[Samba] Print speed with an HP Laserjet 4

Mike Brodbelt m.brodbelt at acu.ac.uk
Fri May 2 13:15:07 GMT 2003

Kurt Pfeifle wrote:
>>The new print setup, which is significantly slower, is that the user
>>prints via a server based HPLJ4m PostScript driver,
> "server based"? I assume by that you mean that the clients download and
> install that driver via "Point'n'Print" ?  The *execution* of this driver
> is always on the client (with Samba -- which can not execute Win32 printer
> driver code on the server, in contrast to a Win NT/2k print server)

Yes - when I said "server based" I simply meant driver files were stored
and configured centrally.

> "Slight"? I think the overhead is considerable. Remember that printbill
> does the "RIP"-ing procedure twice for every job -- once for the sending
> to the printer, and once to generate the bitmap which is used to calculate
> the toner or ink coverage (which is one parameter going into the "bill")-

I have printbill configured in account only mode, so the RIP for cost
calculation should not affect the time taken, if my understanding is
correct. The printcap entry for a problem printer is:-

  :as=|/usr/sbin/printbill --type account:\
  :cm=LaserJet 4 in Room 34:\
  :if=/usr/lib/ifhp/ifhp -Tmodel=pcl_gs:\

>      * print to file on a Win Client using the "old" HPLJ4 PCL driver
>        and save the PCL file
>      * print to file on a Win Client using the "new" PS driver and save
>        the PS file
>      * print both files locally on your Samba server from an appropriate
>        command line and benchmark the two print processes (with and without
>        printbill activated)
> This way you eliminate the Win --> Samba file transfer overhead as well
> as you can estimate the respective printbill overhead.
> I would be very much interested about your results.

I'll try this and post the results.

>>Whne this was first set up, the initial change was to upgrade the
>>installed version of Samba, and move from LanManager type printers with
>>locally installed drivers to spoolss printers with server configured
>>drivers. Users are reporting that the problem has been present for a
>>while, so it may well have coincided with that change, 
> I *believe* the main factor is print bill. (Did your migration to SPOOLSS
> initially use the PCL drivers placed on the server, or PostScript drivers?)

Initially, it used PCL drivers downloaded from the HP site. These may
well have been newer than the drivers that had been locally installed on
the users workstations, but were straight PCL drivers, and printbill was
not in place at that time.

Reports from the users state that the slowdown coincided with the
initial migration to spoolss, and not with the implementation of
printbill (though they left it a couple of weeks to tell me, so might be

>>I'd appreciate any suggestions as to what might be responsible for the
>>speed change, and how I might go about fixing it. I'm currently at a
>>loose end as to which part of the chain to suspect, and how to restore
>>the speed...
> Only a benchmarking of the two systems will help to answer this. I don't
> have knowledge if anyone has done it before.

I'll run the tests you've suggested and post the results back. Thanks
for the help.


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