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turtles
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:38 pm    Post subject: Gentoo printer OS Reply with quote

Greetings all I have a handful of bizarre commercial business printers I probably will support until what seems is the 'end of time'.
Some print bar codes, some print large format, some print on card stock..
One is a HP laser-jet 5 from the 90's.
I keep thinking these will get replaced and decades just go by, office inkjets come and go and the legacy printers just whirr away.

So there must be other Gentoo folks out there that need to do this also?

And now all kinds of new devices that like to, want to, demand to connect to all these legacy printers locally and over ssh.
I have used CUPS for a really long time now.
My strategy has been to park a old laptop (no shortage around here) by each printer, install Linux on it and run a cups server.

I like old laptops because they have battery packs that can last a few minutes during a power flicker or outage.
I have had this idea for a long time to make a custom Gentoo build script for just this task and this task only.
It would have every possible printer option, CUPS and nothing else.
I envision a build 'cross compile' script for old 32 bit, raspberry Pie's, or even old router hardware.
The only admin interfaces would be serial console,ssh and cups itself.

Any thoughts / suggestions?
Anyone done this already?
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figueroa
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a lot of effort, energy, and heat to use a laptop that does nothing else as a print server. Why not just a small, cheap off-the-shelf device print server for each of them? eBay!
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Etal
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheap print servers usually expose the raw printer interface over the network, which means you need to find and install drivers on each client. If you have a CUPS server with all the printer drivers, all printers will only need a postscript driver. Of course you could get a bunch of print servers and connect them to one CUPS instance, but turtles says he already has old laptops, and besides they tend to be pretty efficient when idle.

Personally, I installed Gentoo on the original Raspberry Pi for my home print server 6 years ago and barely touched it since.
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szatox
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks reasonable to me.
Quote:

I have had this idea for a long time to make a custom Gentoo build script for just this task and this task only.

With a laptop, even a very old one, you have enough disk space not to worry about it, so I guess just start with stage3 and throw whatever you need at it.

I used to update a P3 laptop with a 64bit quad core machine. I just exported / from that laptop using NFS, mounted it on a beefy machine. chrooted in and let it run. Worked like a charm.
No need for cross-compilation, distcc or other tricks, just put all cpu-specific flags in make.conf and don't allow it to detect your cpu.

No idea if there is any linux way to properly detect printers. my last experiences with configuring cups were like "this is the detected printer family, now tell me which model is it... Sh!t it's not listed"
Manufacturer only provides "exe" installers for windows. And it's not a typical self-extracting archive, so can't even easily unzip it :evil:
So... Yeah, I wonder if you can automate adding printers to cups. Would be awesome.

Anyway, if you run into any specific problems... You know we're happy to help.
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