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How to setup a Print Server on a PC and send print jobs via LPR commands

Posted on 2009-04-06
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I have no experience with Print Servers and no nothing about Unix (or non MS related OSs).

We have customers that have to send jobs via LPR commands to us (there is no way of getting around it) but they are sending directly to our network Xerox Copier.  Its fine but we need to manipulate their data so the jobs do not get printed immediately or even in the format they send to us.  We take the data and put it in our format and then they get printed with 20,000 other invoices.
The problem is they get sent to the Xerox machine and they are held in a queue but the raw data is there with all other local print jobs. When they LPR the job to the Xerox machine the Xerox machine renames the jobs to ###dat (no extension) the problem is the ###dat is the next available job, ie 125dat which is the 125th job sent.  We do not have any control over that job # so we have to manually find the job.
What we want to do is setup a Print Server PC where they LPR the jobs and we hold them and copy them to our network and manipulate their raw data in to the format that we can use.  None of the jobs will be printed until much later on in a different format.

I hope I made this clear.  Any ideas where to begin?  We are not looking at spending a ton of money but we hope there is a solution out there for us.

thanks
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Question by:drewmorris
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 24083965
This is not possible under Windows, as Windows will not act as an LPR relay. It can be done under Unix (linux) where you could create a print queue, and put it on hold so the job can be edited withsome editor or other utility.

For Windows, how about getting the driver to print to a File on a server, rather than LPR, so you can then modify the file before LPRing it to the printer?
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Author Comment

by:drewmorris
ID: 24090618
Thanks hdhondt.
I have a VMWare Server with Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian (know nothing about them) as Virtual Machines  can I set it up on one of them?
If so, any "dummies guide to setting up a print queue on Linux"?
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by:hdhondt
ID: 24093558
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Author Comment

by:drewmorris
ID: 24101900
Thanks hdhondt:


I got my printer up an running on it but still don't know how to set it up as a "print server" any links for it?
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 24103501
Create a printer on another workstation that prints to this printer.
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Author Comment

by:drewmorris
ID: 24110396
I need the ability to have External users send Print Jobs to it using the LPR command line, I cannot have them install our printers on their machine.  
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 24114314
If I understand you correctly, here's what you want to do:

You have a file on workstation 1, which is curently sent to a printer using lpr. Instead, you want to send the file to workstation 2 (or a server), edit it and then send it to the printer - or perhaps use the modified file for something else altogether.

In that case, I would not use lpr. Instead, copy or ftp the file from WS1 to WS2.  Then edit it and do whatever you want with it. If you do want to print the modified file, lpr it to the printer from WS2 after modification.

If you do want to use lpr to send the file, you could use the following command on WS1:

lpr -P //WS2/printers/queue filename
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Author Comment

by:drewmorris
ID: 24117262
hdhondt: thanks again, yes they have to use the lpr command.  I have the ubuntu workstation up and I just don't get how to set it up as an LPD (correct?) Server.  I have my printer installed but I must not have it configured properly to accept LPR commands.
I am having a problem setting it up.  Does it actually need to be a physical printer? I just want to send jobs to a queue on that machine but I don't know if that is possible.

When I go to install a New Printer I see a list of printers it found on our network, the one that I would use is a Xerox FreeFlow 4127 EPS Print Server PS but there are no drivers for it (unknown) and I went to http://openprinting.org/printer_list.cgi to see if there were drivers and no luck.

So, I tried to add a LPD/LPR Host or Printer under Selection
Location: Host: localhost is the only option
queue name: test

3 Choices: Not sure what to select here
Select Printer from Database:
Provide PPD File
Search for a printer driver to download

I tried the HP6940 that I have that is connected to the network and did a print test page and it just shows "processing - recoverable: Network host 'localhost' is busy; will retry in 10 seconds"(but the time keeps going up)
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 24121419
On the "server" you don't need to install a physical printer, you just want a queue. That queue must be put on hold, so the print jobs will stay there for editing.

Why do they have to use the lpr command? If the file exists, why can't they use ftp or some other command to send the file to the server?
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Author Comment

by:drewmorris
ID: 24122652
Unfortunately, for this customer it has to be that way (LPR).  All of our other customers either email or ftp their files but this customer which has 100 branches does it this way and if we want their business it must be done that way.

I must be missing some steps, I have a printer setup as LPD/LPR Host and have a Queue named "dummy" I go to a windows xp machine on the same network and send a test.txt  file but I keep getting "Error: Print Server unreachable or does not exist
C:\test>lpr -S 192.168.0.59 -P dummy test.pdf
Error: print server unreachable or specified printer does not exist.
printer-cups.jpg
printer-01.jpg
printer-02.jpg
printer-03.jpg
printer-04.jpg
printer-05.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 24125064
Is 192.168.0.59 the IP address of the server or of the printer? It needs to be the server.
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Author Comment

by:drewmorris
ID: 24126468
It is the Server
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Author Comment

by:drewmorris
ID: 24131253
I guess I am not making myself very clear.

There isn't a printer physically connected to the Ubuntu machine.  I am trying to send print jobs to the dummy queue and all jobs will be "held" (not printed).
I need to be able to send jobs to the "dummy" queue with the LPR Command.
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Accepted Solution

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hdhondt earned 2000 total points
ID: 24134794
Your setup should work as far as I can tell. Unfortunately I don't have access to a unix system to test it out.

Another way to do it would be to install an LPD daemon for Windows. The following packages look as if they will do the job:

http://www.softlookup.com/display.asp?id=25105
http://www.omnicomtech.com/products/alphalpd.php3
http://www.sharewareconnection.com/sdi-lpd.htm
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Author Closing Comment

by:drewmorris
ID: 31570058
Are you kidding me? After all the wasted time trying to get linux print serving up and running you found me the perfect solution for $25.00!!!!
THANK YOU!!
It is the SDI LPD (last link you posted).
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 24154221
I suppose I got caught because you have unix, and the obvious solution was to use that. It's only after we reached a dead-end that I decided to try Google...

Thanks for the points!
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