It’s been a while since I have had any problem with printing in GNU/Linux, but yesterday I needed to print from Beast to give my wife a paper copy of a document. To my surprise, I had not configured the printing… It turned out there was no printer driver for our networked printer for Beast’s amd64 hardware. My wife has been happily printing from a 386 installation of Debian GNU/Linux but I had not enabled “share this printer” from her machine. Fixed that with
ssh -Y herPC "iceweasel(firefox) http://localhost:631" without leaving my chair and then automatically I could print on the printer from my system as easily as if it were plugged in to Beast. The alternative was to set up a virtual machine running 386 and sharing the printer from there.
It turns out that this simple sharing of printers in CUPS is due for a change. Apple which now owns CUPS is dropping features/ways of doing things in CUPS that are not used in OS X. As usual, GNU/Linux is flexible and two projects are set up to take care of that functionality as well as some printer driver filters not used by OS X. It’s all good.
I have been printing with GNU/Linux since 2000 and only met two photocopiers and a colour printer with which I could not print. One company wanted money for a “printer module” for the copier even though the device could be seen on the LAN and the other copier used a proprietary/closed protocol. I have always found some way to print with GNU/Linux and I did not need the desperate measure of running some special hardware in the system to interface to a printer. One time a photocopier serviceman provided a USB print server for a photocopier so we could print from our network (and he could get a higher page-count…). It’s all good.