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Workaround solution for USB printer sharing Network
I've been looking for some time for a way to network our Epson SP 870 colour photo inkjet under OS X. It's been a nightmare - but three months on, I've finally got it working!

We have 18 Macs connected over an Airport Network in our office, all running OS X. Epson's drivers don't support networked printing over TCP/IP, and Apple told me that USB sharing was not available in classic. But it seems it is!

Read the rest of the article for our workaround solution...

Here's what we did...
  1. Set up each mac in OS 9 to have tcp/ip settings, appletalk on, airport logged onto our network. Installed the EPSON OS9 Driver. Restarted. On the host machine, used the chooser to make the SP 870 available for sharing. Turned on USB printer sharing and made the SP 870 available for sharing.

  2. On the network macs we then selected the SP 870 in USB printer sharing - and then in the chooser. We changed the Port config in chooser from 'USB Port 1' to 'Shared'.

  3. Then I checked that all the machines were printing to the printer in OS 9. All good so far. Then, leaving the host in OS 9, we restarted all the networked machines in OS X. In system prefs we altered the Classic preferences to start up classic on Log in.

  4. Then I opened the 'Applications - Mac OS 9' folder, selected Acrobat Reader 5, changed the app name to 'Print PDF' and did a 'get info' (apple-I) on the app icon. I swaped the Icon for that of the Print Centre in OS X (in the Utilities folder), and checked the 'Open in Classic' tick box.

  5. I then dragged an instance of the new 'Print PDF' app icon into the dock.

  6. When people want to print they simply choose 'Print' from what ever os x application they're using, and then choose 'Preview'. In preview they choose 'Save as PDF' and save the PDF to the desk top. To finish printing, they drag the new PDF onto the 'Print PDF' app in the Dock and print from there.

  7. We then restarted the host machine in OS X, and it still works!
It's crude but it's working for us - and I'm sure most of the steps could be automated with AppleScript.

It's not perfect but there seemed to be no other alternative - until Jaguar (hurry up apple!) it's the best we've got.

Incedentally - don't bother with Canon, we bought an S6300 and a C700 print server, which Canon assured us would work, and we've managed to config it onto the network etc using the setup app (PC only) in Virtual PC, but it won't print remotely. When we rang Canon back, they said that they don't provide support to Mac Networks and suggested that we change to PC. Yeah right.

Good Luck!

[Editor's note: A creative workaround to an existing OS X issue. Jaguar's one-button "Enable USB Printer Sharing" will be a welcome relief for many people!]
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Workaround solution for USB printer sharing | 3 comments | Create New Account
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Smaller network simpler solution
Authored by: sweyhrich on May 20, '02 11:30:13PM

I've been trying to avoid all the "USB printer sharing doesn't work under MacOS X" statements I can find, since I've been able to (usually) get it to work in my small home network, and I'm afraid that if I read the tech stuff too closely I'll decide that it CAN'T work and it will stop working :-).

We have:

iMac DV+ running MacOS X 10.1.4
iMac 233, MacOS 9.1 (ethernet cable)
iBook Indigo, MacOS 9.1 (Airport)
iBook White 2001, MacOS 9.1 (Airport)

The Airport is configured to use NAT to share the cable modem with each computer, and each computer has Appletalk turned on. The Epson printer software is installed on each MacOS 9 computer. When using the Chooser to select that Epson printer, it shows up as "Shared Stylus COLOR 777", and will (usually) print.

I say "usually" because there are some times when the darn thing just refuses to work. Most of the time it works just great. I found that you MUST have Classic set to never sleep, or the printer will not show up in the Chooser.

I always have Classic booted up on the MacOS X machine, and have the printer shared (as described in the article). Appletalk is on, and each MacOS 9.1 computer on the network seems to be able to see

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USB printer sharing... sorry
Authored by: bakalite on May 21, '02 01:32:59AM

Well, I too have an epson and OSX and a bunch of noisy fans attached to mac's in a small room. The bad news is that there really is no good way to do this. There is however a bad way to do this. Buy a USB switch. This will allow you to connect several Mac's to one printer. You have to set the switch to the person that wants to print. The switch is about $50, and mine is working even though the total cable length is around 20ft or so.

The good news is that the usb switch will probably come in handy some day for something else, once epson gets it's act together and writes the code of printer sharing.

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USB printer sharing... sorry
Authored by: lindz on May 22, '02 11:07:22AM

I nearly resorted to this, but after working out that our 18 macs over 10 meters would require about 20 cables and repeaters I decided to abandon that! The one issue we're currently having is that sometimes we have to reboot the host machine in Classic, republish the printer and then switch back to OS X. The problem is intermittent - and hard therefore to diagnose, any suggestions gratefully received!

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