Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
A basic introduction to what CUPS is and why you might want to use it rather than LPD.
CUPS is what its name says: a common UNIX printing system. It is aimed at providing a common printing interface across a local network, masking differences among the printing systems on each computer. I am not sure that such a system is needed in a pure Linux environment, where the standard Berkely LPD provides this functionality, but CUPS does provide interactivity with SMB and Windows printers. CUPS also allows dynamic printer detection and grouping.
CUPS is licensed under the GPL by a company called Easy Software Products. Besides providing CUPS itself as free software, the company also provides commercial add-ons and support. You can get CUPS from www.cups.org, and it is available as an RPM package for most distributions. I've seen it for Mandrake, Red Hat and SuSE.
How Does It Work?