System Administration Guide
Chapter 4, Managing printers and print jobs

About printer classes

About printer classes

If you have a large number of printers, you might find it convenient to group a collection of printers together into a ``printer class''. Print requests sent to a class of printers are printed by the first available member of that class. This allows faster turnaround, as printers are kept as busy as possible. In addition, users do not need to know which printer is idle. (Users can still send print jobs to a specific printer using the -d option to lp(C) from the command line.)

One way to use classes is to group a series of printers that should be used in a particular order into a class. For example, you have a high-speed printer and a low-speed printer and you want to direct as many print requests as possible to the high-speed printer and use the low-speed printer only when the high-speed printer is busy. The print service always checks for an available printer in the order that the printers were added to a class. If you add the high-speed printer to the class before adding the low-speed printer, the print service routes print requests in the order you want. See ``Grouping printers into a class''.


NOTE: You do not need to set up classes if you only want to allow users to submit print requests to a type of printer. Users can specify the printer class with lp(C):

lp -T content_type

The first available printer that can handle that type of file prints the file. See ``About content types''.