Re: [Gnome-print] Re: [Gimp-print-devel] An introduction to gnome-print (fwd)

Miguel de Icaza wrote:
> ...
> You have still not proved that accounting is going to be an issue;

Ask any corporation if they keep track of printer use.  Ask any
college.  Ask any government agency.  Ask any printing company.

Accounting isn't usually a big deal for cheap prints from B&W lasers,
but as soon as you have a large group of people printing to an
expensive printer (say a typical inkjet printer), the bean counters
will want to know who is using up the supplies so they can charge
them for it.

> You need printer support for accurrate quotas and accurrate
> accounting.  Any other approach is just a failed attempt at feeling
> cozy.

So we should just give up trying and say it can't be done?!?

Reasonably accurate accounting can be done with PS files; PCL and
ESC/P are harder but can also can be monitored to keep track of the
number of prints.  This doesn't prevent malicious users from sending
custom code that will "fool" the accounting system, but the
accounting system is going to at least log 1 page as printed in a
file, and if the sysadm sees 1 page is took an hour to print and
all of a sudden s/he has to replace the printer supplies, they'll
get the offender pretty quickly.

Finally, if the printer *does* support page reporting, it can be
used to get 100% accurate page counts.

So, design a printing system that can do *both*, and design app
toolkits to allow for page accounting, intelligent printer drivers,
etc. in the printing system, and we'll have a much more capable
printing environment than just putting printer drivers in apps.

> I guess "resource management" is another new topic that I do not
> understand.  I wonder what resource you are managing here, and "etc"
> really does not cut it as a complain.

Let's see:

    1. Ink/toner/etc.; printer marking supplies are often expensive
       (why do you think your new inkjet printer costs 1/4 of what
       older printers did?)

    2. Paper/media; the media you print on can be very expensive.

    3. Sharing; the printing system should allow the administrator
       to prevent single users/jobs from monopolizing a printer.

    4. CPU; a single driver can easily use 100% CPU if run to
       generate a print file, while a driver that is run by the
       printing system can be throttled by the speed of the
       printer. This means that you can actually print from more
       than one application, and print to multiple printers without
       completely bogging down the system (imagine that!)

    5. Memory/disk; if you have multiple applications with built-in
       printer drivers printing at the same time, each is using up
       memory and disk space, often when printing to the same printer.

    6. Font management; PostScript printers often only have the
       "standard" set of fonts (Courier, Times, Helvetica, Symbol,
       etc.); applications that use other fonts need to send them
       with the print data or tell the printing system they are
       needed (so it can include them as needed)

#4 and #5 are particularly important with today's inkjet printers,
many of which *only* support raster printing.

> Note: we do have a postscript driver.  If it such big of an issue for
> offices that want to have "etc" features in place, just disable
> anything but the Postscript driver (I guess Postscript is very
> magical in this regard, because it can do a lot of "etc").

Adobe has done a lot to define standard interfaces and formats to
allow for all the things I've mentioned.  There's nothing magical
about it.

Michael Sweet, Easy Software Products        
Printing Software for UNIX             

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