Printing issues on Mac OS X

People have been having problems configuring printing on Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther). Some are having success by running a fixup script.

My problems were a bit different, and I'm posting this to help out anyone else trying to connect to old legacy LPD servers. I'm trying to print to an old NeXT printer on a NeXT workstation. This worked great with Jaguar, but Panther makes a configuration change to the Mac OS X CUPS printing engine that stops it from working in the default configuration.

You get an attempt to connect, followed quickly by the "red stop sign with exclamation point" icon.

After a few hours of searching, I've come up with the reason why. With Panther, the CUPS printing system no longer uses a reserved port when connecting to the NeXT lpd, and the NeXT lpd requires that inbound connections come from a reserved port. Solving this problem is as simple as configuring Panther to use a reserved port... simple if you know the incantation to do that.

Do the following:

  1. In the "Printer Setup Utility" on Panther, hold down the option key as you click the 'Add' button.
  2. Select the 'Advanced' item from the pull down at the top.
  3. Select 'LPD/LPR Host or Printer' from the next pull down
  4. Enter the name you want for the printer in device name
  5. The URL will have four parts, all smushed together with no spaces and appropriate slashes:
    So, for example, I have a queue called zyblor on my NeXT box at, so I use the following URL:

That's all there is to it.

For those out there getting started for the first time with printing to NeXT printers, don't forget that there is some configuration to do on the NeXT side:

  1. Share the printer
  2. Make sure all print clients are known to the NeXT computer. The simplest way to do that is to make sure they have /machine entries in Netinfo.

By Colin Henein