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Configuring Your Printer and Internet Service

Before you begin using Linux, you'll likely want to configure both your printer and your dial-up Internet service (if you are a dial-up user) to make your Linux system fully operational.

To configure either, you must log in to the root account and use some Red Hat Desktop configuration tools. To log in to the root account, enter the word root into the Username box that you see in the center of your screen and press Enter. When the word Password appears in front of the box, enter the root password you selected when installing Linux into the same box and press Enter once more.

New to Desktop Environments?

In this chapter, we 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 dial-up Internet service just now. We'll get to details about the Linux desktop in later chapters. 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 Chapter 4 before continuing with this one.

Configuring Your Printer

After you enter the word root and the root password at the login screen, you find yourself logged in to 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 click the Printing item in the System Settings menu. After you click the Printing item, the Printer configuration tool opens.

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

Click the Forward button to display the Queue Name dialog box, which is used to name your printer, as shown in Figure 3.12. In the Name box, enter lp. You should always name your default printer lp because it is what most Linux applications expect the default printer to be called. You can also enter a brief human-readable description of the printer in the Short Description box if you choose to do so.

Figure 3.12FIGURE 3.12 Enter lp as the queue name for your default printer. You can also enter a description if you want.

After you name your printer queue, click the Forward button to display the Queue Type dialog box, which allows you to tell Red Hat Desktop how this printer communicates with applications, as shown in Figure 3.13.

If your printer is connected by a Universal Serial Bus (USB) or parallel port, select Locally-Connected from the Select a Queue Type drop-down list.

In the box below the Select a Queue Type drop-down list, choose the port to which your printer is connected. Table 3.1 contains a list of common ports.

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

Figure 3.13FIGURE 3.13 Choose a connection type for this printer. For parallel or USB printer users, the correct drop-down option is the Locally-Connected option.

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.

Invisible USB Printers

If your printer is connected via USB and you don't see any USB printer ports listed, turn on your printer and then click the Rescan Devices button near the bottom of the Queue Type dialog box. Your USB printer should now appear.

If you need to print to a printer that is on your local area network, choose the network protocol that is appropriate for your configuration when the Queue Type dialog box shown in Figure 3.13 is displayed. For users on primarily Unix- or Linux-based networks, the correct choice is usually CUPS or Unix; for users on primarily Windows-based networks, the correct choice is usually either Windows or Novell type networks.

After you select the appropriate type of network connectivity for the printer in question, enter the network address or other related details for the printer in question. If you need assistance with this process or aren't sure what type of network printer you will be using, contact your network administrator.

After you select your printer port (for locally connected printers) or enter your printer's network information (for networked printers), click the Forward button to display the dialog box that allows you to select a driver (by printer make and model) to use with your printer.

In the Printer Model dialog box, shown in Figure 3.14, select the make of your printer from the drop-down list near the top of the dialog box. The list of known printers for the make you selected then appears in the bottom half of the dialog box; select your model from the list. Then click the Forward button to display the confirmation dialog box.

Figure 3.14FIGURE 3.14 Select your make from the drop-down list and then your model from the list in the lower half of the dialog box.

Review the settings listed in the confirmation dialog box; if your make and model are correctly listed, click the Finish button to save your printer configuration. You then are asked whether you want to print a test page to ensure that your settings have been entered correctly. To be certain, you should choose Yes. If the test page does not print correctly, remove the queue by clicking the Delete button in the Printer configuration tool window and repeat the steps in this section, trying different settings.

After you successfully add a printer, if you want to add more printers, repeat the steps in this section. If you are done adding printers, click the word Action at the upper left of the Printer configuration tool window and then select Quit from the drop-down menu to exit the Printer configuration tool.

Configuring Your Internet Service

If your Internet service requires more than simple Ethernet connectivity—for example, if you use a dial-up modem or your environment requires Virtual Private Network (VPN) capability—you need to perform additional configuration before you can enjoy full network connectivity in Red Hat Desktop. To start the Internet Configuration Wizard, click GNOME Menu, System Tools, Internet Configuration Wizard. The Internet Configuration Wizard starts, as shown in Figure 3.15.

Figure 3.15FIGURE 3.15 Use the Internet Configuration Wizard to configure Red Hat Desktop to connect to your Internet service provider.

To configure a modem for use with Red Hat Desktop, click the Modem connection option in the Internet Configuration Wizard to indicate that you connect to your Internet service provider (ISP) 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 detected settings appear, as shown in Figure 3.16.

Figure 3.16FIGURE 3.16 After your modem is detected by Red Hat Desktop, the correct settings automatically appear.

Networking Beyond Dial-Up

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), then you likely already configured your network settings when you installed Linux; if you need to change them, you learn how in Chapter 30, "Desktop System Administration."

If your computer is connected to the Internet using a technology other than dial-up modem service or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Ethernet, contact your network administrator or ISP for help in configuring your LAN service using the Internet Configuration Wizard.

With the exception of the Modem Volume setting, which you can adjust to suit your dialing volume tastes, you should not change any of the other settings from those detected by Linux. Click the Forward button to display a dialog box that allows you to enter details related to your ISP, as shown in Figure 3.17.

Figure 3.17FIGURE 3.17 The Internet Configuration Wizard needs details about your ISP to configure your connection.

If Your Modem Isn't Found

If Red Hat Desktop 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 Desktop.

Refer to "Communications Hardware" in Chapter 1, "Preparing to Install Red Hat Desktop," for details on the types of modems that are compatible with Red Hat Desktop.

Enter your dial-up service provider's dialing details, name, login (username), and password into the relevant entry boxes shown in Figure 3.17. When you are done, click the Forward button to display the IP Settings dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.18.

Figure 3.18FIGURE 3.18 In the IP Settings dialog box, you can adjust the parameters that Red Hat Desktop will use to establish your Internet connection.

Most users should leave the default choice selected, Automatically Obtain IP Address Settings. If your ISP has provided you with a set of static IP settings, select Statically Set IP Addresses and enter those settings now. When you are done, click the Forward button to display your configuration summary.

After you verify that all the information shown in the summary is correct, click Apply to save your changes and display the Network Configuration dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.19.

To connect to your ISP, click your modem's entry in the device list and then click the Activate button near the top of the dialog box. Red Hat Desktop attempts to connect to your ISP. While you are connected, your network status mode reads Active rather than Inactive, and you can browse the Web and use other Internet services. When you are ready to disconnect, click the Deactivate button.

Starting the Network Configuration Tool

You use the Internet Configuration Wizard only when you need to add or edit network settings. When you dial your ISP, you usually want to bypass the Internet Configuration Wizard and start the Network Configuration tool shown in Figure 3.19 directly. To do this, click GNOME menu, System Settings, Network. This way, you can quickly access the Activate and Deactivate buttons when you want to connect to or disconnect from the Internet.

Figure 3.19FIGURE 3.19 The Network Configuration dialog box allows you to activate (connect) and deactivate (disconnect) your Internet service.

For additional details on using the Network Configuration tool, refer to "Managing Network Interfaces" in Chapter 30.

Logging Out

After you finish configuring your printer and ISP, you can exit the root account and return to the Linux login screen by clicking the GNOME menu and then clicking the Log Out option. A confirmation dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 3.20. To confirm that you want to log out and return to the Linux login screen, select Log Out and then click OK.

Figure 3.20FIGURE 3.20 A confirmation dialog box appears to make sure that you really want to log out.

The Save Current Setup Check Box

You might notice the Save Current Setup check box as you log out of your desktop environment. This check box doesn't refer to the configuration changes you just made; those changes have been saved already. Checking the Save Current Setup box causes Red Hat Desktop to remember any applications that were still running when you logged out. The next time you log in, they will automatically be restored.

Because you probably don't have any applications running yet, you don't need to worry about this check box right now.

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