Ask SIPB - December 6, 2002

The end of term is here, and lots of assignments are due. You may need to print many items, including papers and course notes. This week, we look at printing and the many options available.

How can I print Microsoft Office files on Athena?

You can use StarOffice to open up, view, and print many Microsoft Office files (including Microsoft Word and Powerpoint files.). To run Star Office, type at an Athena prompt:
add soffice; soffice &
Or from the menu bar, go to Editing/Publishing -> Desktop Publishing -> Star Office

Why does nothing but a header page come out of the printer when I print from StarOffice?

In many cases, StarOffice is configured to use A4 size paper by default. The printers are not configured to deal with A4 size paper, and will ignore your document. To rectify the situation, click Format->Page in StarOffice, choose the Page tab, and switch the paper size to Letter.

In some instances, though, the printer may actually generate an error message asking you to load A4 paper. In this case, you should cancel your print job by typing one of the following (as appropriate):

athena% lprm -
athena% lprm -Pprintername -
After cancelling the print job, you can then reconfigure StarOffice as stated above.

How can I print double sided on Athena?

To print double sided on Athena, do the following: If the program you're using has a print command option, you should set it to
/usr/athena/bin/lpr -Pprintername2
Where printername is the printer you want to print to. To get a list of printers, type at an athena% prompt:
cview printers

How can I print multiple pages per page on Athena?

This depends on what program you are trying to print from. If the program allows you to specify a print command, you should list:
psnup -n2x2 | /usr/athena/bin/lpr -Pprintername2
"2x2" in this case specifies that each paper should have two rows and two columns of pages. For more information on options to psnup, you can type at an athena% prompt man psnup However, this doesn't work with all programs, and not all programs allow you to specify a print command. For those programs, you should print to a file, and then follow the instructions listed at:

How can I print to Athena printers using my Windows machine?

To print to Athena printers from Windows, you will need a piece of software called KLP. KLP is available on the MIT software site at

Instructions to install and configure KLP can be found at In the process of configuring the printing settings, you will need to know the name and model of the printer you wish to print to. The printer in most Athena clusters is the HP Laserjet 8150DN. The name of the printer can be found on the printer itself, or by typing "cview printers" at the athena% prompt.

The drivers built into Windows for this model are sufficient for standard printing, For more advanced options, such as printing double-sided, you will need to download the appropriate PS (postscript) HP printer drivers from the HP web site at

Note that printing to a printer named printername2 (and not simply printername) will not work with KLP. Instead, you must download the HP driver as mentioned above.

How can I print to Athena printers using my Macintosh?

You can use a program called KLPR, available from the MIT software site at It currently only works on MacOS 8.5 and later, and only has limited functionality in classic mode on MacOSX. Instructions for installing and configuring KLPR can be found at

How can I print multiple copies of a file on Athena?

Printing multiple copies of a file is against the Athena rules of use, and has been disabled on the printers to allow for greater printer life. To obtain multiple copies of a document, you can visit CopyTech to make copies. More information on their hours, locations, and services can be found at

How can I print to Athena from my non-Athena Linux/Unix machine?

The answer depends on whether the printer in question requires Kerberos authentication. For example, all cluster printers require it and most dorm printers don't require it. The instructions to do so on a Debian system can be found at On another systems, you will have to compile lprng with support for kerberos 5, and then follow the rest of the instructions listed in the above url.

If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at We'll try to get back to you, and we might put your answer in our next column.