Departemental printers


The remainder of this page describes how to configure the printers on your system or what alternatives you have in case you do not want to or cannot configure them.

Printer Accounting

To keep track of printer usage, print jobs are accounted using a printer accounting system ... for details, consult the printers page referred to on the top of this page; in short: students have to pay, personnel doesn't have to pay but should know it is being stored.

On departemental/system-group-administered machines or when using Samba, print jobs are (of course) accounted on account name and/but not per machine.

Because on self-administered machines any local account name can be used, we do not trust the account names for print jobs that are generated on them ... for self-administered machines that print directly (so not via Samba), accounting is done on machine name and not account name. In this way, you can not secretly print your jobs and let them be accounted on somebody else's print account ;-)

Although printer accounting for self-administered machines is done on machine name, you still do need to submit print jobs with a (print) account with the same name as your departmental account because the departmental print system refuses to process print jobs that are created by unknown accounts, regardless of how the print jobs are accounted for afterwards! That is a technical limitation in the CUPS print system for which we have no solution ... sorry, but no other way possible.

Printing on departemental/system-group-administered machines

All departemental printers are available on (almost) every departemental/system-group-administered machine with the standard print commands of (the OS on) that machine as described on the what-printers-are-available-and-how-to-use-them page shown above.

If you use the KDE environment and you experience problems with printing, make sure to read this warning about printer configuration in KDE.

Printing on your own/self-administered machine

Direct access to the printers is only possible from within departmental networks. When working from outside the department (wireless or from home or elsewhere) direct access is not possible but you can use a VPN or SSH-tunnels (see further below).

Probably the easiest way to get reliable printing from your own/self-administered machine, is to use the printers via Samba:

  • To print on the departmental printers, your print job must be submitted using an account with the same name as your departmental account otherwise it will be refused.
  • When using Samba the account that is linked to your print job is your Samba account and not the account on your local machine and our print system knows about our Samba accounts, therefore printing is allowed.

If you do not want to use Samba and if your local login account on your own machine has the same name as your departmental account, you can configure the print system on your local machine to use the departmental printers via IPP and/or HTTPS. Consult the printers page referred to on the top of this page and look up which print server the printer you want to use is connected to (most probably cups-server[2] but do check - on MacOS and Linux you can also check with: lpstat -h cups-server[2] -v) and configure the printer(s) using one of:

  • ipp://
  • ipp://

It seems that Linux and MacOS X prefer the ipp:// version and Microsoft Windows prefers https:// ;-)

Do also notice that the /printers/ part in the above URLs is important and mandatory.

If your local login account on your own machine does not match with your departmental account you will need to configure your own/local print system to submit the print jobs using your departmental account name. This is not supported on all print systems but at least 1 user reported it seems to work on recent MacOS though. Use the same URL as shown above, but enter your departmental loginname e.g. like in: ipp://

Details about how to configure the printers on your own system:

When using CUPS on your own machine, you can also configure it to automatically detect which/all printers are available instead of configuring individual queues as shown above ... for details consult the Linux documentation above.

Other Print Interfaces

There are some other ways to print something without having to bother to install or configure or learn print queues, servers and commands:

  • use the web-based print-folder:
    • Login with your departmental account on, select a printer and upload the (PDF) file you want to print
      • If you don't have a departmental account but you do have an account in the departmental (student) computer labs, you can use the student web print which gives access to the student printer(s) on the ground floor.
    • Advantages:
      • no configuration whatsoever ... just print to PDF-file and upload the file
      • you can select which printer your print jobs are printed on
      • web-based, so only a web-browser is needed
    • Disadvantages:
      • you have to print to PDF-file and upload that file
      • printed using generic print options (e.g. no extra number of copies)
      • you have to wait until the next invocation of the web-based print-folder-processing command (usually within only a couple of minutes, check by reloading the web-page)
      • web-based, so a web-browser is needed
  • use a print-folder and the print-folder-processing command in your own (home?) directory:
    • /usr/local/bin/ --help
    • Advantages:
      • you can select which printer your print jobs are printed on
      • you keep a history of the actual print jobs
      • you can use whichever method you like best to upload the file to the directory you specify (sftp, scp, rsync, filezilla, dropbox, ...)
    • Disadvantages:
      • you have to print to PDF-file and upload that file
      • you have to wait until the next invocation of the print-folder-processing command (when installed in a crontab) or execute it manually before your jobs are actually printed
      • you have to clean up the history of your print jobs yourself
  • if you don't have a departmental account with which to use the above options, you'll have to print to PDF-file and ask somebody else to print that file

Printing via VPN and/or SSH-tunnels

It is possible to print from outside departmental networks (e.g. wireless):

  • You must either use Samba or have an account on your local system with exactly the same name as your departmental account
  • Choose to:
    • either use a VPN and configure the printers in the usual way as described above (both Samba and IPP/HTTPS printing is possible)
    • or to use SSH-tunnels to get to the departmental print server(s):
      • e.g.: ssh -L
      • configure the printer you want/need via that tunnel:
        • ipp://
        or equivalent https://
      • tunneling to a Samba server is most probably possible as well, but left as a nice exercise for yourself ;-)

Important remark for KDE-users

The KDE environment keeps track which print-server is being used. Whenever printing from within KDE-applications is not possible or not reliable, you should check the printer configuration in your KDE environment.

Open the KDE Print Manager ... you can do this in 2 ways:

  • K-Menu -> System Settings -> Printers -> Print Manager -> Configure Manager
  • On the Kprinter window -> System Options

On that window, select in the list on the left Cups Server and check/adjust on the right:

  • Host: localhost
  • Port: 631
  • User: your-login-name
  • Password: do-not-specify
  • Store Password: do-not-select
  • Use Anonymous Access: do-not-select