Laptop with dead hard drive as print server
March 5, 2007 7:39 AM   Subscribe

I want to use a laptop as a print server. Its hard drive is dead, but the CD-ROM and floppy are working. I've been able to boot it with a Knoppix CD.

How would I configure the laptop (a 5+ year old Toshiba) to always have the laptop configured as a print server when it boots up?

Is it possible to create a custom Knoppix (or other OS) CD with my printer configuration?

Also, I though about booting off a USB drive, but the laptop's BIOS doesn't seem to have an option to allow that.

The laptop would have a direct ethernet connection, and connect to one or two USB printers.

My home network has both Windows and Mac systems.

posted by ShooBoo to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
1) You should be able to do this during the creation of your cd, depending on which method you use to create the cd.

2) Yes--from what I remember Knoppix is actually just rebranded Gentoo Linux, and Gentoo lends its self nicely to being put on CD.
posted by anaelith at 8:23 AM on March 5, 2007

Knoppix is based on Debian Linux (a mix of Testing and Unstable, iirc). There are lots of docs out there that talk about remastering Knoppix. You might also want to look around and see if there's already a print-server oriented live CD out there. Many live CDs also support restoring user customizations from a USB disk automatically during boot.
posted by xiojason at 1:06 PM on March 5, 2007

Most print servers are designed to spool up and store print jobs that come in faster than the printer can print them. The spool file needs somewhere to live. I don't suppose a floppy drive would make for a good place for it, but you could use a usb drive.

of course, the best solution is to replace the hard drive in the notebook.
posted by MCTDavid at 4:49 PM on March 5, 2007

First: USB-Ethernet printservers are $20/ea, or less. You're going to save more in electricty and grief in the long run by just buying a pair.

If I was going to do it ANYWAYS (And I have :) ...), I'd start by looking my printers up in the linux printer database. If your printer is listed as a 'Paperweight', you're not going to have a lot of luck printserving it.

If you still want to continue, you probably want to set up CUPS and SAMBA - CUPS can be thought of as the UNIX equivolent of printer drivers, and SAMBA allows it to 'Speak' Microsoft Networking/Printer protocol.
posted by Orb2069 at 7:21 PM on March 5, 2007

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