CUPS help documentation, dropping cups "browsing"

Bob R br4email-cups at
Mon Nov 26 15:56:15 PST 2012

I have decided to start a new message, discussing just the documentation (please). From a different message:

> >> Indeed, and with the exception of browsing and some charset issues I think our history of backwards compatibility has been great. But each of these things has known workarounds...
> >
> > Where do I find the "known" workaround?
>Search the message archives.

While I thank you for answering, this is not the way it should be. If there is a known incompatibility, and especially if it is intentional and planned, the fact the feature has been dropped AND "how to do it now" or the "recommended work around" should be discussed somewhere under ://localhost:631/help

Unfortunately, the old section "Autoconfiguration using CUPS Browsing" has been silently deleted in CUPS 1.6. I spent hours reading the documentation before finally doing side by side comparison of old and new, and noticing the differences in localhost:631/help/sharing.html on my different systems.

[After writing the following, I have found "CUPS Browse Protocol" in the "Specifications, but my points are still mostly valid]
And I still don't know what CUPS "Browsing" means, except it is missing in 1.6 and my Mac running Lion works and my Mac running Mountain Lion doesn't work. After a few weeks of trying to get it work, I now understand (in the cups help world lingo) that "server" refers to the machine the printer is connected to, and "client" means another computer on the network that wishes to print [[and that clients need to know about servers; one way this can be done is by servers periodically broadcasting "I'm a server, and here is a list of my printers" and clients constantly listening, but I can think of much better ways (clients broadcast an inquiry (when user clicks on "add printer"..., in startup file,...)  but browsing doesn't sound like something both clients and servers would do).]] But I am already getting off topic, except there is no good way to read the help document, as a newbie I can click on "getting started" and "overview of cups", but then there is no way to know where to go next; the box on the right with semi structure and semi alphabetical is confusing and terrible; it isn't obvious where to find CUPS definitions of things like "client", "server", "cups browsing", "ipp" "auto configuration"..., normally these would be defined before being used, but there is no apparent order of the document.

Back to the original problem, adding insult to injury, at least on my Mountain Lion system (the latest OSX release from Apple), the page localhost:631/help/whatsnew.html results in what's new for 1.5, not 1.6. I'm sure this was a mistake, but the result is it FEELS like Apple is being sneaky while dropping functionality. I don't know to emphasize this, so: it FEELS like Apple is being sneaky when dropping functionality.

The help document still has a section called "Autoconfiguration using IPP" and then has a box saying "This" method of configuration does not work on OS X 10.7 and later... but doesn't say where to look to find *any* other method of auto configuration, or where to look or what how to do any configuration on OS X 10.7 and later systems. And when it says "This method..." what is it talking about, and as a server or client? The text only talks about a single spooler verses local spoolers, but I do not understand what that has to do with IPP. How many ways can one do configuration? If IPP is only one of several ways, where are the sections on the other ways?

Everything above said, the most immediate _document_ I want is one that tells me the "official" way to get things to work with cups 1.6 [installed on a Moc Mountain Lion client] with older versions of cups (1.4 in particular) on (linux) servers. If the recommended way is update the server to 1.6, fine, but then that should explicitly be in the document. If "Bonjour" or "dnssd" or whatever is how, then document what to do, and be clear about what to do where, on client vs server. [Don't tell me what to do here to get it to work in this message, I would like to discuss the documentation]

If cups 1.6 server is incompatible with previously released cups clients, ditto above, but I don't currently have that situation. I would think the usual situations would be printers are networked (which means they are really connected through a dedicated computer) or they are connected to the local machine or they are connected to old hardware in somewhere like the closet. When an individual buys a new computer or updates an old, it will most likely be a client, not a server.

Finally, I understand software systems are complex, especially when dealing with networks of different OS's with [in]compatibilities and such, it can be difficult and I appreciate the work that has been done. Usually there is far more work to do than people and time available. I really do appreciate it, but my recent experience make me feel I need to give feedback, sometimes only the squeaky wheel get the grease. Thank you.

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