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Linux Printing HOWTO
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11.10. Networked Printer Administration

11.10. Networked Printer Administration

Most networked printers support some method of remote administration. Often there are easy-to-use web pages for configuration. More usefully, there is often support for SNMP management. Typically you can find out interesting information on printer status like ink and paper levels, print volumes, and so forth, and you can usually change certain settings. SNMP printer control, and a number of other printing-related things, are being standardized by the IEEE's Printer Working Group

11.10.1. npadmin

Npadminis a command-line program which offers an interface to the common SNMP functionality of networked printers. It implements the standard Printer MIB, as well as a few vendor-proprietary schemes used mainly for older devices. Both printer-discovery style actions and various printer status queries are supported.

npadmin has an excellent man page, and precompiled packages are distributed for a number of RPM and dpkg based distributions.

11.10.2. Other SNMP tools

Besides npadmin, there are a number of SNMP tools that will be useful. snmptraplogd can log SNMP trap events. This is useful for observing printer jams, out of paper events, etc; it would be straightforward to retransmit certain events to a pager, or to send an email.

While npadmin provides simplified support for many network printers' SNMP interfaces, some printers may have vendor extensions which npadmin doesn't know about. In this case, you can use the CMU SNMP tools, which support arbitrary SNMP GET and SET operations, as well as walks and the like. With these, and a bit of work, you can make use of any SNMP feature offered by your printer's MIB. You may need to obtain a MIB from your vendor to figure out what all the variables are; sometimes vendors think that people actually use the proprietary tools they ship.

VA Linux's libprinterconf includes code to perform network printer discovery. Printers are identified against a compiled-in library of printer signatures; at the moment the library is not large, but does cover many common networked printer models.

Linux Printing HOWTO
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  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire