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Comment: Re:Web server for printing... (Score 1) 178

by printman (#48154011) Attached to: Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

LPD never was standardized. Every implementation is different, and RFC 1179 tried to document the common stuff - you'll note the status is Informational.

And I wouldn't call a simple HTTP POST-based interface a "monstrosity". IPP has a well-defined binary message format (no XML bloat), security model, and state machine that is deployed on billions of devices and has proven interoperability, something that LPD never achieved.

Comment: Re:OpenSSL support dropped... (Score 1) 178

by printman (#48153891) Attached to: Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

I can't read the LWN article yet but licensing was not a reason for dropping OpenSSL, and all things being equal there are no issues with including an exception for OpenSSL's license incompatibility or using an OpenSSL library that is part of the standard OS libraries.

OpenSSL was dropped because there were only resources to support one TLS library on free software OS's and the GNU TLS API and implementation are superior to OpenSSL.

Comment: Re:OpenSSL support dropped... (Score 1) 178

by printman (#48149469) Attached to: Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

Honestly I don't know. But the number of systems still running a vulnerable version of OpenSSL is non-trivial...

In any case, the primary reason for dropping OpenSSL support is limited developer resources - GNU TLS is a lot easier to interface with and support certificate validation than OpenSSL. Nothing says the old OpenSSL support could not be brought back, but there is basically no advantage in doing so.

Comment: Re:I hope... (Score 1) 178

by printman (#48149049) Attached to: Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

Optimistically, fax represents 0.0004% of daily usage of printers from computers. Most fax happens directly at the printer with hardcopy getting fed in. And most people in the printing industry have been hoping/praying that fax will die for like 20 years now. The only reason for its continued existence is the questionable legal standing that faxed documents are valid and safe for contracts and medical information while secure transport over the Internet (TLS, PGP, etc.) is not.

Scan gets slightly more usage than fax, but since no vendor implements a public standard scanning protocol (possibly to change with the IPP Scan spec in formal vote right now? I dunno) and since scan works in the opposite direction as print, I don't see a version of CUPS that does both print and scan coming any time soon. Plus you don't have the same spooling requirements for scan - just pull the scan data from the printer and stuff it in a file from a user application.

Comment: Re:About time (Score 1) 178

by printman (#48148921) Attached to: Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

Of the ~500 million printers in active service today (that's counting all of the printers sold in the last 4 years, since the average service life of a printer is a little over 4 years overall), 96% have one or more network interfaces and 94% support IPP (the holdouts are mainly label printers...)

Most IPP printers support PostScript, PCL, PDF, PWG Raster, or AirPrint, which means you can do a "generic" driver that provides all or most (depending on the printer and language) of the functionality of the vendor's printer driver, with more functionality being available in newer printers.

The last holdout is USB printing (USB only printers account for about 4% of all printers sold these days), where we can use IPP over USB to eliminate drivers. IPP USB support started showing up in 2014 printers, and the latest Ubuntu and OS X support it automatically.

Comment: Re:Where? (Score 1) 178

by printman (#48148825) Attached to: Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

File bugs or email the webmaster if you have trouble with a web site.

In the case of, it is using Bootstrap and the intent is for the navigation to switch to a vertical menu (that can be hidden) when the width gets too narrow. There should be enough space to keep the regular menu "bar" down to 768 pixels wide at least, and if that is breaking you need to tell the webmaster about it, otherwise it won't get fixed...

Comment: Re:Wait... (Score 4, Informative) 178

by printman (#48148779) Attached to: Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

IPP doesn't use XML, it uses a (flat) binary message encoding. I imagine that had IPP been developed a few years later things would have been different... And while it definitely supports what is needed in the enterprise, it also satisfies the consumer space - ~500 million printers in service today (from consumer inkjets to big iron office copiers) support IPP, as does *every* consumer and enterprise computer and mobile device (billions of devices). IPP scales well.

The problem with LPRng was that it was a mess of scripts and hacks to make a variety of printers work. Every "driver" worked differently, and (having spent a fair amount of time with it 20 years ago) making it all work without an expert supporting it was basically impossible. It continued to use an extended version of the LPD protocol (which has nothing other than an informative RFC to document it, with most implementations varying from the RFC in some way) and did not address some pretty basic security issues like hiding job information from other users.

Back in 1998 there was little support for standard languages or doing a proper protocol so that you could monitor a printer's state or cancel a job. Vendors used proprietary languages and protocols to lock you into their drivers, their platform, their products. The whole point of CUPS was to define a standard interface with standard options for drivers while providing a better security model. Yes, that did make it more complicated than LPD/LPRng, but that complexity was needed since printing is *hard* and the software needed to support it is non-trivial. IPP was chosen as the underlying protocol and model because it offered everything needed from regular users to enterprise.

Ultimately CUPS succeeded because it allowed people to print without becoming experts. It allowed Linux distributors to actually support printing, and for printer manufacturers and third parties to provide drivers that "just worked". And it did it using public standards and the very UNIX-y interface of piped commands.

While CUPS continues to carry some old baggage around to keep supporting old printers, the day will come when that is no longer necessary and a leaner version (possibly based on the ippserver code) will be able to replace it. Today the economics favor printers implementing common, open standards so that all platforms can support them without extra, expensive development. Within a few years, it should be possible to retire printer drivers entirely.

Comment: Re:OpenSSL support dropped... (Score 5, Insightful) 178

by printman (#48148297) Attached to: Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

The recent OpenSSL vulnerabilities were just the nail in the coffin. It was more a matter of limited developer resources and the relative difficulty of implementing certification validation with the OpenSSL APIs vs. GNU TLS. (and don't forget we also support SecureTransport on OS X and Schannel on Windows...)

Much better to focus on making support for one popular TLS library on Linux/*BSD than to do a half-assed job for two libraries, one of which has known vulnerabilities and API/forking issues.

Comment: Apple has 'done nothing'??? (Score 5, Insightful) 139

by printman (#47485127) Attached to: Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases As 'Free'

Free apps with in-app purchases show that fact right under the 'Buy' button. And a simple setting controls whether in-app purchases are allowed at all, require approval, or can go through automatically (default is require approval). And iOS 8 has the proxy stuff for family accounts (parental approval for everything if you want).

How is this Apple 'doing nothing'?

Comment: Silicon Valley is a lot bigger than New York... (Score 1) 606

by printman (#46341397) Attached to: 'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

and Google, Apple, etc. are providing mass transit from one city to another within the region. I used to commute (drive) from the South bay (Morgan Hill) to Cupertino daily, which (on a good day) meant 1.5 hours of driving to go 30 miles. I couldn't afford to live in (and frankly didn't like) Cupertino, and the mass transit in the bay area is a joke (I'd be looking at 3 hours between the train and bus for the same commute).

When Apple started their bus service I used it and never looked back. And doing so eliminated (at the time) about 150 cars from the road for a single route, and there are now (I think) 10 different direct routes, with double-decker buses (80 vs. 50 people per bus) plus shuttle service to traditional mass transit locations.

If anything, the new buses and shuttles have probably only served to increase ridership on public transit while removing a shitload of cars from the road. How is that bad, exactly?

Comment: Re:GPL and BSD give uses the same freedoms (Score 1) 1098

by printman (#46060771) Attached to: FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM a 'Terrible Setback'

> (LLVM attracts some investment, such as that of Apple, up to a certain point, because Apple's goal is to undermine GCC.)

No, Apple's goal (like most businesses) is to avoid the GPL3 because it is decidedly unfriendly to business. Plus it doesn't help that the GCC project has a long history of being unfriendly to outside developers in general (remember EGCS?) and wanted nothing to do with OpenGL/OpenCL which use a C-like language for shaders and other GPU code. And when LLVM is as good or better than GCC, it doesn't take a genius to switch.

You can fool all the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. -- Joseph E. Levine