I’m stuck in one of those loops where both the OS vendor and the peripheral vendor point the finger at one over a basic incompatibility, leaving the customer stranded.
A few months ago, I bought a USB Brother HL-1440 laser printer on the recommendation of a local Mac outlet. The printer prints perfectly from the PowerMac it’s attached to. And thanks to Rendezvous, the printer shows up automatically on my wife’s machine (which is also OS X 10.2.2). But when she goes to send a print job, the fun stops. Her Print Center displays the incredibly helpful error message “IPP0: Undefined Error” and the job never materializes.
A little poking around indicates that this is a problem in the CUPS layer, although no mention of it appears in the Apple Knowledge Base. I posted to the Apple support forums and found a few other people with the same problem, but no Apple employees have responded there.
When an Apple store opened up in Emeryville, I stood in line at the Genius Bar to get some answers. Their response: It has to be a problem with the printer driver, and I should contact Brother. This made no sense to me, since A) The driver works perfectly on the local machine and B) My impression had been that any USB printer with a working driver should be shareable via Rendezvous. I didn’t believe that the printer vendor had to write sharing support into the driver - that should be handled by the CUPS and Rendezvous layers.
Nevertheless, I contacted Brother’s tech support. Their response was that my printer did not have Rendezvous support - they’re talking about something different here - I don’t care about built-in Rendezvous, but about USB printer sharing. They said there was nothing else I could do but contact Apple.
I went back to the Genius bar and told them Brother had sent me right back to Apple. This time the Genius acknowledged that it should work, that the driver doesn’t need any kind of special support. But he did not have any theories as to why printer sharing doesn’t work on my home network (static IPs, in case you’re curious).
So for the past three months, my wife has only been able to print by copying documents to my machine first, and printing from there. She wonders why we didn’t just get Windows machines, because this kind of thing “just works” with Windows (ouch!). Brother can’t help me. Apple can’t help me. It seems clear to me that this is a problem in Rendezvous and/or CUPS, but I can’t get Apple to acknowledge that there is even a problem. I would be more than happy to provide debug logs or anything else they require. But I can’t even get through to Apple without purchasing AppleCare (I refuse to pay to talk to someone about their own bugs).
The situation is absurd. Apple is a premium brand, and we pay top dollar for Apple solutionsin part because of their reputation for superior usability. If Apple can’t deliver that, and if they persist in charging for support on their own bugs, they’re sunk.