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Recipe 14.7. Building a Dedicated CUPS Printer Server

14.7.1 Problem

Sharing printers connected to PCs works fine, but it places an extra load on the PCs, and the PCs must be running for printers to be accessible. And sometimes it means running all over to fix things. You want to set up a dedicated printer server, for easier centralized printer management.

14.7.2 Solution

A plain-vanilla Pentium-class PC with several attached printers makes a dandy CUPS printer server. There are two good ways to install multiple printers to a single PC:

  • Use additional parallel-PCI cards, for connecting parallel-port printers.

  • Add USB hubs for connecting more USB printers.

Set up a minimal Linux installation, with CUPS. Install all the Foomatic and Gimp-Print packages and drivers. (These are available both as RPMs and in Debian repositories.)

Then all you need to do is install the printers and configure CUPS. See the first four recipes in this chapter for how to install printers, and information on sharing with both Windows and Linux clients without needing to use Samba.

14.7.3 Discussion

A centralized printer server has a lot of advantages: all the printers are in one place, supplies can be stored close by, and users are not bothered by other people wanting to use their printers. And if you use Linux and CUPS for a print server, you don't need to set up Samba to share printers with Windows clients.

14.7.4 See Also

  • PC Hardware in a Nutshell, by Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson (O'Reilly). This is a great hardware guide, even though it is Windows-centric, and their companion web site ( includes a lot of useful updates to the book.

  • The "Printing System Management" section in the CUPS Software Administrator's Manual at (http://localhost:631/documentation.html).

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