Sunday, August 2, 2009

Failed Diagnosis of Lost Print Jobs

A friend of mine came to me recently and told me that, for some reason, his printer wasn't working any more. I set this friend up with an openSUSE home server for printing, DNS, DHCP, and internet access (via qtsmppd) and by and large it works great. The printing is managed by CUPS, and the printer is an HP OfficeJet Pro L7680. It's a nice printer with Vivera inks. It is fast and generally works great. I have it set up to print over port 9100.

I asked him to bring the machine to me and he did so. When I examined the logs, there was nothing amiss - according to the CUPS logs, jobs were queued, accepted by the printer, and when complete removed -- exactly as expected. I set an identical printer up in exactly the same way, but left it off. I queued a print job and, as expected, CUPS indicated that it could not contact the printer and simply kept retrying the job. When I turned the printer on, it began accepting jobs and the job printed out just fine. No matter what I did, I could not get CUPS to lose the jobs. How do I reconcile this with the earlier behavior of "I printed a bunch of stuff but nothing ever came out of the printer". I may need to see how things work in the exact environment the server is in to find out.

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