Common UNIX Printing System – CUPS
“There is currently no universal standard for printing. Several protocols are in use, but each has limited applicability and none can be considered the prevalent one. This means that printer vendors have to implement and support a number of different protocols and protocol variants. There is a need to define a protocol which can cover the most common situations for printing on the Internet.”
“The Internet Printing Protocol is a client-server type protocol which should allow the server side to be either a separate print server or a printer with embedded networking capabilities.”
As IPP is a standard, CUPS is able to share and access printers from and to most modern operating systems and devices. Its auto-detection of IPP servers features may help you a lot while setting up new workstations.
This article was first written in October 2003 for the BeezNest technical website (http://glasnost.beeznest.org/articles/78)