Printing is often a mission-critical service for the users. Samba can provide this service reliably and seamlessly for a client network consisting of Windows workstations.
A Samba print service may be run on a Stand-alone or Domain Member server, side by side with file serving functions, or on a dedicated print server. It can be made as tight or as loosely secured as needs dictate . Configurations may be simple or complex. Available authentication schemes are essentially the same as described for file services in previous chapters. Overall, Samba's printing support is now able to replace an NT or Windows 2000 print server full-square, with additional benefits in many cases. Clients may download and install drivers and printers through their familiar " Point'n'Print " mechanism. Printer installations executed by " Logon Scripts " are no problem. Administrators can upload and manage drivers to be used by clients through the familiar " Add Printer Wizard ". As an additional benefit, driver and printer management may be run from the command line or through scripts, making it more efficient in case of large numbers of printers. If a central accounting of print jobs (tracking every single page and supplying the raw data for all sorts of statistical reports ) is required, this function is best supported by the newer Common UNIX Printing System (CUPS) as the print subsystem underneath the Samba hood.
This chapter deals with the foundations of Samba printing as they are implemented by the more traditional UNIX (BSD- and System V-style) printing systems. Many things covered in this chapter apply also to CUPS. If you use CUPS, you may be tempted to jump to the next chapter but you will certainly miss a few things if you do. It is recommended that you read this chapter as well as Chapter 18, CUPS Printing Support .