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Windows to Linux Printing

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Do That Samba

Samba, an open-source software suite, uses the SMB (Server Message Block) network protocol so that a non-Windows machine, such as a PC with Linux, can communicate with a Windows box using Microsoft's preferred networking protocol. To the Windows client, it's just networked to another Windows box, not to Linux or another operating system. Samba provides many of the services of a Windows server, including file sharing, authentication, authorization, and name and print serving. Samba version 3 and higher also integrate well with Windows domain-control methods, including NT ACLs (access-control lists), Active Directory and LDAP.

CUPS uses IPP (Internet Printing Protocol) rather than SMB for network communication. An extension to HTTP, IPP is supported by all major Linux distributions and Windows 2000 and above. The protocol enjoys broad vendor support and is becoming the standard network-printing technology for major OSs. Although Windows 9x doesn't natively support IPP, you can download the necessary software from Microsoft.

But CUPS is more than a simple print spooler: The software suite's API handles print commands from third-party software and provides print-queue management, print filters, a scheduler and a Web admin interface. Unlike Samba, which relies on a separate printing subsystem to do the printing, CUPS handles all aspects of local or network printing, from receiving the print job to printing, administration and statistics-gathering.

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