One of the most controversial changes Apple made in Lion Server was to remove the Print Services module and replace it with CUPS (Common Unix Printer System). Previously, administrators could add a new printer using Server Admin, now users are recommended to use System Preferences > Print & Scan to add printers or control print jobs, or the browser-based CUPS interface.
In some ways, this is consistent with what seems to be a change in Apple’s approach to server products: Lion Server is now an add-on for OS X Lion rather than, as before, a separate product and – perhaps more tellingly – the Mac mini Server (now Apple’s only dedicated server hardware) has the strapline ‘the server for everyone’. Here we’ll show you how to administer your printers in Lion Server.
Step 1: Starting simple
If your printing needs are relatively simple, the familiar Print & Scan preference pane might be all you need. Go to System Preferences, then click on Print & Scan. To add a new printer, click on the + icon, making sure the printer you intend to add is connected to the network and turned on.
Step 2: Adding drivers
Lion Server has found a Samsung colour laser connected by USB. As the driver isn’t present, when we click Add, Lion Server offers to search for, and install, the correct one. Printer drivers are now handled by Software Update, so any driver issues should now be checked first looking there for updates.
Step 3: Finishing the job
Once the driver has been installed, check that Lion Server has detected all the options available for your printer, click OK and the Print & Scan pane should resemble this one. Note that Share this printer on the network is checked by default. Further sharing options can be accessed via the Sharing Preference pane.
Step 4: Alternative drivers
So, it’s a simple matter to add a printer using the Print & Scan preference pane. For any printers (usually older models) for which Lion Server can’t find a driver, Gutenprint (formerly Gimp-Print: www.gutenprint.sourceforge.net), a collection of open source printer drivers, will often provide a suitable alternative.
Step 5: Matter of protocol
When you add a printer via the Print & Scan pane, it’s shared using all available protocols. If, on occasion, you wish to specify a protocol for a printer, or achieve greater control than the Print & Scan pane affords you’ll need the CUPS browser interface: http://127.0.0.1:631 or http://localhost:631.
Step 6: Adding drivers
As we’re going to be using the CUPS interface to add this printer, we need to install the driver, if the printer’s being connected to our network for the first time. So, go to Software Update… and choose to install the driver once it’s been found. Incidentally, any driver updates are handled in the same way.
Step 7: Using CUPS
Open a browser window and type http://127.0.0.1:631 or http://localhost:631 into the address bar. 127.0.0.1 is the IPv4 address of the loopback interface and is equivalent to typing the name localhost into the address bar. 631 is the standard TCP port number for CUPS (and also the Internet Printing Protocol in general).
Step 8: Administration options
Click on the Administration tab. Notice the Server settings – including remote administration – available using the checkboxes, upper right. Now, choose Add Printer. You’ll be prompted for your administrator user name and password if this is the first time you’ve logged in to CUPS.
Step 9: Adding the printer
When CUPS has finished scanning the network the Add Printer window appears. As the printer we’re adding is attached via USB it’s under Local Printers. To search for a printer using a specific protocol use the radio buttons in the list of Other Network Printers. We’ll choose the Samsung and click Continue.
Step 10: Name and description
In the next window the printer’s details can be set up. The Name and Description fields are already completed, so check they’re unambiguous and unique, then enter the printer’s location. Notice also the checkbox marked Share This Printer. Once you’re happy with these details, click Continue.
Step 11: Drivers and PPDs
We’ve already downloaded the correct driver, so we just need to choose it from the list that’s already been populated. If you have a PostScript-enabled printer with an available PPD (PostScript Printer Description), you specify its location by clicking Choose File. Click Add Printer to continue.
Step 12: Default options
We need to set up the printer’s default options: such as changing the page size from US Letter to A4. The other options (Smart Color, Color Adjust, and so on) correspond to the options that can be chosen for that printer in OS X’s Print dialog. Once you’re happy with your chosen settings, click Set Default Options.
Step 13: Test your settings
Once the default options are set, choose Print Test Page from the Maintenance pop-up – the CUPS test page should emerge from your printer a few seconds later. It’s worth familiarising yourself with the options in the Maintenance and Administration pop-ups – they’re tasks you’ll need to perform regularly.
Step 14: Network printers
To ensure network printers have an IP address in your local network’s range you might need to change your default settings. You could use DHCP, but it’s better to fix the printer’s IP address manually and, if using a DHCP-enabled router, reserve an appropriate range of IP addresses for devices with a fixed address.
Step 15: Making adjustments
The Administration tab of the CUPS interface is where you’ll make most of the adjustments to your printers’ setting. In the Administration tab, click on Manage Printers. Next, click on the name of the print queue (usually the printer’s name), and you’ll see the Maintenance and Administration pop-up menus.