A device for making hard copies of digital documents.

In rough order of age and quality:

  • line-printers (the print head spans the width of the form-feed paper)
  • dot-matrix (like a line-printer but with a much smaller and movable print head)
  • ink-jet
  • laser-jet

There are two main systems for printing under Linux, the BSD style lpr(1) system (including clones like lprng), and the newer CUPS (which includes optional lpr-style programs for backwards compatibility).

There are higher level printing systems (such as gimpprint and SambaPrinting) that use one or both of the above-mentioned backends.

See CUPSNotes for more information on printing from Linux.