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Novell Distributed Print Services (NDPS)

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Novell Distributed Print Services™ (NDPS®) is a set of NetWare Loadable Modules (NLMs), administrative and user tools, and enhanced client software that reduces the inconveniences of managing network printers. With NDPS, printer administrative tasks are performed from within NetWare® Administrator (NWAdmin), and you can complete any management task for those printers by opening a single Novell eDirectory object.

Also, NDPS users can easily print to printers without having to capture ports or manually load printer drivers. In addition, users can check the status and characteristics of printers on the network.


  • Simplify your network's print services architecture
  • Simplify management of network printing
  • Install printers to the network easily
  • Provide real-time printer and job status and information
  • Enjoy comprehensive remote management
  • Send printer and job information through e-mail, NetWare popup, and log files
  • Install printers to users' desktop configurations automatically, including driver download
  • Provide more user control over printing
  • Reduce network traffic
  • Enjoy compatibility with your current printers and clients
  • Develop third-party printing services with the included set of APIs
  • Print over pure IP networks
  • Support IPP and LPR/LPD

Simplify Your Network's Print Services Architecture

Once the NDPS NLMs are installed on a server and the NDPS client components are installed on a Windows NT 4.0, Windows 95/98, or Windows 3.1 workstation, you can create a printer agent—a software representation of a printer—for every printer on your network.

The NDPS client communicates with printers through printer agents, which are at the core of the NDPS architecture. A printer agent has information about the printer it represents, including the printer's name, network address, features, status, and job information. Printer agents also have access to printer configurations: the method the printer should use to schedule print jobs, where its jobs should be spooled, and whether to notify anyone of particular printer events such as low toner, paper jams, and so on.

Server-based printer agents use printer gateways to communicate with the legacy printers they represent. NDPS ships with the Novell Gateway, the Hewlett-Packard Gateway, the Xerox Printer Gateway, Axis Gateway, Epson Gateway, Extended Systems Gateway, Kyocera Gateway, Lexmark Gateway and Tektronics Gateway. Other printer manufactures are developing printer gateways that will be released soon.

Figure 1: With NDPS, a workstation running NDPS-enhanced client software sends a print job to a printer agent. The printer agent then passes the job to a printer gateway, which forwards the job to the printer.

Simplify Management of Network Printing

The NDPS snap-in module for NWAdmin extends the eDirectory schema by adding the NDPS Printer object, new tools, and menus for managing your printers. With the NDPS snap-in you can set up and manage all of the printers on your network from your workstation or any other workstation on your network.

NDPS makes managing print jobs easier and more cost-effective by allowing you to use NWAdmin to create one eDirectory object for a printer: the NDPS Printer Object. For example, NDPS eliminates the need to create and link three eDirectory objects (the Print Queue, Printer Server, and Printer Object) for each printer you install. With NDPS you can also create one or more printer configurations for NDPS printers.

Install Printers to the Network Easily

Using the NWAdmin snap-in module, you can install NDPS printers, create printer agents, and configure printer gateways. Most of the OEMs supporting NDPS provide an NLM to automatically create printer agents for the printers discovered on the network, thus enabling plug and print for network printers.

Provide Real-Time Printer and Job Status and Information

The NDPS Printer Control Page (figure 2) shows you the printer status and its display console, which allows remote management of the printer. Additionally, to enhance your printer management options, you can replace the NDPS Printer Control Page with software specific to the make and model of your printer.

Send Printer and Job Information through E-mail, NetWare Popup, and Log Files

NDPS printers can notify users or administrators of important job and printer events via e-mail (GroupWise, MHS, and SMTP), NetWare Popup, or log files. With this timely notification, administrators can deal with printer issues quickly and effectively.

Install Printers to Users' Desktop Configurations Automatically, Including Driver Download

You can configure NDPS to automatically install printer agents to users' desktops when they log in. Also, NDPS allows you to automatically download printer drivers, set the default printer, and remotely install printers to users' desktops.

NetWare printer control
Figure 2: A Printer object's Printer Control page in NWAdmin

Provide More User Control Over Printing

NDPS makes it easier for users to select printers and print to them from their workstations. The user can browse for and add NDPS printers from the Windows printer control panel. The selected printer is installed automatically; the user does not need to capture the printer to a port or manually install a printer driver.

In the Windows printer control panel, users can customize printer configurations for any printer installed on their workstations. For example, a user may want to create and save a configuration that prints three copies of a weekly report with a cover page on each copy. Users can also specify the types of printing events of which they want to be notified, as well as how they want to receive that notification.

Additionally, users can view printer and job status. If a user finds that the urgent job just sent is behind too many other jobs, NDPS enables the user to move or copy that job to any other printer using NWAdmin.

Reduce Network Traffic

When new printers are added to a network, they typically begin advertising their availability through the Service Advertising Protocol (SAP). This advertising continues as long as the printer is active, unnecessarily adding to network traffic. With NDPS, printers and other network services can register themselves with a new network registry service being released with NDPS: Service Registry Service (SRS).

Only SRS uses SAP to advertise its availability, conserving bandwidth by eliminating the need for individual printers and network services to use SAP. NDPS clients and printers access SRS to locate the printers and services they need. Because printers no longer use SAP, network bandwidth is available for more important traffic.

Enjoy Compatibility with Your Current Printers and Clients

By allowing any printer to function in an NDPS environment, NDPS enhances the functionality of printers that do not have bidirectional communication capabilities. For example, NDPS can respond to client queries regarding a printer's type and characteristics such as whether it can print double-sided copies.

Develop Third-Party Printing Services with the Included Set of APIs

NDPS includes a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) you can use to develop services such as precise accounting of printing information, automatic document conversion, and printer load sharing.

Novell will soon release a Software Developer Kit (SDK) you can use to embed printer agents in printer hardware. Novell has already released an SDK for both developing NDPS gateways, NWAdmin snap-in modules, and writing NDPS-enabled specifications.

Print over Pure IP Networks

NDPS is protocol independent and works equally well in IP and IPX networks, thus allowing NetWare printing to function on pure IP networks.

Supports IPP and LPR/LPD

NDPS provides connectivity for most client platforms by supporting the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) and LPR/LPD. Using open standards allows network administrators all of the ease of managing NDPS printers while still making the printers available to users on a variety of client platforms.

Ordering Information

NDPS is available with NetWare 5™. For more information contact your local Novell office or call the Novell Customer Response Center at 800-529-3400 (toll-free) or 801-861-1329.

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