items are checked:
  • Publish shared printers connected to this system.
  • Allow printing from the network.

The rest of the settings are optional.

Figure B

Once you click OK your printer should be ready to use by remote machines. Of course how you connect to this shared printer will be dictated by the operating system you are trying to connect from.


Obviously there may be issues - depending upon the OS you are using. For example if you are connecting from a Windows 7 operating system, you may need to make a single change to your smb.conf file (yes, there will be a manual edit in this case). The edit in question is this:

  1. Search for the [printers] section.
  2. Change the line browseable = no to browseable = yes.
  3. Restart Samba.

That's it. Once you make that change you should be able to then see your Printers from Windows machines.

Final thoughts

Sharing out printers used to be a challenge for Linux users. Thanks to modern desktops like GNOME (and a much easier to administer Samba), printer sharing has become far easier than it once was.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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