[Samba] Printer settings reset problems

Anders Karlsson anders.karlsson at cendio.se
Thu Feb 26 14:32:15 GMT 2004


I am working on a print server project where we have ran into a big
showstopper. The print server works in a very mixed environment with
clients running for example Linux, Windows NT4, Windows 2000, VMS,
different Solaris versions and other Unix dialects. The server runs CUPS
for printer spooling and Samba to serve the Windows machines. It's the
Windows machines that has caused most problems and we now have problems
with printer settings.

When a Windows client adds a printer the drivers are downloaded as they
should. This caused some problems earlier, but works fine now. After that
the client gets printer settings from the server, for example
available paper formats, toner saving modes, page orientations, stapling,
and so on. These settings are made from Windows and are stored by Samba in
the simulated registry files (tdb files) under /var/lib/samba/printers.

Our problem is that these settings are reseted when done for another type
of Windows. If we configure all settings for a printer from a Windows 2000
machine, then the settings works fine when a Windows 2000 client adds the
printer. But when a Windows NT4 client adds the same printer there are no
settings configured. This is ok, the Windows environments differs and the
driver versions can differ. Therefore we do the same configuration for the
printer from a Windows NT4 machine. After that clients running NT4 gets
correct settings for the printer. Now the bad thing: the configuration of
the printer for NT4 resets the configuration previously entered for
Windows 2000! When a Windows 2000 client looks on the settings now they
are back to the default values as they were before configuration for
Windows 2000.

The problem also occurs in the other direction. If we first configure the
printer for Windows NT4 and then for Windows 2000, then the settings for
NT4 are reseted after configuration from Windows 2000.

We have several different brands of printers and therfore different
Windows drivers, but for most of them it works like the description above.
A brand new Ricoh printer, with new drivers, works better than above
though. When we configure the printer under Windows 2000 for that printer,
then the settings automatically applies to the NT4 settings too and vice
versa. And it doesn't reset any settings. It seems very much up to the
driver where and how it stores its settings in the Samba simulated

How do Samba store the settings for different Windows platforms? Do Samba
make difference between different Windows platforms when storing the
settings? Why are our settings reseted? Is this a known problem and is
there any way to make it work better? As it is now we can't use Samba as a
print server frontend for both Windows 2000 and NT4 clients.

I have recently started to use the tdbutil to look on the database files,
but haven't come to any conclusions yet.

Anders Karlsson                        Email:  anders.karlsson at cendio.se
Cendio Systems AB                      WWW:    www.cendio.se
Teknikringen 3,                        Voice:  +46 - (0)13 - 21 46 00
SE-583 30  LINKÖPING, SWEDEN           Fax:    +46 - (0)13 - 21 47 00

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