G2 Winter report names PaperCut #1 in Print

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PaperCut NG & PaperCut MF Manual


Scenario: The large school

North Shore High has a student population of 2000 students. Their network consists of:

  • Three student Windows PC labs and one Mac lab with other computers scattered around the school for student use.

  • A mixture of Mac and Windows laptops used by staff.

  • A Windows Active Directory environment hosted on a number of servers.

  • Printers are hosted on two separate Windows servers.

  • Some teaching staff have desktop printers attached locally to their workstations.

  • Each lab has a black and white laser printer.

  • Two high-end color copier/printers and large format printers are located in a print room situated away from the computer labs.

Students have their own login account and small home directories for storage.


  1. The system must support the mixed Mac and Windows environment.

  2. The system should support multiple print servers and locally attached desktop printers.

  3. The school wants to experiment with hosting printers on a Linux system with the aim of using Linux for print serving tasks to help save on future Windows licensing costs.

  4. Students are to be granted a small $5 a month printing budget. Final year students have a $10 a month allowance.

  5. If students need additional printing, they must purchase it. The payment process should be simple and easy to manage.

  6. Jobs issued to printers situated in the print room should be held in a queue and only printed on the physical printers after the user has arrived at the room to collect the job.

  7. Staff members should have the option of charging printing to department accounts or to a small personal account, depending on the type of print job.

  8. Student printing should be archived for a period of 4 weeks. This allows IT staff to determine the individual students responsible for printing inappropriate material when incidents are reported.

  9. The system should be proactively monitored to ensure as little disruption to the service as possible.


  • Initial installation

    The mixture of operating systems and multiple-servers makes this a complex installation. Prior to deployment, it is advisable for the network manager and/or network administrator to plan the deployment and familiarize themselves with the PaperCut NG/MF software.

  • Requirement 1

    PaperCut NG/MF is a cross platform solution designed for all major operating systems. Given the existence of an existing domain environment, the installation of Windows systems is typically straightforward. The Macs, however, can be set up in a number of different ways. Network administrators should consult Mac printing in detail.

  • Requirement 2

    Multi-server installations are commonplace on larger networks. One system needs to be nominated as the primary PaperCut NG/MF server. This system is responsible for running the “brains” of the system and storing all data. The other servers, secondary servers, report back to the central primary server via XML Web Services. The system architecture, deployment considerations, and recommendations are outlined in Multiple print servers.

  • Requirement 3

    Linux is becoming ever popular in the server space. First web hosting, and now common file and print services are being serviced with the Linux operating system. PaperCut NG/MF is available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. Not only that, its architecture allows all three systems to run side-by-side sharing a common central server. This school can experiment with hosting printers on Linux by running a Linux based secondary server alongside their main Windows servers. See Configure a Linux or Novell iPrint secondary print server for additional information.

  • Requirement 4

    Quotas or allowances are allocated to users on a per-group basis. By adding network domain groups to PaperCut NG/MF that represent the respective student groups, SysAdmins can automate the allocation process. See Set up quota allocations for further information.

  • Requirement 5

    The purchase of additional quota/credit is best managed by the TopUp/Pre-Paid Card system. The system reduces the data entry and management requirements associated with manual transactions. More information on TopUp/Pre-Paid Cards is covered in TopUp/Pre-Paid cards.

  • Requirement 6

    Print release in the print room is best achieved with the Release Station. By running a special full-screen application on a dedicated terminal in this room, students can release their jobs once they arrive at the room. The Release Station and secure printing in general is covered in detail at Secure print release.

  • Requirement 7

    Tracking and allocating staff printing to departments is best achieved by using Shared accounts. When set up, teaching staff are presented with a popup window asking them to select an account to charge. You can control account access via domain group membership or via PINs. More information on shared accounts is available at Shared accounts.

  • Requirement 8

    The requirement to archive, audit and view all print activity can be accomplished by enabling Print Archiving (viewing and content capture). This allows approved staff to visually inspect the contents of all print jobs.

  • Requirement 9

    The requirement to proactively monitor the print system can be accomplished using the PaperCut System Health interface. This allows you to monitor your entire print environment using your existing monitoring tools, such as PRTG and Zabbix. You might already be monitoring the status of your printers and servers, which can help a lot, but often does not tell the whole story. It’s not just about monitoring individual components, but also the overall system usage.