System Administration Madness

This weekend our wireless router went on the fritz, so I replaced it. Naturally, this turned into a multi-day, hair-pulling ordeal.

First, the new wireless box did not play well with the DSL router. For some reason, it was apparently programmed with an extra error check, so I couldn’t get its built-in DHCP server to hand out addresses on the same network as the DSL server, even though I configured them to handle different ranges. The old wireless handled this just fine… grrr.

So, I subnetted, using Great! Everything is working. Except…

Elyn couldn’t print any more. Looking in the logs I saw the dreaded client-error-not-found. My searches yielded nothing worthwhile — am I unusually bad at searching, or is there just little information out there?

First, I changed the machine attached to the printer to have a (local) static IP. It’s been a long time since I did this kind of thing (I switched to NetworkManager as early as possible), and so this took a while. (I didn’t find a man page describing the ifcfg files — is there one?) A static IP let me hard-code the IP address on Elyn’s Mac without worrying that a reboot would invalidate her configuration.

Oh, BTW — setting up a new printer is a great example of a place where the Mac’s vaunted GUI is not so hot. For one thing, as far as I can tell, you can’t edit an existing printer — you have to delete it and start over. I got really good at typing “”.

It turns out that having a default printer configured in CUPS was not enough to let the Mac print properly. I don’t know whether this is a bug on the Mac or a bug in the CUPS in F8 — I saw requests in the log for “ipp://“, but then CUPS would return the not-found error, and the print job would fail.

In the end I hit upon telling the Mac that the printer queue name was “printers/Name” (“Name” being the name of the printer), and this worked… I think this is amazingly obscure.

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  • There is some documentation about ifcg files in /usr/share/doc/initscripts-*/sysconfig.txt

  • Duh! Somehow I never remember to look in /usr/share/doc when it matters 🙁

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