How to print package labels using Deutsche Post INTERNETMARKE or DHL Online-Frankierung and Ubuntu Linux 9.04 (Jaunty)?

In a nutshell: printing to PDF

Be sure that your cups-pdf pseudo printer is set up correctly. No guarantees!

  1. Choose to print with Java (“Paketmarken mit Java”).
  2. Choose the printer “PDF” in the top left.
  3. If you want, do a test print.
  4. Click to print the postage (“Portodruck”).
  5. Open and print the generated PDF file from ~/PDF/.

In a nutshell: printing to a physical printer

Be sure that your physical printer is set up correctly. No guarantees!

  1. Choose to print with Java (“Paketmarken mit Java”).
  2. Choose your physical prnter in the top left.
  3. If you want, do a test print.
  4. Click to print the postage (“Portodruck”).

In more detail

Basically, when createing postage labels for packages, the INTERNETMARKE website redirects you to and offers two options how to print them:

  1. Printing with Adobe Reader, after downloading a PDF.
  2. A web-startable Java application.

Note that the “Print” (German: “Drucken”) link at the very bottom
right of the Java app’s window just sets prints the
window itself, not the PDF document for the package label. So it’s no option here.

In more detail: printing with Adobe Reader

First of all, you need an active Internet connection, and JavaScript enabled in Adobe Reader to use this solution.

With Adobe Reader, there is the problem that it’s impossible to choose the printer. When pressing “test print”, a print is issued on one of the system’s printers, but without showing a print dialog, a method to choose the printer, or giving a hint what way the target printer is determined. The target printer is neither the system’s standard printer (also restarting Adobe Reader does not help to make it accept a changed standard printer) nor the printer last used in the Adobe Reader print dialog.

So it might be possible to hit the correct printer for printing the postage label, but because you cannot choose a printer yourself, it seems to be impossible to redirect the print output to a file. Because, you neither get a “redirect to file” option in a print dialog, nor can you choose the cups-pdf pseudo printer.

In more details: printing with the Java application

Using the Java application requires an active Internet connection.

Clicking to do a test print (“Testdruck”) in the Java application opens a print dialog, lets you choose a printer (also a cups-pdf pseudo printer and a redirect to file option), and prints fine.

Clicking to do the real print (“Portodruck”) however does not open any print dialog. Instead, it prints to the printer that is currently selected in the Java application’s combo box. If that printer is not set up correctly, the label will be counted as printed, but not be actually outputted. In that case, it is not possible to print it again. The design idea behind this “feature” is probably to programmatically disable the “redirect to file” printing option, to reduce the risk of multiple copies being made.

In more detail: printing to PDF with the Java application

To be able to send package stamps via e-mail (for others to send a
package to you, for example), you need to be able to create a file from
the package stamp print. The working options are:

  1. Print directly to a working file
    pseudo printer (cups-pdf).
  2. Print to a physical printer, and then reprint the job to a working file pseudo printer. This has the advantage that it is secured against the case that the pseudo printer does not work.

If you want to use the first alternative, you need to make sure that your pseudo printer is set up correctly, at least once before doing the first package stamp print. If it is not set up correctly, it might fail printing, and even the CUPS “print again” feature might not work; your stamp is lost, then.

To check if it is set up correctly: In the Java application, do a test print (to
the cups-pdf printer, which is named “PDF”, and without “redirect to file”). Then see if a PDF
appears in ~/PDF/. Rename the test print, as the real print would
else overwrite it. Then you can do the real print, having selected the cups-pdf
printer in the select box of the Java app.

If you want to use the second alternative: You can also use the CUPS management interface at http://localhost:631/jobs/
for re-printing failed jobs. With that, you can only move active jobs
from one printer to another. So, restart the job (so that
it gets active again) and then move it. You can of course re-print several times until you hit a working pseudo printer setup.

In more detail: securing against failed package label prints

Start the tool system-config-printer, go to “Server -> Settings … -> Advanced …” and activate “Preserve job files (allow reprinting)”. This should make it possible to reprint the package stamps in case the print failed. You can then re-print the failed job by showing the printer queue in system-config-printer, enabling “View -> Show finished jobs”, right-clicking a job and select “print again”.

However, note that only printer jobs appear in this list where you did not select “redirect to file” in the printer dialog. So in case you want to repeat printing to file, you need a file pseudo-printer like cups-pdf, instead of a redirection.







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