MacBook Pro: Update on Integration: Printing

I use a 90-95% virtualized environment and here is a brief update of how I integrated my Mac Book Pro into this environment. Specifically about printing. Some notes first:

Print Server: Windows 2008 R2 running as a VM (why windows, because I needed an AD server so this is a AD/Print Server combination)

Printer connected to a Belkin FL5009 USB over IP device

This configuration seems fairly straight forward, but since I use passwords and heightened security I had to setup MacOS to properly communicate to the remote windows print server using some form of security.

To do this I first went to the following URL:

Printing Issues: CUPS/FL5009 – http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=6871761

This solution spoke about connecting to CUPs directly to configure the print queue to use a proper password. I did this by connecting directly to http://localhost:631 using the ‘root’ user password. Once into CUPs click on the Administration tab and then add printer. You will need to specify the printer in the form of smb://username:password@Host/printerName.

This finally allowed me to print from my MacOS desktop to my print server running as a virtual machine. However, this lead to a different problem with printing. Because I was using the Gutenprint and not the Epson R1800 driver all the printouts were faded and for months I wondered why. I did not find a solution until I went to print some graphics and photos. The problem is that the Epson would rather you used their driver but their driver is not setup to work via a print server.

After many hours using Google I found one article that helped by explaining what is happening. The issue is that this particular Epson R1800 printer, requires direct control by its driver to work properly and its driver does not work when you have shared the printer. At least not on the remote host, it works fine local to the print server.  All this boils down to is that I either print hose high quality required jobs direct from the print server or look for a printer that does have the concept of sharing its print driver.

Another option that does work is to connect the printer to the MacOS system via a USB over IP device as well and I know that works, but does not help others much when my MacBook Pro is on the road with me.

UPDATE: MacOS X Lion supports the EPSON SP R1800 driver which prints things as expected, without faded output. Very nice update! In essence, their now exists a CUPs driver that speaks the proper Epson language for shared printers.

Edward Haletky

Edward L. Haletky, aka Texiwill, is an author, analyst, developer, technologist, and business owner. Edward owns AstroArch Consulting, Inc., providing virtualization, security, network consulting and development and TVP Strategy where he is also an Analyst. Edward is the Moderator and Host of the Virtualization Security Podcast as well as a guru and moderator for the VMware Communities Forums, providing answers to security and configuration questions. Edward is working on new books on Virtualization.

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