October 12, 2005

Curious, George: Linux Printing Software I am looking for a Linux based printer server software that will install and run on a low spec pc and give me a really user-friendly, web based user interface; something like Smoothwall... but for printing.

It needs to have some sort of queing system that shows which system (hostname?) and how many pages are to be printed. Any suggestions?

  • CUPS would be the obvious solution, and seems to have what you need (in short, you access the web based administration through port 631 once it is running). There should be packages for most distros out there.
  • CUPS looks a bit over my head. In Smoothwall one downloads an ISO, burns it and installs it. You answer a few questions and bam you're running. I need something like that. CUPS seems to be more about drivers for printers than printer server or managment software... I could be wrong; can you provide a link to some screenshots?
  • Sure thing. From my install: Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 This should be accessible after you install and start CUPS (emerge cups on gentoo, apt-get install cups on Debian, or the equivalent). The project provides a lot of drivers, but it also provides the web interface and a way to share a printer, which, it sounds like, is what you're after. At least in my case I could install CUPS and have things Just Work (tm). If you need more detailed help, you might want to check out this page, although it is fairly dense (which is why CUPS is nice to have in the first place. Hopefully this will help...
  • I'm pointing at the obvious, but linuxprinting.org which is mostly printer oriented, has a section on CUPS configuratin. Googling "Linux Print Server" also fetches a couple of interesting pages.
  • Yeah, no offense but that looks like it would take the better part of a year to set up properly with my Linux skill level. Is there possibly an easier solution?
  • Would something like this be a better solution?
  • No offense taken -- I didn't know exactly what you were shooting for. That being said, is there any particular reason you're looking for a linux solution for this? That's a pretty little piece of hardware techsmith...
  • (And, to clarify, are you looking to tack on a print server to a machine already running linux, or are you looking for a one-shot solution to turn an old machine INTO a networked print host)
  • Sorry, techsmith, that isn't what I was looking for. "or are you looking for a one-shot solution to turn an old machine INTO a networked print host" Yes.
  • "or are you looking for a one-shot solution to turn an old machine INTO a networked print host" Yes. I know it's not exactly a fair question, but ... why the old machine requirement? I remember when I kept fighting with an old PC that I converted in to a DHCP/firewall. When I finally got sick of it and dropped $60 on a router, I realized how silly I had been for not just going the "easy" route :)
  • Probably because he already has the old machine and wants to put it to some use. Though for somebody with art vandal's lack of linux geek-fu, I agree. Buy the Belkin. It'll burn less electricity, emit less waste heat, and generate less noise.
  • I second the Belkin if you just want a drop-in solution. You said you have the extra hardware though, so it might be worth just playing around with setting up Linux on it, as a learning experience. I won't say that it is always the easiest thing, but it isn't terrible either. Also, since I'm assuming you want to be able to print from Windows machines you'll need Samba, too. If you aren't used to linux at all this may be a weekend project, but if you have some experience you could do it in an afternoon. If you do decide to go this route, my email is in my profile and I'm always happy to help.
  • Ah, yeah, sorry for leading you on the wrong track there; I had misinterpreted and thought you wanted to use an already-up-and-running linux machine as a print server. I'll third the recommendation for a standalone solution like the Belkin; I'm currently unaware of any easily bootable print server solution. As loto said, it's very possible to go the full install linux route (and a good way to learn about it), but that's certainly not the easy way.