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Features of the Windows spooler and CUPS

I have been tasked with replacing Windows 2000 Print servers with Linux/Samba Printer shares, leaving me with several questions. What features of the Windows spooler are there and how would I implement them on Linux/Samba? Are the print jobs already formatted or do I need to pass them through lpr/cups filters?

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The Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, available from Amazon.Com, gives a very comprehensive overview of both Classical (lpr) printing as well as CUPS.

CUPS can be configured to provide printing smarts (like MS Windows back end printing does) or it can be configured to be as dumb as a mule. In the later case, the CUPS server just becomes a vehicle for passing fully preprocessed print jobs from Windows clients directly to the printer.

I have seen both ends of the complexity spectrum successfully deployed using Samba. The real question is: What is best for your situation?

This was first published in October 2003

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