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I have a Debian box running cups on which I share out my laser printer to all the other machines in my home network. I am in the market for an upgrade to a color laser multifunction (print/scan/fax) printer and I want to keep the same network setup.

I do not anticipate any issues sharing the printing function via cups, but how does scanning work? Can I scan into printer and somehow push the image to a machine? Or would I fire off the scan process from the client machine needing the scanned image?

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You'll need to configure SANE to work over the network.

  • exactly what i was looking for - now i'm wondering if i really need it with the new printers having network capability built in. – Tone Jul 20 '10 at 3:43
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That depends on the scanning device in question. CUPS won't be able to handle it. One method, that we're looking to use campus wide, is to specify a drop-zone for these MFPs to drop scans. This is a Samba share with a unique folder for each MFP. It does depend on if the MFP can drop files on a SMB share, which not all do. Many can send emails, so you might be able to use a shared mailbox of some kind.

Of course, this is for MFPs that are network-attached rather than USB attached. A lot of the newer MFPs have built-in wireless these days, which implies they may have some of these features.

  • i just had the thought that if i can connect directly into the network then i don't really need a cups print server - my current printer is 10+ years old and i only have lpt port connected. – Tone Jul 20 '10 at 3:38
  • @Tone Heh, yep. Exactly that. I have a USB printer I use on my home print server. For home use, these network-attached MFPs work pretty well. Corporate use is another problem, though. – sysadmin1138 Jul 20 '10 at 3:57

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