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Dear Apple

2006-12-10 21:33:27.60065+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Dear Apple. I can't say that I'm a Mac fanatic, but after a year and a half with a PowerBook my earlier (pre OS/X) doubts about the Macintosh as a general computing platform have faded. I'm now loathe to ever boot Windows, and while I dislike some user interface choices and issues with X interoperability, I usually understand that those decisions were made to enable less technical users to use your machine. In short, I far prefer a real Un*x machine, and I really wish you'd hire someone who could design a good switching power supply, because having mine shut off every time I turn on a flourescent light is kind of a bummer, but this ain't too bad.

However, can we talk about your printing subsystem? I have a printer. It's accessible via a Windows share, and via IPP. Every other computer in the house can talk to it just fine. I have yet to configure the Macintosh to find it. It all seems like it should work, I select "IPP" as the protocol type, I enter the IP address of that machine, I print, I go to the print queue, see my stopped job, click on it, click "start jobs", see the "Gimp-Print" status loop through its "% printed" message, and then... nothing comes out.

I don't get anything in the logs of the remote machine on why this job may have failed (or any indication that this computer ever tried to connect), but, worse, I don't find any record on this machine of why the job failed, just a little red exclamation mark.

I realize that most users don't want to know the details, but how the hell am I supposed to figure this out? Is this just the latest in the push for the "Paperless Office", ie: We're going to tell you that you can print, but not actually make it possible? Is printing a piece of fucntionality that hasn't made it into 10.4 yet? What gives?

[ related topics: Apple Computer User Interface Macintosh ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-10 22:20:42.113745+00 by: ebradway

Answer: Ditch your non-Apple computers and ditch the printer for an Apple printer...

Boulder now has an Apple Store and drop in occasionally to test their spill-proof keyboards with my drool. But one of my labmates uses a Powerbook. We share an HP LaserJet 6mp (Postscript!) via an XP Pro box. The HP was plugged into an HP JetDirect box that bit the dust. Through the finder she can easily find the machine it is connected to and all of it's shared resources - except the printer. To connect to the printer, she has to go into the printer system control and add it via the IP address of the machine. Ever ask a Mac user what thier IP address is?!? Then we had to figure out which print engine to use with it. Evidently, the Mac can only speak to a few different flavors of printers - Apple Printers or Postscript printers and maybe a little HP PCL if I tracked down the drivers. Fortunately, this was a Postscript capable printer and, once the machine recognized that there was a printer, it worked right off.

On the flip side, Windows XP now automatically adds printers it finds in the local workgroup as well as shared resources. It's doing a little too much!

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-10 22:34:53.967953+00 by: Dan Lyke

I can handle PostScript, on the machine I'm connecting to I can pipe a .ps file to lp and life is good. And the Mac lets me select my make and model printer from the "which printer type" dropdown list. It just won't tell me why I can't print it.

What's frustrating about this isn't that it doesn't work, it's that it won't tell me anything about "why?".

And given the build quality on this machine I won't be writing generic hardware out of my life any time soon. Apple looks nice, but deeper down I want choices hardware-wise.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-11 01:27:08.305685+00 by: DaveP

Did you poke into the cups log?

/var/log/cups/access_log and error_log

I've had very little luck printing to printers on Windows shares, but there's usually some sort of error message. Or if it's a network printer, you should be able to connect to it directly, rather than going through the windows share.

You also might have better luck if you get a native driver for the printer, rather than gimp-print.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-11 05:12:30.967745+00 by: Dan Lyke

Aha! It's just CUPS. Cool, rather than fumbling through what their cheesey GUI interface does I can copy the config off of an Ubuntu system that I've already set this up on.