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PRINTING: needs work on network attached printers



Testing wolverine.
Looking at new PrintConf tool.

The method for setting up to use network printers is sadly inflexible.
It amazes me that no distribution has yet supported the obvious need;
Many many friends, co-workers, and others are using inexpensive
ethernet print servers from D-Link, Linksys, and many other companies
that take any average HP LaserJet or other PCL or Postscript printer,
and
attach it to the local ethernet for sharing.  These print server boxes
are
inexpensive and support the LPD protocol, but obviously have no internal

disk or system for doing a local spool filter.

Why are so many customers using these?  Home Internet Sharing.
Since many people now have more than one computer, they want
to share the printer and the ethernet.  So using an inexpensive
print server with LPD protocol is becomming very common.

Only the HP JetDirect boxes, which cost 3 to 5 times more money, use
a custom protocol or use port 9100.   The huge number of other low cost
ethernet print servers cost approx $99 US dollars, and do LPD.

This requires the ability to do the input filtering ON THE SENDING
machine,
not the DESTINATION print server.
While Suse Linux 6.4 made a huge effort to document this procedure in
their user
manual, it was still unnecessarilly complex to configure by hand.

I am very impressed that the new RedHat 7.1 PrintConf tool will permit
configuartion
of a Direct Network attached Printer, but am sad that you have limited
this
to the JetDirect boxes at port 9100.   It is not very difficult to add a
menu choice
for the more common, less expensive generic LPD network attached
print server boxes.  PLEASE forward this email to the printconf team so
they
can consider this realistic and needed request.

Basic configuration is (suppose a user has an HP LaserJet  with PCL):

Select printer type (HP, LaserJet 5P, driver ljet4).
Enter IP# of remote ethernet printserver device.
select protocol:  lpd, ipx, smb

Printconf would then have to set up a local queue with
pre-input filter, running via ghostscript to convert
output to PCL print format on local box.
Secondary local queue in printcap file would then have to
send the already formatted PCL output across the
network to the remote lpd printserver device,
which directly attaches to the PCL printer.

If anyone at redhat thinks this is not a common situation for
customers, I strongly urge a customer focus study to be done
by your marketing group.  You will find many many households
and businesses that are using a mixed windows and Linux
environment, with PCL printers, that need a way to easily share
those printers with the already common lpd ethernet print
server aadapter boxes.

I would be happy to help test this , and even offer direct input
for the modifications and/or documentation.

Neal





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