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Sharing a Linux printer to Windows with Samba and Cups

So I recently have been setting up a new Fedora 14 Linux machine at home, which used to run Windows as my primary desktop. I figured that I would keep the printer connected physically to this machine, even though it would no longer be the primary desktop. That meant I had to figure out how to get printing working first with Linux, and then printer sharing.

Getting printing working in Linux was fairly easy. In fact, the printer had already appeared in the list of printers without really doing any work. I recalled from a previous attempt a while back that there are some neat specific tools for HP printing in Linux, and I found them again at the HPLIP project. A quick install of that software in Fedora and I, at least, had that up and running.

Sharing the printer via Samba and CUPS is where it got a little tricky. I had ended up fighting a bunch with the specific configuration of Samba, finding lots of conflicting tutorials with different information that didn’t make sense. I tried a few things, and kept getting permissions errors.

I finally realized that, at least for printing, smb is running/executing as the user “nobody”.  I also noticed that there happened to be a samba-specific folder in /var/spool. I put two and two together and figured that SELinux would be happiest with Samba talking to that folder. So, here’s, ultimately, the set-up I ended up with for smb.conf:

  workgroup = YOURWORKGROUP
  server string = Samba Server Version %v
  security = share
  printing = cups
  printcap name = cups
  browseable = yes
  printable = yes
  public = yes
  create mode = 0700
  use client driver = yes
  path = /var/spool/samba

Adding the printer from Windows proved to be a snap:

  1. Browse to the computer name (//yourlinuxmachinename)
  2. Double click the printer to connect to it
  3. Find the driver it needs
  4. Done!

Hopefully this will help some of you if you find yourselves fumbling around trying to make this sort of thing work.