Rock and a Hard Place

by Scot Hacker

I'm stuck in one of those loops where both the OS vendor and the peripheral vendor point the finger at one over a basic incompatibility, leaving the customer stranded.

A few months ago, I bought a USB Brother HL-1440 laser printer on the recommendation of a local Mac outlet. The printer prints perfectly from the PowerMac it's attached to. And thanks to Rendezvous, the printer shows up automatically on my wife's machine (which is also OS X 10.2.2). But when she goes to send a print job, the fun stops. Her Print Center displays the incredibly helpful error message "IPP0: Undefined Error" and the job never materializes.

A little poking around indicates that this is a problem in the CUPS layer, although no mention of it appears in the Apple Knowledge Base. I posted to the Apple support forums and found a few other people with the same problem, but no Apple employees have responded there.

When an Apple store opened up in Emeryville, I stood in line at the Genius Bar to get some answers. Their response: It has to be a problem with the printer driver, and I should contact Brother. This made no sense to me, since A) The driver works perfectly on the local machine and B) My impression had been that any USB printer with a working driver should be shareable via Rendezvous. I didn't believe that the printer vendor had to write sharing support into the driver - that should be handled by the CUPS and Rendezvous layers.

Nevertheless, I contacted Brother's tech support. Their response was that my printer did not have Rendezvous support - they're talking about something different here - I don't care about built-in Rendezvous, but about USB printer sharing. They said there was nothing else I could do but contact Apple.

I went back to the Genius bar and told them Brother had sent me right back to Apple. This time the Genius acknowledged that it should work, that the driver doesn't need any kind of special support. But he did not have any theories as to why printer sharing doesn't work on my home network (static IPs, in case you're curious).

So for the past three months, my wife has only been able to print by copying documents to my machine first, and printing from there. She wonders why we didn't just get Windows machines, because this kind of thing "just works" with Windows (ouch!). Brother can't help me. Apple can't help me. It seems clear to me that this is a problem in Rendezvous and/or CUPS, but I can't get Apple to acknowledge that there is even a problem. I would be more than happy to provide debug logs or anything else they require. But I can't even get through to Apple without purchasing AppleCare (I refuse to pay to talk to someone about their own bugs).

The situation is absurd. Apple is a premium brand, and we pay top dollar for Apple solutionsin part because of their reputation for superior usability. If Apple can't deliver that, and if they persist in charging for support on their own bugs, they're sunk.


2002-12-11 16:31:39
Almost identical problem with HP 930C
I just got off the phone with Apple Technical Support after my second day with essentially the same problem and immediately found Scot's essay. I have a G4 Power Mac, a TiBook and an old orange iBook. All are running 10.2.2 (6F21)The HP 930C works perfectly with any machine when connected by USB. When accessed via Printer Sharing thru the LAN, Print Center can see the printer (rose tinted stripe and all), yet when we attempt to print any file (such as one line of text from TextEdit) and select the printer from the Print sheet, the application instantly "unexpectedly quits." At least Scot got an error code. Anyone else see this?
2002-12-11 18:43:11
It's the first result of a pretty obvious google, so you probably have seen it already:

Looks like maybe someone has it working, but macosxhints is otherwise a great resource for this kind of stuff.

Until apple works this out, how about a kludgy fix? It sounds like she has to save to your computer and then move to that computer to print. I'd set up a ~/ToBePrinted/ folder and then set up cron to run a script to:

lpr ~/ToBePrinted/*.pdf

every 10-15 minutes and then delete or backup the pdfs at your preference.

Then setup an alias for your server and saving to pdf on your mac is a one step from her perspective.

2002-12-11 22:00:21
Apple (no) Support Forums
Frankly, I'm unsuprised that Apple remained mute in response to your postings on their support forums. If you hang around those forums, or jump in and read what is posted there, you will see that an enormous number of people are deeply disatisfied with the lack of support provided by Apple through their on-line forums.
2002-12-12 08:34:42
Welcome to Macintosh...
Hey Scot,

You've worked with Apple long enough to know that their support system is a problem...they don't listen to good constructive criticism regarding their software/operating system/hardware, what makes you think they care about supporting the stuff?

The best part is that Apple uses CUPS as an advertising "point" for Jag, but at the same time, if you read the fine print, disavows having to make it work...niiiice business practice.


2002-12-12 09:57:40
Check the Flat Panel iMac usage forum
Usually you find better support there on Apple's discussion boards. I'm one of the helpers there and I wish I could get to every forum and help, but it seems the most helpful replies come there. In anycase, check the open source drivers available here:

You may find they work better for you than the company's own drivers.

2002-12-12 10:03:44
HP 932c - Works for me.
I just moved my wife from Windows to a Mac. I plugged in her HP 932c printer to her new iMac and it worked really well. I went to the System Prefs and enabled printer sharing. I then went to my Cube and printed a document. Worked perfect...every time.
2002-12-12 10:35:51
What I have noticed with issue is that almost all Epson printers work just fine and most recent HP printers .. when it comes to Lexmark, Brother and Samsung.. I have bumped into such issues..

I have had great success using Epson C80's and 820's but could never get a Lexmark to share .....

2002-12-12 12:21:59
Apple (no) Support Forums
I'm not sure why anyone visiting Apple's forums would be ".....deeply disatisfied with the lack of support provided by Apple....."

It clearly states in their Overview document that they "monitor" the forum. It goes on to say, "Apple may not respond promptly, or at all to these discussions."

Seems their position is pretty clear to me.

2002-12-12 13:59:57
Did you add "local." to Network Preferences "Search domains" field?
Sounds like a problem I ran into when I initially tried to connect to a shared printer via Rezdevous. Have you looked at the following KnowledgeBase document?

2002-12-12 14:02:13
Try GIMP-Print
Gimp-print replaces the standard drivers. While your Brother Model is not officially supported, a lot of models are not officailly supported but are reported to work.
A lot of users seems extremely happy with Gimp-print
Good luck!

2002-12-12 14:04:24
"Just Works" on Windows? NO ONE says that.
I don't think I've ever known anybody whose printer "just worked" on Windows. And CERTAINLY not printer sharing.

I think the focus of the article should have been on Apple's crappy bug support.

Which, to be fair, is identical to the rest of the computer industry's.

2002-12-12 17:05:34
HL1240 works with Gimp Print
Title says it all. Gimp-Print has my G4 10.2.2 printing to a Brother connected to a Windows 98 box without big problems.

Try it, you'll like it.

2002-12-12 18:03:47
I couldn't agree more
I cannot even USE my HP g85 aio machine. I had the same run around and am now left with a "HP and Apple have identified the problem and are working together to solve it" Gee thanks. I have now been able to print for only 2 months since getting OSX 10.0.0. 10.2.2 has put me in a bind once again. I think I have shown enough loyalty...get with it Apple!
2002-12-12 18:22:53
can't get thru to apple without buying applecare???
you get 90 days of phone support for 10.2

and you can talk to someone without purchasing anything - they may not help you without some sort of agreement but you have the 90 days of 10.2 support and an option for a per incident agreement which is $49 - so applecare is not the only option

so say what you will about there support pricing policies but a credit card number is not the first thing they ask for and you always get 90 days of support for new products being software or hardware

2002-12-12 18:42:28
What kind of machines?
I had a similar experience with a Samsung ML1210 and an Epson 1270. A theory is that the sending machine does not in fact have USB and therefore can;t properly run USB printer sharing. My sending machine was a Wallstreet. What is your sending machine?
2002-12-14 10:52:44
Almost identical problem with HP 930C
The HP printer drivers have a problem if the Mac serving the printer and the Mac using the printer have different versions of the HP drivers installed. The problem is that the printing Mac will crash. Maybe that's what's going on with your HP 930C.
2002-12-16 09:50:12
It is not that easy, but it works in Windows
No, it does not "just work" in Windows unless you buy Dave or some other PC-Mac sharing software program for $$$$. I managed to get print sharing to work by configuring the [ with sudo pico] "Private/etc/sm.conf" file. I wanted to print from my Windows machine to a HP printer hooked up to the imac via USB. I am sure you could do the same. Also, I found that cross-platform sharing works best if the machines share the same workgroup name, although, that should not be a problem since both you and your wife are using Macs and 10.2.2. Anyways, by changing some settings in the Smb.conf you should be able to get this to work.
2002-12-16 13:19:59
Get Gimp print.
2002-12-17 14:21:26
Mac OS X Hints similar problem with solution
Over at there is a posting which sounds very similar to your problem. The post is titled

Solving a shared printer and hostname problem

and it was posted under the network heading at

Tue, Dec 17 '02 at 09:17AM

Hope this helps.

2003-02-15 19:20:26
I got it working.
Had all the problems, here's how to print using Mac OSX over a network:

2003-08-04 13:40:43
samsung/lexmark cups-lp incompatibilities
I once tried to connect a Lexmark e210 (basically a rebadged Samsung ML1210) to an cups-lp server built into my D-Link router. Here's what D-Link has to say about the incompatibility. Basically, your printer will not work with any Unix-based lp solution because it does not have a command interpreter. No device driver will solve your problem. Apple was right to blame the manufacturer for not including a command interpreter, and the manufacturer was right to blame Apple for not choosing a more compatible solution. Neither can make your printer work with Apple's current OS.
2004-09-08 13:57:31
Apple Rendezvous and USB printing
I have a fairly new Epson CX5200 USB printer that works great with both my G4 tower and my G4 Powerbook via printer sharing when they are networked via cable. However, my problems began when I bought an Airport Extreme base station which is advertised to make any USB printer available over the network simply by plugging it into the USB port on the base station. Unfortunately, while both machines can see the printer through Rendezvous and allow you to start print jobs, the jobs always stop after a few seconds. Repeated attempts will result in a useless communication error message. The only way I can get any printing done is to hook the printer up to a USB hub off of the tower, link the tower to the base station via an ethernet cable, and share the printer. That allows maybe 5 print jobs from the laptop if I'm lucky. Then Rendezvous figures out my clever workaround and sabotages printing from both printers, forcing me to reboot both of them. Like the author, I too ultimately have to copy files to the tower to print them, which is stupid and frustrating. And like the auther found two years ago, Apple support still claims they've not heard of this problem before and it must be the print driver. Funny how nothing changes. Has anyone else come up with a solution, given that apparently Apple isn't going to bother?