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The Internet

Internet Printer Protocol 145

Ok, I don't own a printer, but some of you guys might still use that outdated paper thing. Here is an article about the Internet Printer Protocol (IPP) which is being touted now as the latest greatest in allowing people to print over the internet. Odd. I did it all the time when I was writing papers and stuff.
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Internet Printer Protocol

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The WebJetAdmin does this by talking SNMP to the printer, requiring UDP and IP. The printer already talks TCP (for the LPR protocol). How much are you saving here?

    Also, I don't like (Web)JetAdmin. It does nasty things to our network, putting junk in the ARP tables.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    its about time... i had this on Mac + Network LaserPrinter (select Printer on Network from CHOOSER) back in 1985... only took 14 years for people to catch on that printers on a net are a good idea.

    System Level Printer Drivers for the OS only took 4 years after it was standardized on the Mac. Before that, we had every app had to support a kajillion Printers (one set for WordStar, one set for AutoCAD, one set for dBase...).

    System level Standardized Outline Fonts took another 4 years... in another 2-3 years we should almost be at the same spot we were at in '86!

    The slow rate of techinical progress never ceases to amaze me.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You can use printer features with LPR by using the appropriate model file for your printer. Some printers support remote query via SMNP, which is the right choice for that sort of thing anyway.
  • Most of the folks in this arena know that print is dead and that lpd does the job. These things are true kind of like "proprietary software is dead" and "all you need is a command line." IPP is a good thing because it provides a lot of features that lpd does not - good job control/querying, good status querying (more than just where is my job in the process). It lets you provide more information about a printer in a unified place. Lotsa things that UnixHeads don't much care about, but that many of the general lUsers do.
    Actually, it turns out that LPD isn't much of a standard at all - check out RFC 1179. The second sentence reads "This memo is for informational purposes only, and does not specify an Internet standard."
    And remember, IPP is just a certain dialect of HTTP. It's no more or less secure than LPD - just a little more understandable to the general public, so junk printing shouldn't be any more of a problem.
    The only reason they mention FAXing in the article is because that's the only way most people can relate to remote printing. Remember that the denominator CNN is addressing is pretty low.
    IPP has the potential to be a good new printing standard, and the Linux community has the chance to build a good IPP infrastructure WAY before the windows community does. Implementing IPP really isn't very hard.
    Kick some Redmond butt, people.

    Kurt Werle
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd be hard pressed to tell you how to do your example in ANY OS. From what I can tell about lpr/lpd, lpr allows you to pass any option string you want to the model file. The model file is generally not the same as the ppd file -- the model file is a script, possibly based on the PPD file, that lets you specify printer specific options.

    As for parsing PPD files, I don't know why someone hasn't written a generic PPD parser already. While the PPD syntax is fairly bletcherous, it's fairly easy to get around the worst of all that with flex and bison. Interfacing your print subsystem directly to the parser might be kind of nasty (lpr -P acmeps -O 'tray="Optional Envelope Feeder"', anyone?)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Cut-buffer must have been munged. Here's the actual LPRng link [].


  • Linux, as said in the other comment, can report when the paper tray is empty, among other things. And, like Macs, Windows HP software can do that exact same thing, just using a background monitor. To correct, the computer and the printer continuously return the status of one another, its just what kind of data their sending, and what information is in it.

    And, second

    Whats up with this assigning-web-addresses-to-printers crap? I mean, you know some loser is going to start buying up addresses for his printer, (etc), and then ACTUAL names of things might show up (like, maybe one day could point to my grandpa's ole 8 pin dot matrix? :). Sadly, what would happen then? Would you take another meg of ram on the printer just to hold its own customizable personal web page (complete with links and pr0n banners)?

    Either way, I don't think that being able to give web addresses to a friggin printer is in the least bit smart. Having the ability to type and see a web page that may (or may not) be customized by its owner, is simply wrong. Printers are printers, computers are computers, and fax machines...well...they're just confused.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Go somewhere else in the world. Telnet to port 9100 of your printer (I'm assuming HP here)... Type something, send an EOF, then close the connection. Wander over to your printer. Oops. The only current way to fix this is to set up a little firewall-esque setup by giving printers private IPs and not routing those. I'm amazed script kiddies haven't started scanning for port 9100. Most printers don't log accesses worth a damn, and they certainly don't try to look up names to verify correct IPs.

    A standard for networked printers rocks. The de-facto lpd `standard' is not secure and is often incorrectly implemented. Check the Apple color laser printers for an example. They run their own lpd internally, and it doesn't talk too well to both NT and various Unices' default lpd. It also denies you the ability to manage its queue. Suck.

    Oh, and PostScript level 3 includes the facility to send a URL to the printer and have the printer fetch the document (WebReady Printing [], although I can't find anything in the language reference). Betcha most of y'all never noticed that. I just wish there was an independently controlled standard for page descriptions. Good laser printers would be much cheaper without the Adobe PS license. There are a few non-Adobe PS-compatible alternatives, but Adobe controls true PostScript. They do cool stuff for printers (job ticketing for large volume printers, lots of other workflow support, PNG support), but I really like independent standards.

    Jason,, who thinks the reference to Intel (r) NT [] (at the bottom) is kinda funny...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Since only one other person has even mentioned LPRng so far... A message [] on LPRng release plans states that the 4.x.x series will support IPP. So if you're interested in working on it, I'd suggest contacting the LPRng folks.

    Avoid NIH and help an extant (and very good) project.


  • repeat
    until billisgay; {don't ask}

    ...probably someone named bill is gay.

    If so, that loop will only execute once. From the context in which the code appears, I think you're wrong -- the opposite sense is intended.

  • You might not be aware, but one can already print to an HP Jet Direct as a BSD style lp queue.

    Here's the /etc/printcap for an hp laserjet on a jetdirect:


    I'm currently failing to see why I'd want to do this though... I can't even imagine how fast I'd go through toner if fax spammers no longer had to pay for their phone calls. Interesting idea, but I'd have to pop myself into the naysayer category.
  • Hold on there...

    You're right about printer security, but AppleShare file sharing works pretty well. Passwords are only clear-text if somebody doesn't support encryption (and netatalk doesn't, for the same reason encrypted passwords are obnoxious to set up in samba). If you've got two Macs talking to each other, they'll use two-way encryption (and they'll tell you that before you type in your password).

    As an added bonus, AppleShare IP runs over TCP/IP instead of AppleTalk.

    It'd be pretty cool if Macs could print over TCP/IP too (that would be really funny after reading this article) but they only print over AppleTalk, which is pretty much confined to local networks (much like IPX).

    Eventually I'll get lpd set up on my box and end all problems... :-)
  • It's no more or less secure than LPD - just a little more understandable to the general public, so junk printing shouldn't be any more of a problem. Umm... Forgive me if I missed something there, but I'm thinking the more people know how to do remote printing, the more people will abuse it. I definitely see cheezy Windows-based GUI portscanners that search the 'Net for open printers and let you send stuff to them, and people sitting in their college computer labs typing in random subnets to scan through a T1 line.
  • You can do this with lpr, without the user ever even seeing the Unix box, much less doing anything with its command line. I've got a Linux box set up using Mars to allow Windows clients to print to a "Netware" queue on the Mars server exactly like they would to a local printer, then the Mars server forwards the jobs through lpr (mine are only going across the building, but once you hit the TCP/IP layer, there's no reason you can't go across the world just as easily) to another Linux server which is actually connected to the printer.

    Result: Windows users with the ability to print to remote printers using only existing protocols and the standard "Print" option in their apps.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by Kwizatz Aderach:

    I live in europe, how am i gonna sue some spammer in Germany or US ? For the moment in Europe you can't win a trial as easily as in the US and got damage compensation that huge...
    As for a guy that sued his hairdresserand won 2 Million $.. forgot where I read it... well even if not true(forgive me if I'm wrong, I don't really know any other law than my countries
  • You're misssing the point. Of course there are TCP/IP printing protocols, lpd being the main one. But it's a seriously crap protocol and not at all extensive. With IPP, you get something that's been designed, not something that was hacked up for what worked as well as needed at UCB 15 years ago.
  • I worked for Xerox last summer and all their new networked copiers have an embedded web server. They also speak BSD lpr, Netware IPX, and Windows NT via IPX as well. The web server allows you to administer everything on the system, tells you what is loaded in each paper tray, and even print via HTTP upload. All in all, it's pretty cool stuff. :)
  • by Phaid ( 938 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @09:39AM (#1966066) Homepage
    Let's start with the title: ``Printers to get their own Web addresses'' Umm, does that mean there will be a URL scheme to go with IPP?

    That's exactly what it means. IPP Printers are referred to either as http:// for IPP v1.0, or ipp:// for IPP v1.1. In case you're interested, the TCP port pointed at by the ipp: scheme is 631.

    How about ``A system administrator could manage his printers from a hotel room.'' Haven't these guys heard of lpq(8)/telnet(1)? Geesh.

    Do you really want to expose those services over the public internet? Maybe if your printer supports ssh this will work, but with IPP you get management capabilities through a nice GUI (or text or however it's implemented) interface over a secure, authenticated connection.

    Don't let this bit of CNN reporting dissuade you from IPP, however, because it looks like it will fix some of my pet peeves with Berkeley lpd(8)--namely, no decent authentication, no queue management in the protocol beyond deleting jobs, and no thought given to the actual format of the transported data (you've got to either use Postscript queues or raw text queues or use specific printer drivers on all clients).

    IPP will support several authentication schemes, depending upon the client and server platforms.

    IPP lets you specify the document-format attribute in the print job; it can be PostScript, pcl, text, printer driver output (e.g "octet-stream" type), or whatever other MIME types the printer supports. The printer will intelligently reject unsupported document formats sent to it, and you can query the printer ahead of time as to what it supports.

    It should be noted that most expensive printers with network connections already support LPR and many support a strange feature where you can `print' HTML files (it's called ``Web printing'').

    That's still supported in IPP (via the print-URI operation). Unfortunately not every OS supports lpr, and as you've pointed out there are big flaws in lpr that make it difficult to use over public networks.
  • Hmm, I've been remotely printing via TCP/IP for a long time now... Gotta see what this is all about, but it doesn't sound like anything new...
  • by pod ( 1103 )
    You're talking windoze users here... who would bother to telnet into a box, learn arcane command line magic, ftp files back and forth, just to remotely print? This ipp might be just like sending an email, except to a printer not a mailserver.
  • It could be a good thing if it was like lpd, except that it had a universal page description language (Ok, like lpd+gs fiter, but in the printer). Something like PostScript, that would be converted to the local printer language. This language, of course, couldn't have the capability, as in PS, of being vulnerable do malicious code.
    Because otherwise you will have to install many different drivers in your winblows box: PS, PCL, epson, canon, etc..

    And better control access.

    But people already print too much. We need better displays, not printers..
  • I haven't looked at it myself, but there IS an IPP SDK available at
  • Actually, after looking more at ShinePrints page, Linux IPP SDK and server already exist.. A commercial product, but still worth a mention..
  • The problems with lpr - (1) no feedback -- you send the job, it might work, it might not. (2) you send raw printer data, so something on your side of the network needs to know how to drive the printer (3) lpr is all about printing, nothing about print administration.

    Now, I couldn't care less about printing across the internet (as opposed to the IP LAN) (mail it, and the person who'll use the hardcopy can print it if they so wish), but I know sysadmins who'd love to be able to do (more) maintenance remotely.
  • It's nearly useless, and anyplace it would have a use, it probably wouldn't be worth setting up. I'm sure it'll spark a revolution in how 'Internet Faxes' are sent. I can't believe anyone would waste engineer manpower on it.

    Of course, I'm looking forward to the day I step into a corporate office building and hundreds of pages of "u H4v3 b33n 0wn3d" are printing on like 3 different floors. ...You've always gotta look at the comic up-side to things.

  • by Stan Chesnutt ( 2253 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @09:01AM (#1966074) Homepage
    I once worked at Adobe in the PostScript group. We were experimenting with printers that had an HTTPd server embedded in them. The printer had its own webpage displaying toner reserves, job-queue status, any recent error conditions, etc.

    Also, there were pointers to the manufacturer's webpage so that you could reorder supplies, get questions answered, and so on. To me, this seemed to be the perfect integration of "dumb" devices and the power of the WWW. I'm glad to see that, at least for printers, there is an evolving standard for this stuff.

    Think a bit and extend the idea: disk drives with a webpage (giving usage stats, error rates) ... a webpage for your car (mechanical & fluid status) a webpage for your cellphone (how many calling-minutes so far this month)... a webpage for the coke machine down the hall (been there, done that :)

  • Why do people double-space things published online?!
  • This would cause me not to buy a companies printer unless I could disable it or control the access. Almost all of the features it describes now are already present: printer status; job status; etc. It adds some things that may be useful in a corporate environment: is the printer colour or black and white; how much paper is left; etc. All this is fine, I don't see a need for a whole new protocol for this but thats there perogative.

    What I don't like is the idea being able to print to devices on the internet. I already get way to much spam emailed to me, I don't need it printed to my printer automatically. If I can securely control this feature it may be ok, but that wasn't specified in the article. I realize the article had zero technical content but quite frankly I wouldn't be at all suprised if this ends up being another 'feature' that can be invisibly turned on.

    I suppose I'm in some luck, I use two operating systems for personal use, and neither of them is made by MicroSoft.
  • Wallace used to be such, but a while ago he gave up spamming and turned his dubious talents to helping the anti-spam cause. Unless there's more recent news I'm not aware of.
  • The client side portion of this is hardly in the hands of microsoft, seeing as how they already support printing to network printers. I've implemented a number of different printer setups using SAMBA that people can print to to fax, do file conversions, get status information etc. And this requires no additional client side support other than what is in windows.
  • by bjb ( 3050 )
    Glad I can now print to my printer via TCP/IP. Yup. Haven't been doing that for the last decade.

    Actually, a nice standard would be good, but what is bothering me is that Microsoft is going to use this as another reason for people to go to Windows 2000. Uhm.. simple driver, no?

    Wonder if it will work with my old daisy wheel :-)

  • This is one of the most stupid things I've heard all year. While printing via TCP/IP is certainly possible now, think of all the attacks on printers that will happen. It reminds me of a pascal program i wrote way back in high school.
    uses printer;
    var i:longint; billisgay:boolean;
    until billisgay; {don't ask}
    Hacking printers. Neato.
  • JetDirect cards already use TCP/IP. They look just like a normal BSD-style lpd print queue.
  • From draft-ietf-ipp-protocol-07.txt:-

    The IPP Model document defines an IPP implementation with "privacy" as
    one that implements Secure Socket Layer Version 3 (SSL3). Note: SSL3
    is not an IETF standards track specification. SSL3 meets the
    requirements for IPP security with regards to features such as mutual
    authentication and privacy (via encryption). The IPP Model document also
    outlines IPP-specific security considerations and should be the primary
    reference for security implications with regards to the IPP protocol

    The IPP Model document defines an IPP implementation with
    "authentication" as one that implements the standard way for
    transporting IPP messages within HTTP 1.1. These include the security
    considerations outlined in the HTTP 1.1 standard document [rfc2068] and
    Digest Access Authentication extension [rfc2069].

    The current HTTP infrastructure supports HTTP over TCP port 80. IPP
    server implementations MUST offer IPP services using HTTP over the IANA
    assigned Well Known Port 631 (the IPP default port). IPP server
    implementations may support other ports, in addition to this port.

    See further discussion of IPP security concepts in the model document


    If IPP is going to rely on SSL for security, that lets it in for all the difficulties of getting and using SSL that already exist.

    Additionally, the whole specification looks pretty complex. Something of the second-system effect in there, I think. Expect to see IPP exploits on BugTraq.
  • Only on local segments where broadcast is allowed
    - try this across a router...
  • They do scan for them...

    I log at least one scan per week directed specifically to network printer ports (HP or otherwise) []
  • I run the print system at Cisco we have something like 3000 printers on the network and something like 100 linux print servers.

    Anyway, network printing is a good thing. It allows you to work with literally hundreds of printers reliably. The thing is how do you talk to a printer. In most cases you have two choices. LPR and port 9100. LPR is not well suited to talking to printers because it doesn't allow you to pass any information back from the printer. For example you don't know if your print job just failed becasuse of a PS error. You also can't ask the printer about its capabilities. Port 9100 and PS together solve these problems. Port 9100 is just a standard port for a bidirectional TCP/IP connection to the printer. That way when you get PS errors you can read the error messages back from the socket. PS allows you to interrogate the printer for information.

    The thing is this sort of means that you have to have a fairly intelligent print server. The printer vendors want to build all that intellegence into the printer and the protocol that communicates with the printer. So that is why they invented IPP.
  • by Elwood ( 4347 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @10:46AM (#1966086) Homepage
    I like the general concept of this idea, I cannot comment on the way it is being done, but the idea is a great one. See, I am a firm beliver in OpenStandards. I like to use many different OSes, and many different apps. When one does not play well with others, it ruins my day. That is why I love html, plain text, mpeg, wav, jpeg, etc. I can use any of those formats, and use them on any OS I happed to be in front of that day.

    Now, we could argue if this standard is being done right, but that will not accomplish anything. Lets insted be happy with the fact that people are working towards another cross-platform technology. And if you do not like the way this one works, draft up your own ideas, I am sure people would be more then happy to look at them.

    Sometimes I get the idea that people would rather sit back and complian about the work of others, and not do anything to make it better. That is what is great about the internet, you don't have to be someone important to have a good idea that people latch onto.
  • This doesn't seem to be that interesting snce alot of us have been doing this for some time. The one place I do see this blooming, and it was mentioned in the article, is faxing, color or otherwise!

    This is going to be a great way for businesses who send alot of faxes to save on LD charges for faxing, as long as the reciever/sender has one of these IPP printers...

    Lets see how long it takes for these things to take off!
  • by zempf ( 4454 ) <> on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @08:41AM (#1966088) Homepage
    I don't know about this being all that great of an idea. I imagine that the same type of people who go around using Back Orifice for kicks would also find it amusing to hunt down people with open printers who don't realize they're open and either waste their paper by printing a hundred sheets with one word in the middle or waste their ink by printing a few completely black pages. Since it seems that most people I know who have computers don't know about 80% of what they can really do, it seems that a lot of people wouldn't realize their printers were open to pretty much everybody.

    -mike kania
  • Send your document by email ... If I need one, I'll made a hard copy.

    Plus, if I post my printer URL (printer:// ???), I would need some serious filtering/firewalling not to have all the world spammer jam my printer. At the cost of ink cartridge, better think twice before publishing your printer "Web adress" (--> this one really made me fall down my chair ...)
  • As far as I can tell, one of the big reasons IPP uses HTTP as the transport protocol was so that it didn't have to worry about access control. You can just use the existing access control mechanisms in HTTP to control who accesses the printer, so you could easily set up username based, certificate based, IP based, etc.
  • You must be using a different LPR than I am. I can't find any information on model files, a -O option, etc.

    As such, I don't know how safe it would be to use on a remote printer, which probably doesn't support such things. That's another reason IPP is good... it's standardized, and LPR isn't.
  • IPP has a lot more potential than simple lpd. For example, you would be able to query paper trays and direct your output there, rather than relying on the sysadmin to set up specific queues for each possible option the user might want.

    Also, having a single standard means that you won't need to install netatalk, samba _and_ lpr to be able to talk to any printer you want. Ideally, everyone would support IPP so you'd only need one thing.

    There's surely more and I've not read the standard, but iirc the author of LPRng was involved in standardization, so it should fix annoyances people have with lpr.
  • No, you can't just use "the appropriate model file". There are lots of useful printer capabilities that lpr just has no idea of. And most servers (well, none I know of) don't do anything with the PPD file (what I assume you're talking about).

    Tell me, how do I tell the LPD server I'm sending it PDF which it should print in reverse order, 4 pages per sheet, both sides, first page from the letterhead tray and remainder from tray 3?
  • I just told the author of the original lpd (written around 1979-80) about this new, exciting development in the technology of printers.

    His comment "Hasn't this already been done?"

    My reply "That is what everyone on Slashdot is saying."

    Then he mentioned that he is amazed that a certain part of the lpr/lpd/etc code has not been updated... apprantly a certain part would be more clean if it used select(). Then again, he was a "dinky undergrad" when he wrote that entire package.

    - Sam Trenholme

  • This has already been thought of by Sun, with the Jini protocol, based on good old Java, which is designed for things such as printers and digital cameras to be hooked up to the network, identify themselves and their services to the other Jini enabled machines, and automatically be available for use.

    Realistically, IPP seems about 2years out of date :/
  • After reading some of the comments and the article, I think we should have a poll as to our favorite buzzword.
  • iv been working on a ipp client and server..
    yet havnt announced it due to its unfinished nature
  • The point is not that all of these things can't already be done, but that there are so many different ways to accomplish it. ("The wonderful thing about standards is...") Of course, the article doesn't give any real information about the IPP standard, but I'm assuming that the intent is to make this functionality available on many different OS platforms, interfaced with many different applications, tied into many different kinds of printers, and do them all in the same way.

    (Is anyone else amused by the statement that, "the bottleneck at this point is Microsoft"? ;-)

  • The protocol in question is crud. The IETF
    wouldn't even agree to standardize it.
  • Why cant they make a wake on lan printer? That would help in energy savings. heres what I have been planning on doing for some time:

    I am going to make a print filter for my printer that signals an X10 module attached to my printer so that the printer turns on when a print job is sent. Then, after a few minutes, the printer turns off also.
  • ...or PDP-10... and remember, we're talking about a 36-bit machine with register-to-RAM mapping (like some embedded processors have only just rediscovered) that boots from _tape_!

    Emperor's New Printer? Anyone remember the OS/2 cartoon that circulated about 6 years ago?

  • It takes up too much space, and it's damn near impossible to keep clean!

    With this new protocol, plus the usual wonderfully secure and bugless implementation of it from dear old Micro$loth, them there trees is _all_ deaders!

    I think we should immediately move to support low-power flat hi-res displays, even monochrome ones, with a view to helping Moore's law in making them cheaper, more portable and more readily available. Then we can carry our "printer" around with us and who cares if someone "prints" 100 pages to it?

  • That makes the task of sending threatening letters, religious panphlets, and nazi hate propaganda to my neighbors that much easier. With the task automated like this I'll have much more time to devote towards gathering memebers for my death cult. Laugh...

    Seriously though... I thought there was already an accepted standard for printing via tcp/ip. Just about every device and operating system has direct support for LPR printing. Even the Neoware network computers can emulate an LPR printer for the LPT port they have on the back of them. Isn't that the whole point of RFC1179? []
  • Yep, a standard, just like HP PCL5
  • HP laserjet network printer IP printing are using scale down lpr. the lpr howto have clearly state this.
  • LPR can be easily hack to support message passing back from the printer. It is sort like putting extra acknowledgement code into the LPR code.

    I don't see any reason reinvent the wheel. I'm impress only if they invent a Quatum printing technology,
  • by Splat ( 9175 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @02:04PM (#1966109)
    Am I the only one that leaves my printer off unless I'm printing something? This is useful ..
  • my GCC printer at home has this - you can change the printer options, turn on/off ports and their options. it's a nice interface, but nothing you have to use on a regular basis. might be more useful in situations where you have to admin a whole building of printers - bookmark the printers and check status.

    (rant) of course, a lot of workgroup printer issues would be helped greatly by using an OS that relays the printer feedback to the user. Hmm... let's see... Macs do that! I'd love to show otherwise, but i've never seen a windows or linux box that gives you the message, "paper tray is empty" or "output bin full". (/rant)

    seriously, i'd LOVE to see this functionality in linux - it's one of those fabulous touches i'd sorely miss if i dumped macos

  • What about Novell Distributed Print Services?

    Plug a NDPS aware printer into you network, or into a NDPS aware JetDirect-ish box, create an object in nwadmin and print. Thats it.

    Tell it what divers to use, and itll push 'em down to the lusers.

    So far NDS is the only shipping directory service, and prety close to everyone can use it, from IBM mainframe people to 9x/NT and slowaris.

    ADS may never ship, and lots of companies holding out for MS have bailed and moving to Novell. And since you can now replace all of NT's administration & authentcation with NDS, why would you ever use ADS? NDS works, and it works today. Im sure within a month of win2k shipping there will be NDS for it.

    NDS might well mean the end of MS, or at least another nail in there coffin :)

  • by slambo ( 10757 )
    Since the receiver would have few ways to limit the items that *do* print, and since this setup would be *exceptionally* similar to a conventional fax machine (the difference being the transport mode), I would imagine that spam here would fall under the Junk Fax law. I don't have the link to the US Code for it handy right now, but ISTR its definition of "fax machine" would fit an IPP printer nicely.
  • Xerox has some demo tools for this at: lpr is fine for just sending files to be printed, but it's got problems. It really doesn't allow for printer configuration very well, for example. This seems like a long needed rewrite of the lpr protocol.
  • HP 9100 Digital Sender. It plugs into the Ethernet and will send as an email message anything you choose to scan in.

  • Anyone can propose a standard. It doesn't do you much good, however, if 90% of the computers don't use it, or worse, use a competing implementation.

    I assume most of the politics surrounding the standards bodies involve getting MS buy-in.
  • Telnetting into a printer to try to find out how many paper trays it has and what size paper is each tray seems kinda dubious, if it's even possible.

    A better, universal printer protocol would be nice. (Better than lpr that is.)
  • by Azul ( 12241 )
    I haven't read their spec, but I'm sure this will come with some authentication mechanism.

    For example, I can shutdown my servers whenever I want, wherever I am. Now, can you?

    With the printers it will be (is) the same. I (and my friends) can print on my printer whenever we want, wherever we are.

  • Also, having a single standard means that you won't need to install netatalk, samba _and_ lpr to be able to talk to any printer you want. Ideally, everyone would support IPP so you'donly need one thing.

    It's sort of flawed reasoning to say that by making one more "standard," everyone will follow it automatically. All it will do is force people to be able to handle one more protocol, because plenty will stay with the old methods, but to be compatible, servers etc. will have to have IPP as well.
  • Okay, so it does apear that lots and lots of 'bad boy/girl' crackers / whatever you want to call them can waste your paper, ink, time, trees, etc etc from the terribly un-technical article tells us. However, with the exception of Novell migrating printer definitions into NDS, how the hell are ROOT DNS servers going to survive the pummeling of trying to answer requests for addresses like Alot of the trouble on the net is lack of power in the backbone DNS servers -- even though they are the fastest things you can get. Perhapps there should be a network-centric resolve.conf where there would be root domain servers for specific regional ISP's to share. As an admin, IPP sounds like it needs alot of work - unless its just a poor article from CNN.
  • And less than a week after that comes the lpr-emulation-redirecting-to-ipp conversion daemon.
  • How is HTTP going to work as a printer language? When I send a document to a printer I want to know 100% exactly what it's going to look like. We can't get documents to look the same on two different computers using the same browser half of the time; IE vs. Netscape is even worse. Do we really need to start hacking our www pages so our printers can understand them aswell as ie and netscape?
  • Yet another reason to ditch Postscript. Postscript has numerous advantages, but it's really overkill for printing--a much simpler and leaner hardcopy carriage format would be nice.

    I never thought of viruses in Postscript before because I never thought of printing Postscript files straight to a printer from unknown sources. The only Postscript I ever process is the output from troff or groff which I then run through Ghostscript in bitmap-file generation mode which I then run through my extremely ugly program to generate a compressed image for my ancient 4019 printer (or, when I'm feeling playful, my MX-80 with or without GRAFTRAX-80 or when I'm feeling devious, a 3820.)

  • In terms of device independence, this is a VERY old idea. It's just that you can't get anything right when you do it in a PC. Good grief: look at how long it took us to get to the VESA 1.0 standard. (There was IBM's AI, but don't even mention that to me.)

    Printing has always been a weak spot in Unix, and it's especially glaring in Linux. This is probably due to the historic use of Postscript-only printer devices in Unix's history. Few of us have Postscript printers, and Ghostscript's device support is abjectly horrible. (I'm working on a usable 4019/4029 driver, though. =)

    It's just interesting to see the various defiencies in the internet protocols improve. I've never liked ad-hoc Berkeley protocols anyway (like rcmd, although it is handy for some things). OK, so I *do* like SLIP.

  • I haven't seen a piece of journalism this bad in a long time. Let's start with the title: ``Printers to get their own Web addresses'' Umm, does that mean there will be a URL scheme to go with IPP?

    How about ``A system administrator could manage his printers from a hotel room.'' Haven't these guys heard of lpq(8)/telnet(1)? Geesh.

    Don't let this bit of CNN reporting dissuade you from IPP, however, because it looks like it will fix some of my pet peeves with Berkeley lpd(8)--namely, no decent authentication, no queue management in the protocol beyond deleting jobs, and no thought given to the actual format of the transported data (you've got to either use Postscript queues or raw text queues or use specific printer drivers on all clients).

    It should be noted that most expensive printers with network connections already support LPR and many support a strange feature where you can `print' HTML files (it's called ``Web printing'').

  • My beleaguered little 98 box at home prints to the work printers (4SI MX) over straight TCP/IP all the time.

    No NT involved.
  • I can't even begin to recount the problems I've had with HP Jet-Direct. It's badly broken. However, my best story runs something like this:

    We provide dial-up access to an organization just next-door to ours, with a bunch of HP equipment. They have their own network (in fact, their own ISP), but they were unwilling to support their own employees, so... it's a long story. Anyway, about a year ago, we got a furious phone call from the organization's network admin saying that someone on our dialup was trying to crack their network. When we asked for some kind of log of the activity, he produced a firewall log tracking a bunch of SNMP access attempts to an IP address on their network.

    So, I tracked the IP. Turns out it was an HP printer. The Jet-Direct software was too stupid to know it was connected via dial-up, and was tripping the firewall trying to get in. I took particular relish in informing them that the cracker was a fifty year old employee of theirs who was just trying to get her e-mail.

  • I'm just a Linux newbie, but if you can do all this with existing Linux tools, I'd like more details. What is the command to query a printer and find out its capabilities under Linux, without having to configure it by hand?
  • HTTP, not HTML. True, they're very similar, but they are not one and the same. You're thinking of HTML.
  • by Jurph ( 16396 )
    I already print to a networked printer (as I'm sure a lot of you do), and the owner, my roommate, never knows if/when I'll need it, so he leaves it on for my convenience. Since we're in a T1'ed building, he's password-protected it. Obviously, passwords aren't secure enough for the real world, but doesn't it make sense that an IP filter or permission-from-admin system would help? This requires paying a sysadmin, I know... but the every computer connected to the outside world 24/7 will eventually need a paid sysadmin to monitor that connection, and he can't just be the geeky guy in cubicle 17 who happens to know how to fix them.

    IMHO and such...

  • You say: "Many people would argue that because junk mail (the normal kind) is accepted by most, so should junk fax and email be."

    But you're forgetting one of the main differences between junk snail mail(UCM), junk email(UCE) and faxes(UCF). The cost for sending UCM resides solely on the sender, while the cost of sending UCE resides on the recipient. In the case of a UCF, the cost on the recipient is much more direct ("Hey, that's my ink and paper they're using!"). You can't compare UCM and UCE/UCF. They're two different bags of shit.

    You don't need one firewall per printer inside your network, the purpose of a firewall is to block/allow ALL types of traffic to a network, with exceptions. And exceptions to those exceptions, and so on. :-) Again, with host-based control (using IPv6 hopefully) it'll have some degree of authentication, and with secure certificates it'll add that extra degree of security.

    I personally find that there is a need for an intermediary between the sender and the printer anyway. If I have a printer on the net, I'll make sure that I review all print requests before they're printed. This will be fine for a small scale (personal), but for corporations and such I can see a scheme where there are trusted invididuals who are allowed to print directly, and everybody else either is disallowed or goes through a screener.

  • by Taral ( 16888 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @09:00AM (#1966132) Homepage
    IPP is host to a slew of problems, the worst of which is the lack of access control. Fax machines already suffer badly from junk faxes, and legislation had to be put into effect to try and deter that behavior. (Please correct me if I'm wrong... The rapidly changing legislation on privacy vs. free speech gets the better of me sometimes.)

    From the cursory glance I gave HP's site of IPP a couple weeks ago, it didn't look like there was much of a standard for access control on the system. I mean, receiving a 100 page email is one thing -- you can delete it, and it doesn't use much in the way of material resources. However if someone uses IPP to send you a 100 page piece of junk, even if it's accidental (typed in the wrong ip?), it can cost quite a bit... Especially if it's a nice color transparency printer!

    I'm all for standardizing printing protocols, but I really think IPP needs a little more work before it becomes mainstream. For now, I'm quite happy spooling stuff to port 515 on my printers :)

  • The QMS MagiColor 2 we have at work does this. Just point any browser to the printers IP, and a stats page comes up with toner levels, etc..

  • My guess is that this owuld permit a printer to attach diretly to the network, rather than attaching to a computer that attaches to the network. Think HP JetDirect and the DLC protocol - only this would use TCP/IP. Any better guesses, or anybody with specific info?
  • OK,

    printing over tcp-ip local networks is one thing, but, printing over the internet, that's weak.

    Anyways, if somebody wants to use my printer, they have to come at my house anyway to pick up the paper. And if they want to send me a a message by printing it, they can just telnet into my box and use lpr.... In all other cases, I DON'T WANT THEM TO USE MY PRINTER!!!!

    I think the whole concept of this new protocol is (a) stupid, (b) useless, (c) a way for some guy to have his name on some crappy new internet protocol...

  • OK,

    if somebody wants to use your printer to send you a fax, why wouldn't they just telnet into your box and just use lpr.... E-mailing gifs is another easy solutions for people with the inferior OS (and this would have a better resolution and cost much less anyway).

  • We have LPR, SMBPrint, Postscript, that's enough for me.

    Want faxing?

    These news guys should get a job as janitors!!!

  • If I remember right, the protocol doesn't protect
    against a Postscript virus.

  • by SpaFF ( 18764 )
    Well I think they would probably have some sort of way to keep just anyone from printing to your printer, either a user/pw setup or maybe signed keys or something

  • Microsoft holds the final key for implementation of direct printing over the Web.

    "The real bottleneck is Microsoft," Held said. "You need software on your computer that will allow you to select and talk to a destination device."

    Yes, but why does that have to be Microsoft software? (Held's ignorance here is appalling, given that he is a "senior analyst at Lyra Research", unless there's some patent issue not mentioned?)

    The Redmond, Wash. giant is promising that client-side software will be available with Windows 2000, Held said.

    Whenever that is.

    If this is something worth doing (and I can see some business uses, although as others here have said, this is the sort of thing some of us have been doing for years with lpd), we could have a linux client (and server, for printers directly connected to the linux box) in a couple of days.
    (Probably a Windows client too, for that matter. Almost worth doing to provide Yet Another reason not to buy Win2K.)
  • Here's the URL of the doc that maps the IPP to LPD protocol: ipp/new_PRO/ipp-lpd-981116.txt []

    There are some differences. LPD has a few features IPP doesn't (some of them outdated), and IPP supports things LPD doesn't.
  • "Eventually, if you had a printer that is IPP
    compliant, that printer will have a Web address and anyone around the world who can get on the Internet can print to that URL," said Robert Palmer,

    And he says this like it's a good thing.

    Yet another protocol to filter at the firewall.
  • Reading the CNN piece made me very hostile to this idea. Reading some of the documents on [] made me less so. These guys are doing some genuinely clueful stuff in this protocol, and it's worth reading.

    I do find some of their choices puzzling. For example, the FAQ [] dismisses the BSD LPR protocol as ``proprietary'' and therefore unusable. (Hello? By what bizarro definition of ``proprietary'' does 4.4BSD qualify?) They reject RFC 1179 because it's not an Internet standard, and then adopt SSL3 for security, even though it does not seem to be any more official in the IETF sense. A lot of the work seems to be more ad-hoc than they're willing to let on.

    Other posters have noted that complex protocols are difficult to do right, and especially difficult to do securely. That's going to be a major problem right there. But overall, an IETF-blessed effort toward an open standard for network printing that includes participation from hardware vendors is probably going to be a good thing in the long run.

  • There's a slightly deeper philosophical issue here. Many people would argue that because junk mail (the normal kind) is accepted by most, so should junk fax and email be. Now, for regular mail you can put a poster on your door saying you don't want any junk and that works most of the time. For email, it's rumored you can do the same on some website though I personally doubt it. With IPP you don't have this possibility and until you do, I don't think I would recommend anyone to use it (unless they also make sure their firewall blocks any such attempts to print from the outside which I suppose could work, but having one firewall per printer is rediculous. Hmm, wait a minute. Does this mean theres an emerging market for firewalls the size of a deck of cards?)
  • At my job here on campus, we install HP 4000TN printers that we can hook into any protocol here on campus but predominatly Appletalk and IP. HP offers a very nice software package with these printers where we can scan for the actual hardware address and perform administartion from numerous locations. Many of these printers have their own IP and are printed to by using a client called NiPrint which allows printing to printers with an IP. Finally, the firewall extends so that no outside subnet traffic can reach these printers. Simple. It does make it a little nicer since the school has a Class B IP so we have more available IPs then we need...for right now.

  • What is all the hype about? Samba can do this already. Perl scripts can do it if you want as well.

    I think anyone who would be asked to implement this has probably already done this, or knows how to do it.
  • by scottsevertson ( 25582 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @08:52AM (#1966155) Homepage
    The 1.0 IPP specifications are available in PDF [] or in TXT [] formats. I'll post more once I've read them myself...

    Scott Severtson
    Software Developer
    Auragen Communications
  • by scottsevertson ( 25582 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @08:54AM (#1966156) Homepage
    The links above are just for the IPP URL naming convention. Check out [] for a full list of documents that are available.

    Scott Severtson
    Software Developer
    Auragen Communications
  • by scottsevertson ( 25582 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @09:39AM (#1966157) Homepage
    OK, a brief run down after speed reading the IPP specification:
    • IPP is secureThe protocol specifies that Transport Layer Security (TLS) Version 1.0 will be used to provided mutual authentication and encryption. Elsewhere in the documents, (optional) compression can be applied as well.
    • IPP is complexWith support for multiple document protocols, multiple documents per "job", and a fairly detailed client querying process, it also won't be cheap.
    • Document protocols are specified as MIME types, and they define a couple recommended ones: PCL, Postscript, HTML, and plain text.
    • Documents can be sent as a URI (i.e. an HTTP URL), which, if the IPP server supports it, can be used to go out and retrieve the document when the printer is available to print it, instead of holding it in spool.
    • Multiple configurations are specified, with just waiting to be created. For example, IPP allows a printer with an embedded spooler and internet interface, a printer hooked to a spooling server with an internet interface, and multiple printers hooked to a spooling, smart server with an internet interface, which routes the document to the printer best suited/least busy for the job.
    • Supports extended properties for client querying. The single biggest advantage of the system is that the client does not have to have any idea of what type of print it is printing to, i.e. no more specific printer drivers. Instead, the client connects to the printer/spooler, asks it what it can do, and sends the document in a compatable format. This should (hopefully) save a lot of hassle in the work place for configuring printers on thousands of desktops.
    Just my two cents.

    Scott Severtson
    Software Developer
    Auragen Communications
  • I don't get it. I just parse my logfiles looking for NETBIOS broadcasts on the cablemodem segment, run smbclient to scan for open shares then print interesting printers to people on my segment with open printers. I guess this is finally a solid standard that all systems will support. Yay.


No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.