Join Sean Colins for an in-depth discussion in this video Delivering packages and configuring printers, part of Imaging and Deploying Macintosh Computers.
Managing printers in a modular deployment model is much more complicated than it is to manage printers in a monolithic model. In a modular model, you remember that you do not have the ability to preinstall your printer drivers or to pre-select which printers will be available to your users. So you have to find a way to do that by some other means. The printer drivers are your first problem because you want those to be preinstalled on the systems so that people don't have to install their own printer drivers when they first try to set up printers, if you're allowing them to do that.
In order to do that, you can get your printer drivers from the printer manufacturers, usually in a installer package or .pkg format. In which case, you simply install them just as you would an application as I described previously. You may also be able to drag and drop PPD files into the correct folder in the file system and that's one way of getting around that. Another option is to grab all of the printer drivers you need, as you would in the monolithic system, on some other system, and then capture all of the files that have changed on your file system after you have installed the correct printer drivers from, say, for example, Apple using Software Update.
And then redistribute those in that fashion so that you don't have to constantly do that. Another good option would be to install a caching server on your network. Again, this is another way of using OS X Server. And allow OS X Server to cache all of those printer drivers and applications, etc., in the caching service, so that they can then be redistributed quickly and easily whenever people need to set up a printer on a case-by-case basis. That's a nice way to be efficient as well. And that being said, you do need to figure out how you're going to allow people to define printers.
One way is to simply allow people to define their own printers. That's perfectly acceptable. Standard users can't do that unless they have been added, their user accounts have been added to something called the lpadmin group, which is not a group that's by default in Mac OS X. But you can add a system group called lpadmin and then add your users to that, and then standard users that are in that group will be allowed to manage printers. Or you could simply make your users administrative users. That would be fine as well. And then they can manage the printers all they want.
This is a nice way to empower your users, allow them to define the printers in the environment, and then you simply leave it up to them. But if you're going to be managing it for them, one really great alternative is to use an OS X Server using Profile Manager and simply send out the printers that you want each device to use in the area where they are. So, if you have, say a department with ten computers that are close to a printer resource in that area, you would know that and you could manage those in device groups based on their geography within the office.
So those are a couple of thoughts on how to define both the printers and to preinstall the printer drivers for your users in a modular imaging environment
- Exploring the monolithic and modular imaging methodologies
- Working with Fusion Drives and Recovery partitions
- Ensuring physical security and installing a firmware password
- Choosing source hardware
- Installing apps
- Building a complete monolithic master for imaging
- Deploying apps and accounts in a modular master system
- Building a base master
- Performing hard-drive-to-hard-drive imaging
- Exploring VLANs
- Performing network-to-network imaging
- Deploying using NetInstall or DeployStudio across a network