parport code provides parallel-port support under Linux. This
includes the ability to share one port between multiple device
You can pass parameters to the
parport code to override its automatic
detection of your hardware. This is particularly useful if you want
to use IRQs, since in general these can’t be autoprobed successfully.
By default IRQs are not used even if they can be probed. This is
because there are a lot of people using the same IRQ for their
parallel port and a sound card or network card.
parport code is split into two parts: generic (which deals with
port-sharing) and architecture-dependent (which deals with actually
using the port).
Parport as modules¶
If you load the parport` code as a module, say:
# insmod parport
to load the generic
parport code. You then must load the
architecture-dependent code with (for example):
# insmod parport_pc io=0x3bc,0x378,0x278 irq=none,7,auto
to tell the
parport code that you want three PC-style ports, one at
0x3bc with no IRQ, one at 0x378 using IRQ 7, and one at 0x278 with an
auto-detected IRQ. Currently, PC-style (
Amiga, Atari, and MFC3 hardware is supported.
PCI parallel I/O card support comes from
parport_pc. Base I/O
addresses should not be specified for supported PCI cards since they
are automatically detected.
If you use modprobe , you will find it useful to add lines as below to a configuration file in /etc/modprobe.d/ directory:
alias parport_lowlevel parport_pc options parport_pc io=0x378,0x278 irq=7,auto
modprobe will load
parport_pc (with the options
whenever a parallel port device driver (such as
lp) is loaded.
Note that these are example lines only! You shouldn’t in general need
to specify any options to
parport_pc in order to be able to use a
Parport probe [optional]¶
In 2.2 kernels there was a module called
parport_probe, which was used
for collecting IEEE 1284 device ID information. This has now been
enhanced and now lives with the IEEE 1284 support. When a parallel
port is detected, the devices that are connected to it are analysed,
and information is logged like this:
parport0: Printer, BJC-210 (Canon)
The probe information is available from files in
Files in /proc¶
If you have configured the
/proc filesystem into your kernel, you will
see a new directory entry:
/proc/sys/dev/parport. In there will be a
directory entry for each parallel port for which parport is
configured. In each of those directories are a collection of files
describing that parallel port.
/proc/sys/dev/parport directory tree looks like:
parport |-- default | |-- spintime | `-- timeslice |-- parport0 | |-- autoprobe | |-- autoprobe0 | |-- autoprobe1 | |-- autoprobe2 | |-- autoprobe3 | |-- devices | | |-- active | | `-- lp | | `-- timeslice | |-- base-addr | |-- irq | |-- dma | |-- modes | `-- spintime `-- parport1 |-- autoprobe |-- autoprobe0 |-- autoprobe1 |-- autoprobe2 |-- autoprobe3 |-- devices | |-- active | `-- ppa | `-- timeslice |-- base-addr |-- irq |-- dma |-- modes `-- spintime
A list of the device drivers using that port. A “+” will appear by the name of the device currently using the port (it might not appear against any). The string “none” means that there are no device drivers using that port.
Parallel port’s base address, or addresses if the port has more than one in which case they are separated with tabs. These values might not have any sensible meaning for some ports.
Parallel port’s IRQ, or -1 if none is being used.
Parallel port’s DMA channel, or -1 if none is being used.
Parallel port’s hardware modes, comma-separated, meaning:
Note that the current implementation will only take advantage of COMPAT and ECP modes if it has an IRQ line to use.
Any IEEE-1284 device ID information that has been acquired from the (non-IEEE 1284.3) device.
IEEE 1284 device ID information retrieved from daisy-chain devices that conform to IEEE 1284.3.
The number of microseconds to busy-loop while waiting for the peripheral to respond. You might find that adjusting this improves performance, depending on your peripherals. This is a port-wide setting, i.e. it applies to all devices on a particular port.
The number of milliseconds that a device driver is allowed to keep a port claimed for. This is advisory, and driver can ignore it if it must.
The defaults for spintime and timeslice. When a new port is registered, it picks up the default spintime. When a new device is registered, it picks up the default timeslice.
Once the parport code is initialised, you can attach device drivers to specific ports. Normally this happens automatically; if the lp driver is loaded it will create one lp device for each port found. You can override this, though, by using parameters either when you load the lp driver:
# insmod lp parport=0,2
or on the LILO command line:
Both the above examples would inform lp that you want
/dev/lp0 to be
the first parallel port, and /dev/lp1 to be the third parallel port,
with no lp device associated with the second port (parport1). Note
that this is different to the way older kernels worked; there used to
be a static association between the I/O port address and the device
/dev/lp0 was always the port at 0x3bc. This is no longer the
case - if you only have one port, it will default to being
regardless of base address.
If you selected the IEEE 1284 support at compile time, you can say
lp=autoon the kernel command line, and lp will create devices only for those ports that seem to have printers attached.
If you give PLIP the
timidparameter, either with
plip=timidon the command line, or with
insmod plip timid=1when using modules, it will avoid any ports that seem to be in use by other devices.
IRQ autoprobing works only for a few port types at the moment.
Reporting printer problems with parport¶
If you are having problems printing, please go through these steps to try to narrow down where the problem area is.
When reporting problems with parport, really you need to give all of
the messages that
parport_pc spits out when it initialises. There are
several code paths:
interrupt-driven, protocol in software
interrupt-driven, protocol in hardware using PIO
interrupt-driven, protocol in hardware using DMA
The kernel messages that
parport_pc logs give an indication of which
code path is being used. (They could be a lot better actually..)
For normal printer protocol, having IEEE 1284 modes enabled or not should not make a difference.
To turn off the ‘protocol in hardware’ code paths, disable
CONFIG_PARPORT_PC_FIFO. Note that when they are enabled they are not
necessarily used; it depends on whether the hardware is available,
enabled by the BIOS, and detected by the driver.
So, to start with, disable
CONFIG_PARPORT_PC_FIFO, and load
irq=none. See if printing works then. It really should,
because this is the simplest code path.
If that works fine, try with
io=0x378 irq=7 (adjust for your
hardware), to make it use interrupt-driven in-software protocol.
If that works fine, then one of the hardware modes isn’t working
CONFIG_FIFO (no, it isn’t a module option,
and yes, it should be), set the port to ECP mode in the BIOS and note
the DMA channel, and try with:
io=0x378 irq=7 dma=none (for PIO) io=0x378 irq=7 dma=3 (for DMA)