Network PDF Printer
I am looking for a way to provide students and staff the ability to "print" PDF documents.
I thought possibly having something installed on the print server (Server 2003 R2) and sharing this out via our printer script.
Does anyone do anything like this???
Everytime I've tried the free PDF printers it's been a nightmare. I once had one set up that worked with no problems but then we upgraded our servers and I never got it working again.
Most others have rendering issues, especially around pictures in Publisher etc. Thankfully with the death if dIDA the need has diminished greatly.
Even Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 wouldn't render certain documents correctly.
To be honest the best way I've ever found with no problems at all is...using Microsoft Office 2007.
Yes, I do this. The print server is a Linux box using Samba + Cups. I installed the cups-pdf package which sets up the printer queue for me in Cups. I then had to customise /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf and change the following settings:
Then samba needs to be told about the new printer and windows drivers need to be loaded.
#label file names with unique jobid to avoid overwriting jobs with the same filename
#Disable anonymous use
At which point you can add it to your printer scripts and you are able to print to the pdf printer. However there's no way to access the PDF files it produces yet, so we need to make a new share in samba for that. I did mine like this:
cupsaddsmb -v -H hermes -U 'hermes\root' PDF
Users can now access this share however they like. I'd suggest either a drive mapping or a shortcut on their desktop. Personally, I map the P: drive in the login scripts.
comment = PDF files
path = /var/spool/cups-pdf/out
browsable = yes
read only = yes
hide unreadable = yes
guest ok = no
Also note, because of the umask we set in cups-pdf.conf and the 'hide unreadable' setting being enabled here, users will only see their own pdf prints. eg.
The final thing you need to do, is clean things up on a regular basis to stop your print servers disk becoming full of useless pdf files. I do this nightly in a cronjob
root@hermes:/var/spool/cups-pdf/out# ls -l
-rw------- 1 mmilne domain users 36334 2008-03-05 08:14 job_10031-tmp7.pdf
-rw------- 1 dstephenson domain users 17119 2008-03-05 09:15 job_10055-Microsoft_Word_-_Dulce_et_decorum_est.pdf
you might want to run rm verbosely (with the -v option) for the first few nights to check it's working ok. Also tell your users when and how often you clean up. :)
0 0 * * * rm /var/spool/cups-pdf/out/*.pdf
Sorry not a network version but ,Primo PDF
I have it installed on each PC, it sits there as another printer and it works flawlessly. Really, its one of the best bits of free software I have ever found.
@Geoff: I am slowly moving things over to *nix as much as I can and a central print server would do the trick great, I will surely look into this.
Evryone else many thanks for your pointers.
@ICTNUT: Check out http://edugeek.net/wiki/index.php/HOWTOs for wiki artciles about setting up the print server. I finished migrating mine yesterday and double-checked the instructions as I did it so you should have no problems.
We use YAFPC - http://www.yafpc.net/
We installed it on some old hardware, put it on our network, and then added it to our server and shared it. When you send a print to it it sends you back an email with your page as a pdf attachment.
The license cost us about £30. It's been updated since the version we use. It's been running in a cupboard for about a year now and no problems at all.
I trialled a few and settled on PDFCreator - nice and simple, no nag screens etc, installed across whole network.
Local Authority also use it to send prints to central printing service.
Easy and quick. No banners, ads, nags, or watermarks
I use PDF995
Guide on the site to make it a network printer.
I have this scripted to run for all admin staff so they can convert Newsletters ect to send out via parentmail
I use pdf995 too and find it very good.
My only niggle is that I havn't worked out how (if?) to make it produce non A4 size output
The latest version of PDFCreator can be installed on a print server and then shared like a normal networked printer. Sounds like exactly what you're after.
Originally Posted by mark
We have it on our station builds, and going out via a GPO as its in MSI format. :).
This is a really nice solution - I have it running for students but am prevented setting it up for staff because staff+student home dirs reside on different volumes. Is there a way to make this program save the .pdf to any users homedir rather than hardcoded like \\server\users\students? Consolidating home directories is not really a viable option :(
Originally Posted by plock