[sf-lug] network laser printer

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri May 21 16:10:55 PDT 2010

I wrote:

> Making the printer use a static IP (instead of DHCP), and having it
> publish printing services directly (instead of via a workstation's print
> server software) has the advantage of making its printing services be
> standalone, not dependent on anything else working properly.  Which is 
> A Good Thing.

Here's what I mean:  Around 2006, I was helping out a small firm,
which, one day, had had a brief power outage right before business
hours.  I came in just after 8 AM, and people all over the office,
especially Sales and executive staff, reported that they couldn't print.  

First thing I did was print a test page from my Debian box to the nearby 
networked HP printer:  I'd of course just used the printer's fixed IP
address in CUPS as an LPD or IPP printer.  The text page Just Worked<tm>.

So, what was wrong with printing?  Executive A had configured WinXP to 
use Executive B's workstation printer share for ExecPrinter onto Network
Neighbourhood.  Apparently, Executive B had apparently set up that
share.  Later, Executive A browsed Network Neighbourhood, saw an object
labelled 'ExecPrinter', and thought 'Ah, that's what I want.  I'll make
that thing default' -- without bothering to notice that she wasn't
printing directly to ExecPrinter at all, but rather relaying all jobs
via a spool on someone's workstation.

Executive A was in her office.  Executive B wasn't -- and his
workstation was switched off because of the power blip.  So, his 
printer shares weren't online.  

All told, about 80% of the staff were going around saying 'My
department's printer's offline', while said printer was in all cases
happily functional and waiting for jobs -- because their workstations
were pointlessly trying to route printing via powered-down PCs.

It turned out that almost nobody in that office had bothered to ask IT help;
they'd done it themselves -- and XP's method for setting up printing
to JetDirect remote printers is so non-obvious they'd given up and used
other people's workstation shares instead.

Start -> Printers and Faxes -> Printer Tasks -> Add a Printer -> Local Printer.

That's right:  To set up a remote networked JetDirect printer on XP, you
have to first select _local_ printers.  The dialogue says:

   Select the option that describes the printer you want to use:

   (o) Local printer attached to this computer 
       [ ] Automatically detect and install my Plug and Play printer
   ( ) A network printer, or a printer attached to another computer

Create a new port -> Standard TCP/IP Port -> Enter IP address.

The driver queries the printer at this point across the network and
fills in a TCP port, usually 9100.    -> Finish -> Install Printer
Software.   Pick make/model to select driver.   -> Name Your Printer ->

But (almost) nobody had done that, so (almost) everyone had broken

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