PROLOGThis manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.
NAMElp --- send files to a printer
lp [-c] [-d dest] [-n copies] [-msw] [-o option]... [-t title] [file...]
DESCRIPTIONThe lp utility shall copy the input files to an output destination in an unspecified manner. The default output destination should be to a hardcopy device, such as a printer or microfilm recorder, that produces non-volatile, human-readable documents. If such a device is not available to the application, or if the system provides no such device, the lp utility shall exit with a non-zero exit status. The actual writing to the output device may occur some time after the lp utility successfully exits. During the portion of the writing that corresponds to each input file, the implementation shall guarantee exclusive access to the device. The lp utility shall associate a unique request ID with each request. Normally, a banner page is produced to separate and identify each print job. This page may be suppressed by implementation-defined conditions, such as an operator command or one of the -o option values.
OPTIONSThe lp utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1-2008, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines. The following options shall be supported:
- Exit only after further access to any of the input files is no longer required. The application can then safely delete or modify the files without affecting the output operation. Normally, files are not copied, but are linked whenever possible. If the -c option is not given, then the user should be careful not to remove any of the files before the request has been printed in its entirety. It should also be noted that in the absence of the -c option, any changes made to the named files after the request is made but before it is printed may be reflected in the printed output. On some implementations, -c may be on by default.
- -d dest
Specify a string that names the destination (dest).
is a printer, the request shall be printed only on that specific
is a class of printers, the request shall be printed on the first
available printer that is a member of the class. Under certain
conditions (printer unavailability, file space limitation, and so on),
requests for specific destinations need not be accepted. Destination
names vary between systems.
If -d is not specified, and neither the LPDEST nor PRINTER environment variable is set, an unspecified destination is used. The -d dest option shall take precedence over LPDEST, which in turn shall take precedence over PRINTER. Results are undefined when dest contains a value that is not a valid destination name.
- Send mail (see mailx) after the files have been printed. By default, no mail is sent upon normal completion of the print request.
- -n copies
- Write copies number of copies of the files, where copies is a positive decimal integer. The methods for producing multiple copies and for arranging the multiple copies when multiple file operands are used are unspecified, except that each file shall be output as an integral whole, not interleaved with portions of other files.
- -o option
- Specify printer-dependent or class-dependent options. Several such options may be collected by specifying the -o option more than once.
- Suppress messages from lp.
- -t title
- Write title on the banner page of the output.
- Write a message on the user's terminal after the files have been printed. If the user is not logged in, then mail shall be sent instead.
OPERANDSThe following operand shall be supported:
- A pathname of a file to be output. If no file operands are specified, or if a file operand is '-', the standard input shall be used. If a file operand is used, but the -c option is not specified, the process performing the writing to the output device may have user and group permissions that differ from that of the process invoking lp.
STDINThe standard input shall be used only if no file operands are specified, or if a file operand is '-'. See the INPUT FILES section.
INPUT FILESThe input files shall be text files.
ENVIRONMENT VARIABLESThe following environment variables shall affect the execution of lp:
- Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1-2008, Section 8.2, Internationalization Variables for the precedence of internationalization variables used to determine the values of locale categories.)
- If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other internationalization variables.
- Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments and input files).
Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error and informative messages written to standard output.
- Determine the format and contents of date and time strings displayed in the lp banner page, if any.
- Determine the destination. If the LPDEST environment variable is not set, the PRINTER environment variable shall be used. The -d dest option takes precedence over LPDEST. Results are undefined when -d is not specified and LPDEST contains a value that is not a valid destination name.
- Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES.
- Determine the output device or destination. If the LPDEST and PRINTER environment variables are not set, an unspecified output device is used. The -d dest option and the LPDEST environment variable shall take precedence over PRINTER. Results are undefined when -d is not specified, LPDEST is unset, and PRINTER contains a value that is not a valid device or destination name.
- Determine the timezone used to calculate date and time strings displayed in the lp banner page, if any. If TZ is unset or null, an unspecified default timezone shall be used.
STDOUTThe lp utility shall write a request ID to the standard output, unless -s is specified. The format of the message is unspecified. The request ID can be used on systems supporting the historical cancel and lpstat utilities.
STDERRThe standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.
EXIT STATUSThe following exit values shall be returned:
- All input files were processed successfully.
- No output device was available, or an error occurred.
CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORSDefault.
The following sections are informative.
APPLICATION USAGEThe pr and fold utilities can be used to achieve reasonable formatting for the implementation's default page size. A conforming application can use one of the file operands only with the -c option or if the file is publicly readable and guaranteed to be available at the time of printing. This is because POSIX.1-2008 gives the implementation the freedom to queue up the request for printing at some later time by a different process that might not be able to access the file.
To print file
lp -c file
To print multiple files with headers:
pr file1 file2 | lp
RATIONALEThe lp utility was designed to be a basic version of a utility that is already available in many historical implementations. The standard developers considered that it should be implementable simply as:
cat "$@" > /dev/lp
- Wording requiring the output to be ``hardcopy''
- A requirement for multiple printers
- Options for supporting various page-description languages Given that a compliant system is not required to even have a printer, placing further restrictions upon the behavior of the printer is not useful. Since hardcopy format is so application-dependent, it is difficult, if not impossible, to select a reasonable subset of functionality that should be required on all compliant systems. The term unspecified is used in this section in lieu of implementation-defined as most known implementations would not be able to make definitive statements in their conformance documents; the existence and usage of printers is very dependent on how the system administrator configures each individual system. Since the default destination, device type, queuing mechanisms, and acceptable forms of input are all unspecified, usage guidelines for what a conforming application can do are as follows:
- Use the command in a pipeline, or with -c, so that there are no permission problems and the files can be safely deleted or modified.
- Limit output to text files of reasonable line lengths and printable characters and include no device-specific formatting information, such as a page description language. The meaning of ``reasonable'' in this context can only be answered as a quality-of-implementation issue, but it should be apparent from historical usage patterns in the industry and the locale. The pr and fold utilities can be used to achieve reasonable formatting for the default page size of the implementation. Alternatively, the application can arrange its installation in such a way that it requires the system administrator or operator to provide the appropriate information on lp options and environment variable values. At a minimum, having this utility in this volume of POSIX.1-2008 tells the industry that conforming applications require a means to print output and provides at least a command name and LPDEST routing mechanism that can be used for discussions between vendors, application developers, and users. The use of ``should'' in the DESCRIPTION of lp clearly shows the intent of the standard developers, even if they cannot mandate that all systems (such as laptops) have printers. This volume of POSIX.1-2008 does not specify what the ownership of the process performing the writing to the output device may be. If -c is not used, it is unspecified whether the process performing the writing to the output device has permission to read file if there are any restrictions in place on who may read file until after it is printed. Also, if -c is not used, the results of deleting file before it is printed are unspecified.
SEE ALSOmailx The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1-2008, Chapter 8, Environment Variables, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines
COPYRIGHTPortions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. (This is POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1 applied.) In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online at www.unix.org/online.html .
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