Well, I said that I was going to build a server to do a larger-scale test for AirPrinting from iOS devices here on campus, and by gum I did. Right now, under my desk, there’s an Ubuntu 12.04.1 Precise server named Goodmountain (see what I did there?) whose only job is to serve up AirPrint printers for campus iDevices.
So how’s it working so far? Well, I’ve printed a couple pieces of short fiction from my iPad to two of the printers that I’ve made available for this pilot program, and everything’s gone just fine. There aren’t any students around this week, and I don’t know how much demand there’s been for iPad printing. For this pilot, I’ve only made four printers available in the locations where the iPads get used most often, and I’ll be waiting to see if there’s more demand and/or how much the service gets used before I do anything else. Top on my list of priorities is moving this to an actual server that isn’t hanging out under my desk, but that only happens if this is something that there’s heavy demand for.
Now, what have I learned? Well, top on my list is that the Ubuntu server installer doesn’t recognize full-sized Apple SATA drives (or at least drives that have been pulled out of the bin and have an Apple logo on them–I don’t actually know if it’s the drives or something about the partitions, and I don’t care to test that right now). More important than that, though, is that if you’re going to be serving multiple printers, you need to have a separate .service XML file under /etc/avahi/services/ for each printer or none of them are going to show up. If you’ve already built a nice big file for all your printers and you need to cut it up into a bunch of individual files, just consider it more Vim practice. Yank is your friend.
Expect to see another report here once I have some usage statistics.