System Administration Guide
Chapter 4, Managing printers and print jobs

Cannot redirect output to printer

Cannot redirect output to printer

If you redirect output directly to the parallel or serial port and nothing happens or the system displays the cannot create message: 

  1. Verify that the device file for the port exists in /dev. Make sure that this file is a device file and not a text file. For example, use the following command to check lp0:

    ls -l /dev/lp0

    The output should look similar to this:

    crw-------   2 bin      bin        6,  0 Jun 13 1993 /dev/lp0
    A regular text file does not include the ``c'' character (for character special file) at the beginning of the line.

  2. Test the cable connection using a cable from a working device with the same cabling requirements.

  3. Print a file while the system is running under DOS. If you can print a file under DOS but not under the UNIX system:

    Verify that the port is configured correctly. See ``Port does not respond''.

    If the port configuration is correct and you still cannot redirect output to the port, try using a different device name. For example, for a parallel port, use lp1 instead of lp0. For a serial port, use tty2a instead of tty1a.

    Pay attention to the unit= message for parallel ports on the boot screen or use hwconfig (for example, unit=0 corresponds to lp0).

    If you still cannot print using a different device name, your printer may be defective; check the printer documentation.

  4. If you cannot print from DOS, check the printer hardware configuration. See the documentation provided with your printer.
If you configured your printer correctly and you still cannot redirect output to it, the problem is most likely a hardware malfunction. Recheck the cables and port configuration and consult your hardware documentation.