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Configuring Your Printer and Internet Service

Before you begin using Linux, there are two more things that must be configured to make your Linux system fully operational if you are running a desktop or workstation system. The first of these is your printer; the second is your dial-up Internet service.

In order to configure either, you must log in to the root account and use some Red Hat configuration tools. To log into the root account, enter the word root into the Username box and press your Enter key. Then, enter the root password you selected when installing Linux into the same box and press Enter once more.


This hour we're going to gloss over the ins and outs of the login process and the Linux desktop—we want to dig only deep enough to configure your printer and Internet service just now; we'll get to details about the Linux desktop in later hours. If you're not comfortable entering root and the root password without knowing why, or if you've never worked with a graphical operating system and would like to learn about using the mouse to manipulate menus and windows, you might want to skip ahead and read Hour 10 before continuing with this hour.

Configuring Your Printer

After you enter the word root and the root password at the login screen, you find yourself logged into the root account's desktop environment. To configure your printer, click the GNOME Menu icon (which looks like a red colored hat) in the lower-left corner of the display, click the System Settings item in the GNOME Menu, and then the Printing item in the System Settings menu. After you click on the Printing item, the Red Hat Printer Config tool is opened.

To add a printer to your Red Hat Linux configuration, click the New button near the upper-left of the Red Hat Printer Config tool window. The Add a New Print Queue dialog appears.

Click the Forward button to display a dialog that enables you to name your printer and choose the way in which it is connected to your Red Hat Linux computer, as shown in Figure 3.10.

Figure 3.10Figure 3.10 You must enter a name for your printer and select the type of connection it uses to communicate with your computer.


The name lp stands for line printer, even though line-oriented printers are no longer in widespread use. This is another case in which Unix traditions can be seen in day-to-day Linux use.

The name of your default printer in Linux should always be lp because this is what most applications expect the default printer to be called. If this is your first printer, enter lp into the Queue name box now. The second and subsequent printers can be called by any name you choose, though you should avoid using spaces or punctuation marks in printer names.

If your printer is connected by USB or Parallel port, click the Local Printer type option. Through the rest of this section, let's assume that you are using a local printer—meaning a printer that is directly connected to your computer. If you need to use one of the several types of network printers listed, please contact your system administrator for further help in configuring it.

Click the Forward button to display a dialog that enables you to choose the port to which your printer is connected.

A list of common ports is shown in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 Common Ports to Which Printers Might Be Connected




First parallel port, LPT1: or PRN: in MS-DOS


Second parallel port (if present), LPT2: in MS-DOS


First discovered USB printer


Second discovered USB printer


If your printer is connected via USB and you don't see any USB printer ports listed, click Cancel to exit the Red Hat Printer Config tool, turn your printer on, and then repeat the steps in this section. Your USB printer port should now appear.

If you're using a parallel port printer, select the parallel port to which your printer is connected. If you're using a USB printer, at least one USB port should appear in the list as well—select it. After you select your printer port, click the Forward button to display the dialog that enables you to select a driver (by printer make and model) to use with your printer, as shown in Figure 3.11.


For certain makes and models of printers, you will see more than one driver listed. If this is true in your case, choose the driver with an asterisk (*) next to it—this is the default driver and in nearly all cases, the best choice.

Figure 3.11Figure 3.11 This dialog enables you to browse through a list of makes and models to select a driver for your printer.

In the dialog, you see a list of printer makes. Click the triangle next to a particular make to expand a list of models. Find your printer in the list and click the triangle next to your model to show the driver for your model. Click the driver to select it. Then, click the Forward button to display the confirmation dialog box.

Review the settings listed in the confirmation dialog; if your make and model are correctly listed, click the Apply button to save your printer configuration. If you want to add more printers, repeat the steps in this section. If you are done adding printers, click the word File at the upper left of the Red Hat Printer Config window to display the file menu, and then select Quit from the menu to exit the Red Hat Printer Config tool. You are asked whether you want to save your changes. Choose Yes to save your changes, activate the printer, and close the tool.

Configuring Your Dial-Up Internet Service

If you connect to the Internet using a dial-up service provider and a modem, you need to tell Red Hat Linux about your modem and your Internet service provider. To start the Internet Configuration wizard, click GNOME Menu, System Tools, Internet Configuration Wizard. The Internet Configuration Wizard starts, as shown in Figure 3.12.

Figure 3.12Figure 3.12 Use the Internet Configuration Wizard to configure Red Hat Linux to connect to your Internet service provider.


If your computer is directly connected to a network via Ethernet (for example, through a typical DSL or cable modem connection, or a company LAN), you have already configured your network settings when you installed Linux; if you need to change them, you learn how in Hour 19, "Desktop System Administration."

If your computer is connected to the Internet using a technology other than dial-up modem service or Ethernet, contact your network administrator or service provider for help in configuring your Internet service.

In the Internet Configuration Wizard, click the Modem connection option to indicate that you connect to your Internet service provider using a modem. Then, be sure that your modem is powered on (if it is external) and click the Forward button to cause the Internet Configuration Wizard to search for your modem. When your modem is found, the settings Red Hat detected are displayed, as shown in Figure 3.13.

Figure 3.13Figure 3.13 After your modem is found, the settings for your modem as detected by the Internet Configuration Wizard are displayed.


If Red Hat Linux displays a message saying that no modem can be found, check your modem to ensure that it is powered on and connected properly to your computer. If it is, or if your modem is internal and you still receive an error message, your modem is not easily supported by Red Hat Linux.

Please refer to "Communications Hardware" in Hour 1, "Preparing to Install Red Hat Linux," for details on the types of modems that are compatible with Red Hat Linux.

With the exception of the Modem Volume setting, which can be adjusted to suit your dialing volume tastes, none of the other settings should be changed from those detected by Linux. Click the Forward button to display a dialog that allows you to enter details related to your Internet service provider, as shown in Figure 3.14.

Figure 3.14Figure 3.14 The Internet Configuration Wizard needs details about your Internet service provider in order to configure your connection.

Enter your dial-up service provider's dialing details, name, login (username), and password into the relevant entry boxes shown in Figure 3.14. When you are done, click the Forward button to display the configuration summary.

When you confirm that all the details listed are correct, click the Apply button to save your changes. The Network Configuration dialog is displayed, as shown in Figure 3.15.

Figure 3.15Figure 3.15 The Network Configuration dialog enables you to activate (connect) and deactivate (disconnect) your Internet service.

To connect to your ISP, click your modem's entry in the device list, and then the Activate button. The modem attempts to dial your ISP and connect your Red Hat computer to the Internet. While you are connected, your network status reads Active rather than Inactive, and you can browse the World Wide Web and use other Internet services. When you are ready to disconnect, click the Deactivate button.

Starting the Network Configuration Tool

In the future, you will not use the Internet Connection Wizard to start your Internet connection. Instead, you start the Network Configuration tool directly, where you can access the Activate and Deactivate buttons shown in Figure 3.18.

To start the Network Configuration tool under normal circumstances (rather than directly from the Internet Configuration Wizard), click GNOME Menu, System Settings, Network.

For additional details on using the Network Configuration tool, refer to "Managing Network Interfaces" in Hour 19.

Logging Out

When you finish configuring your printer and Internet service provider, you can exit the root account and return to the Red Hat Linux login screen by clicking the GNOME Menu and then clicking the Log Out option. A confirmation dialog appers, as shown in Figure 3.16. To confirm that you want to log out and return to the Red Hat Linux login screen, select Log Out and then click the OK button.

Figure 3.16Figure 3.16 A confirmation dialog is displayed to make sure that you really want to log out.

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