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What is Apsfilter?

The standard DSL iso includes Apsfilter, a utility to prepares files for printing. It is not a printer driver - Apsfilter uses Ghostscript as a driver. Apsfilter fills the gap between your files (in one of dozens of common formats) and your printer. For more details about Apsfilter and what it does, read about it at the Apsfilter Homepage.

For individuals using Live, USB, or Frugal installations, you will need to edit some system files to automatically backup your printer settings. This requires using the terminal (basic CLI commands), Emelfm, and a text editor (like beaver).

Apsfilter Setup Script

Apsfilter includes a setup script which will help you configure your printer. The script can be run from the DSL Control Panel (Printer Setup) or from the DSL Menu (System->Printing/lpd->configure printer). Start the script, follow the prompts, and remember the name you give your printer ('lp' is the default name).

To get familiarized, read the walkthrough below. Otherwise skip down and read about announcing your printer and starting the print daemon.

Walk-Through: Setting Up a Printer With Apsfilter

This is a walkthrough which sets up Apsfilter to use an Epson Stylus C62 on a USB connection. The walkthrough runs the setup script via the DSL Control Panel. To set up another printer, you will need to know:

  • the printer name, make, and model
  • the printer's device connection (something like /dev/usb/lp0)

If you know your printer make/model and device connection, this process should take 5-10 minutes the first time. Once you know what you're doing, setup will take about a minute.


1. Start the setup script. Open the control Panel and click "Printer Setup". Accept the license agreement, and decide whether to send a post card to the author.

2. Read and follow the prompts through "Checking Permissions". DSL should automagically setup your permissions with a group and user named lp. Read the text, move ahead until ...

3. Create a new printer (or overwrite an old one). You will have the option of creating a new printer. Do so by pressing 'A' at the prompt.

The main setup screen allows you to configure your printer. For normal printing, you will only need to fill in values for sections 1, 2 and 3.

4. Display the printer driver list from the Main Menu by pressing '1'. DSL recommends starting with the drivers under option 4 (gimp print menu). The drivers in this menu work well with most printers. If you cannot find a suitable driver, move on and try drivers under the other menu options, but start with the gimp drivers (press '4').

5. Find your driver from the list. The script will begin with instructions for navigating the driver list. Browse through until you find a driver that references an Epson Stylus C62 (should be around item 29). Once you find your driver, you can stop browsing by moving to the bottom of the list.

6. Select your driver by entering your driver number (29 for the Epson C62). You will be asked to confirm your choice.

7. Configure your printer connection by pressing '2' at the Main Menu. Apsfilter needs to know how your printer is connected to your PC. You'll bring up the Interface Menu by pressing '2'.

8. Configure your printer interface by selecting one of the six interfaces listed (1-6). Read the text for some useful details. For this walkthrough, the Epson C62 is connected via a USB cable, so choose 'local parallel/USB' by pressing '1'.

9. Configure your device settings by supplying Apsfilter with the path to your printer. DSL is a Linux OS, so the printer is most likely assigned a device path connected to port LPT1. For a the Epson C62 on USB, we will want to use something like the text shown for "USB under Linux" and LPT1. Under "Full path of the parallel print device:" enter:


If we were using a parallel printer cable to connect to the PC we would have entered:


Option 2 shows 'parallel' but that is OK. That value will show for parallel or usb port printers. Move ahead to return to the Main Menu.

10. Set your paper format by pressing '3' at the Main Menu. "US Letter" is standard for North America, and 'A4' is standard for European countries. Choose a paper size by pressing that number (say ... A4! press '1').

11. Print a test page at the Main Menu by pressing 'T'. Apsfilter will ask for confirmation. After a few seconds, a test page should start to print. If not, check your printer first (cables, power, etc.). Try again. If still no luck, you may need to go back and ensure you have chosen the correct driver and device path for your printer. If your test page is successful, press enter to return to the Main Menu.

12. Finally, Finalize your installation by pressing 'I' at the Main Menu. Apsfilter will ask you to give your printer a name (the default is lp). It's wise to give your printer a specific name (like EPSON_C62). Confirm your printer name, and then return to the Main Menu.

13. Finish up by pressing 'Q' to quit at the Main Menu. Apsfilter will give you some readme-like text. Read up once so that you don't have to do it later.

Congratulations! You have configured your settings, and you are almost ready to print. You can set up more printers if you like by running the setup script again and selecting 'A' for 'Add Printer' when prompted.

Announcing Your Printer and Starting the Print Daemon

Once you set up Apsfilter, you have to announce to all applications that you have a printer set up (set an environment variable). You also have to turn on the print daemon. To do these two things:

  1. Open the console (terminal/bash)
  2. Issue the command "export PRINTER=EPSON_C62", substituting the name of your printer for 'EPSON_C62'
  3. Exit the terminal
  4. Open the Control Panel
  5. click on the "Printing/lpd" button to turn on the print daemon

Now you should be able to use your printer in all applications. Congratulations on setting up your printer!!

Backing Up Your Settings

These instructions describe how to utilizing the automatic backup/restore features on Live CD, USB boot, and Frugal installations.

  1. Open /home/dsl/filetool.lst (use Emelfm, or use Beaver or another text editor)
  2. Add three entries to filetool.lst. The last entry must contain your printer name. For our Epson C62 example, the entries would be as follows:

Automatically Starting the Printer Daemon

Now we want to go to the /opt directory in Emelfm to add some commands to the bootlocal.sh file. This file contains scripts you would like to run when your PC boots up. Choose the bootlocal.sh file and press the button.

We need to enter the same command in bootlocal.sh that we entered in the console earlier. This will allow all apps to use your printer without you having to enter your printer information.

This is one more option you can add to bootlocal.sh if you would like the printer daemon to start automatically at boot. As shown above, add /usr/sbin/lpd and save.


That's it for this howto. DSL also supports CUPS, so you might consider reading about CUPS and using it as an alternative.

Enjoy your printer!!