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Samba: Problem printing to shared printer

I have a tiny home network set up where my linux box (mandrake 8.2) is supposed to share files, internet service and its local printer with my win98 box using Samba. I have the internet sharing working, and the file sharing works as well. I'm not however able to get the printer sharing to work. In network neighborhood, the win box sees the public folder (which it can access) and the printer, but when I try to install the printer , I get the error "This printer could not be installed. Quit all programs and restart windows ...or contact system administrator".
Oddly, when I first set up SAMBA, I was able to install the network printer, only I got a "communication error" in win98 when trying to do anything with it. After trying to set fix things up using SWAT, I can't even set it up. The printer is an epson stylus color 880.

Here is an abbreviated version of the /etc/samba/smb.conf file:
     workgroup = simpsons
     server string = simpsons
   printcap name = lpstat
   load printers = yes
   printing = cups
   log file = /var/log/samba/log.%m
   max log size = 50
     security = share
  encrypt passwords = no
  smb passwd file = /etc/samba/smbpasswd
   socket options = TCP_NODELAY SO_RCVBUF=8192 SO_SNDBUF=8192
   dns proxy = no
     hosts allow = 192.168.0. 127.
     comment = Public space with read-write access
     path = /home/local/samba-public
     guest ok = yes
     writeable = yes
     comment = All Printers
     path = /var/spool/samba
     browseable = no
     guest ok = yes
     writable = no
     printable = yes

THanks in advance!
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1 Solution
where do you search for the printer drivers: local in \WINDOWS (or WIN CD), or remote on Samba server?
haldrikAuthor Commented:
I am trying to use the drivers on c:\windows (the drivers are there already because this printer used to be used on this computer).
haldrikAuthor Commented:
Also: the directory /var/spool/samba doesn't contain any files. The /cups directory does contain some files (don't know if this is relevant info, but hope it helps  ;)

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if the drivers are there, and have wrked before you moved the printer to the Samba box, I suggest that you simply reinstall the drivers but use the printer as a remote printer (not shure if the drivers are that stupid that they cannot distinguish this).
haldrikAuthor Commented:
I have reinstalled the drivers, and now I am able to "map" the
printer. However, when trying to print anything from the windows
box, I get the following error: (This is from Epsons print manager
program that runs whenever you print anything):
"Communication Error - please try again. If this doesn't work,
contact the system administrator"

Also, in the printer window, I see the job appear, but it's stuck
at the "spooling" stage and doesnt go anywhere. Im not sure why
I still have that problem, since (following another advice on EE)
I've changed the printer properties to "print directly to printer"
rather than "spool".
You might be interested to know that when I'm printing from the
linux box, the linux print job appears in the printer's window
on the Win98 box. So at least I know the linux box is communicating
with the win box about printing matters, it just doesn't seem to
work the other way around.
My guess is that the Epson 880 (sub $100 inkjet) is a "winprinter" and uses the attached computer to control the print job. This type of printer is difficult to network since passing all the control data is difficult and slow.

One possibility is to get 880 printing on a Linux box using a ghostscript driver then use a postscript driver on the Win9x box.
haldrikAuthor Commented:
Hmmm...I've already got the thing working on Linux fine. (Prints in color, and has all the options too). So, if it's working already in linux with no networking, would I still need to switch to a ghostscript driver to get it to work from the win98 station? If so, how do I change the driver? (Originally, I think it was auto detected and setup by mandrake 8.2., so I didn't do the driver selection myself).

haldrikAuthor Commented:
Did I mention that I can telnet into the linux box from the win98 box a print a simple text file? I used:
cat /etc/lilo.conf > /dev/lp0
(Im not sure this makes any difference)
haldrikAuthor Commented:
OK, I've reinstalled the printer in windows using the Epson PostScript Card driver (I read another post where this worked for someone). Now how do I change the linux driver to the ghostscript instead of the Epson 880 one that I guess is built in and set itself up automatically???

(CHanging the driver on the win box alone didn't help...acutally who whole system "pauses" permanently when win tries to talk to the printer (e.g. to retrieve "properties).
haldrikAuthor Commented:
As you suggested, I changed the driver to the epson postscript driver and after a really long pause for setup, I got the thing printing...I can't believe it! Thanks!
(The linux driver didn't need to be changed, it seems)

"Printer supports direct text printing with the `us-ascii' charset."
This would explain how cat /etc/lilo.conf > /dev/lp0 worked.

Since you are using CUPS I would look at http://www.cups.org/ . http://www.cups.org/overview.html is a good place to start.

Since the Epson PostScript Card driver is looking for a specific piece of hardware I would try a generic PostScript driver like the one found here: http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=1500

Here is some info on printing with out CUPS in message 2:

The reason for all this foolishness is pure economics. To make "ink cartridge sales systems" (aka winprinters) inexpensive most of the image processing (rasterization) has been moved to the host PC. The Epson drivers expect to find the printer on a LPT port connected by a bidirectional cable. This is likley the reason for the "communications error" since a network connection is not the equivilent of a parallel port. In order to get around this you need to bypass the Epson driver and get a print file to the spool directory on the Linux box that is in a format the CUPS (or LPD) print system understands. A generic PostScript driver should accomplish this.

For testing since "cat /etc/lilo.conf > /dev/lp0" worked you could try some text printing using the "generic text only" connected to the printer share on the Linux box. If that works then try the generic Adobe PostScript driver. CUPS is supposed to have "magic" filters that will determine the type of print job by examining the spool file.

Best of luck!
haldrikAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the info, I'll look it all up, since I want to understand this better.
The postscript driver I'm using now really is doing the trick. WHen I print a web page or any graphics, I'm getting full color and hi res. Black text is perfect as well. It's as if I were printing right from the windows machine (without the hassle of that stupid epson program that pops up every time you print on windows)!
Great! Apparently I added my last comment while you were accepting the answer...

So to get the configuration correct in my mind.

On the Linux machine the default installation of Mandrake 8.2 installed CUPS and identified the correct setup for the Epson printer.

On the Win98 machine all you had to do (after all the other stuff) was install the PostScript driver and point the connection to the printer share on the Linux box.


Are you using the Epson PostScript Card driver or something more generic? I am sure this sort of thing is going to come up again...
haldrikAuthor Commented:
Yes, all of that is exactly correct. And yes, it is the Epson Postscript card that I installed on the Windows box.

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