There are a lot of different barcode printers out there and just about as many different kinds of barcode software, if not more. Macs, PCs, and Linux systems all have unique kinds of software used for barcode printing. Some of these programs can give a regular printer the capability to print barcodes while other programs work to integrate specific barcode printers with the OS being used. The following list contains some of the more commonly used programs for barcode printing off a Linux based system.

Depending on the OS you use, some barcode printers might not work. When you purchase your barcode printer (if you get a printer specifically designed for barcodes, like the one offered by Shopify), you'll have to check to make sure it's compatible with your systems OS and any other hardware and software you use. If you don't perform this check, you just may find yourself with a barcode printer that doesn't work with your system.


TBarCode/X is one of the programs that transforms a regular printer into a barcode printer. It doesn't lose the normal capabilities to print, however, so there's no need to worry about making your printer a one-trick pony. According to Tec-It, the TBarCode/X software can be used to create barcodes in these five areas:
  • Barcode extension for print and spool servers
  • Barcode printer server for SAP, R/3, ORACLE, and any other ERP applications you might use.
  • Barcode engine for document management requirements and logistics software.
  • Barcode printing software for VDA 4902, ODETTE, and AIAG B-10 forms.
  • Barcode generator for web and cellular phone applications.
It's a versatile piece of software that works on Linux, UNIX, and OS X systems. Additionally, TBarCode/X has a very extensive program library called LibTBarCode that can greatly help in barcode generation in Bitmap, PostScript/EPS, and PCL formats. The best part is that this library can be directly integrated into your system so you can use the TBarCode command line to provide commands.

GNU Barcode

GNU Barcode is a piece of software that can be used to directly convert a text string into a barcode. The type of barcode you wish to use is up to you as GNU can support a wide variety of standard code types. According to GNU, the main features of GNU Barcode are:
  • Available as a library and an executable program depending on your specific needs.
  • It supports UPC, EAN, ISBN, CODE 39 and multiple other common encoding standards.
  • It has the capability to output both Postscript and Encapsulated Postscripts.
  • Has multiple measurement unit inputs including inches, centimeters, and millimeters.
  • Has the ability to create a table of barcodes for easy printing onto sticker sheets and other bulk pages.
An interesting aspect of the GNU Barcode system is that GNU is actually much more than just a program for creating and printing barcodes. GNU's about articles discuss how the GNU operating system is actually, in many cases mistaken as just Linux. That's not to say that all Linux OSes are based on the GNU OS, but a number of them use more of GNU than many people realize. The specifics of the relationship are complicated and it deals with how Linux as a whole is developed and run. Since Linux is an open source piece of software, anyone can access the source code to work on development and creating modifications and changes. Because of the nature of Linux, many people that use Linux don't realize that, while the kernel (defined by webopedia as the small center of an OS that starts first and constantly remains in the main memory) itself is unarguably Linux, the rest of the OS might be something else, like GNU.

Zint Barcode Generator

Zint Barcode Generator is a piece of barcode software that was actually in hibernation for quite some time as the developers left to work on other projects. But, according to Source Forge, the program has been resurrected and is in use again. Zint.github states that the Zint Barcode Generator is an encoding library for barcodes that supports over 50 different symbologies. Some of the supported types include Data Matrix, USPS OneCode, UPC/EAN, ITF, QR Codes, Maxicode, Aztec, LOGMARs, and plenty others. The Zint user manual states that Zint is a project designed to provide a cross-platform barcode generation solution that is completely open source. It is a program you could use without much knowledge of coding or Linux, but you probably want to tread carefully if you decide to use it.

If you're using some iteration of Linux as your OS, you probably have at least some knowledge of programming and coding. That knowledge can be incredibly useful when using these programs as some of them have very intricate systems and abilities that the average user might not be able to understand. Regardless of your experience and knowledge, it's absolutely imperative that when you plan on using some software for barcode creation that you make sure your hardware is compatible. Paying for licensing fees and then realizing your stuff doesn’t work together is a good way to waste money and breed frustration.
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