PaperCut Print Management on UNIX and Enterprise Systems (tracking)
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Q What options does PaperCut provide to run on AIX/HPUX/Solaris?
(also applies to other systems like AS400, iSeries, etc.)
PaperCut will run on Linux out of the box and this is a standard supported platform. Other UNIX systems are however less popular and hence treated as custom environments, however they must be running the CUPS printing system. Each implementation is approached differently depending on requirements, architecture, and level of tracking required.
We encourage organizations considering implementing print control or print management software on UNIX platforms running CUPS to open dialog with our development/support team. Historically print management on UNIX system has been limited to logging and auditing, however some organizations have taken this further to cover other areas of print management including secure print release (pull printing), account allocation via popup client software, print routing, and printer error tracking. These are regarded as more advanced topics and often require planning.
The general approach to monitor these queues is to forward the jobs to another server running PaperCut.
Some sites have chosen to avoid native code and instead forward the UNIX queues through to say a Linux CUPS server. The jobs spool via the Linux system before being passed through to the physical printer. PaperCut is installed on the Linux system (usually as a secondary server reporting to say a Windows server).
This is the best option for sites running on these systems, as it allows PaperCut to run on one of the standard/supported operating systems, and also allows tracking of jobs from this other UNIX system.
A detailed example of queue forwarding exists in this article.
NOTE: When jobs are sent via Unix or forwarded the information about the originating username and workstation is not known (e.g. the IP address of the workstation the user printed from). For this reason, some user client that rely on this information may not be possible to use (e.g. client popup authentication, account selection, etc).
PaperCut has a number of features to help with identifying the user of a document from an enterprise product such as JD Edwards, SAP, Oracle Financial, etc. This functionality is discussed in detail in the PaperCut Manual under Advanced Print Management - Username Extraction.
Special System Integration
In many cases, PaperCut can track configured from special Unix software or enterprise applications such as SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle Financial, JD Edwards, etc. This has been done in the past using various methods including:
Integration with special spooler sub-systems such as VPSX
PaperCut has been integrated with special print spooling systems such as VPSX* from LRS (see Installing PaperCut on LRS VPSX for more details). In some cases this process has involved working with report developers on the site to ensure job owner ID’s are embedded in the spool content.
Post processing of print event logs
PaperCut may be configured to retrospectively loading print jobs. For example, SAP print event logs. See importing print job details for more information. This approach has been taken at a number of sites who require consolidated print audit reports.
We find that these types of applications are heavily customized for site specific requirements and hence integration is considered on an implementation by implementation basis. All successful projects need good resources dedicated to the project management.
In conclusion, UNIX printing is potentially a complex topic and needs to be carefully reviewed and considered. Implementation should also be approach pragmatically and cooperation is required by all parties (Unix system administrations, application manages, and PaperCut). A budget for PaperCut consulting is advised to ensure a supported implementation.
* VPSX and LRS is a registered trademark of Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc. PaperCut has conducted integration with VPSX filter functionality (Windows, Linux, Mainframe) to implement print tracking, accounting and secure print release (pull printing).