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ESP Print Pro: The Commercial Cousin to CUPS - page 2

Why Pay Money?

  • January 20, 2005
  • By Carla Schroder

ESP Print Pro comes with commercial support and a larger feature set than CUPS. Even in these modern times, computer printing seems to require a bit of black magic. Network printing is especially vexatious and complicated.

ESP Print Pro supports a wide range of options. You might want to have all printers open to all users. Or you may need authentication, encryption, access controls, quotas, or billing. You can easily make printers available across subnets. It supports diskless Linux/Unix clients.

A number of authentication and access controls are available: Basic, Digest, and local certificate authentication; user, domain, or IP-based access control; and 128-bit SSL and TLS encryption. (These are also supported in CUPS.)

Another reason is to get more and better printer drivers. Finding drivers can be a real pain, because families of printers will often use the same drivers, but it won't always be documented. Printer manufacturers are very slowly increasing their Linux support- while rapidly increasing their claims of love for the penguin- so we're still pretty much on our own. ESP Print Pro supports over 4400 printers. Installing or removing drivers is a quick job via the graphical installer or command line.

Yet another reason is to get better printer management interfaces. ESP Print Pro comes with four GUI printer management programs: Printer Manager, Printer Wizard, Print Panel, and Printer Options Panel. With these you can install, delete, and modify printers; set printing options for print jobs, and manage the print queue. There is a separate GUI control panel for users, which allows them to select printers and monitor their own print jobs. All the GUI programs have a Help button, which opens to context-based help. It's a nice feature, and it would be even nicer with larger fonts and screenshots for those of us with worn-out old eyes.

Like all good Linux programs, there are many ways to do the same thing: command-line, GUI, and editing text configuration files. The fine-grained control still comes from manually editing cupsd.conf; the graphical control panel does not include every available option.

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