If you’ve ever had the “pleasure” of configuring and sharing a printer between Windows machines, you probably know how tedious it is to get one machine to send a print job to the printer connected to another machine. And don’t even get me started on how to do that on a Linux machine, or any mix of these two systems.
Ever since I migrated from Windows to Mac, I had been avoiding the printer sharing thing. The Ethernet printerserver I bought in my PC days only came with Windows bloatware, so that was a no-go. The Epson Stylus 915 worked nicely, connected with USB to my Mac Mini, so I had no need to solve that problem. My wife however still has a Windows laptop, and every now and then she would send me documents by mail which I then would print for her. Not ideal, but it saved me the stress and trouble of struggling with Windows to get it to talk to a Mac printer.
Today I discovered that I had it all wrong. Apple makes this wonderful little (2MB) piece of software called Bonjour for Windows which solved the whole printer sharing thing I had been putting off in about 6 mouseclicks! Share the printer on the Mac (about 2 clicks), download and install Bonjour on the Windows (about 2 clicks), and run the Printer wizzard that shows up (also 2 clicks). I had a Windows Testpage rolling out the printer before I knew it!
What a good friend pointed out on the phone was something I hadn’t realized: “See, you can actually make good software running on Windows, and it doesn’t have to come on 4 DVD’s. It’s just that they don’t care”. Well, Apple does care, and they did a brilliant job at it. Small package, simple interface, no fuss, just works, and is good looking too.
I’m very happy I did this, and in fact I’m going to print another testpage, just for the fun of it. On my Apple I am used to be able to edit video, audio, photo’s and all at the same time. On Windows I’m glad I can print a testpage. See the difference? (for insiders: at work I’m glad to be able to receive a phonecall 😉