Ask AFP548 January 23, 2005 at 3:40 pm

Simple Print Accounting System for Mac OS X Server

A customer of ours needs to implement a simple accounting system for their printers. They are using a Mac OS X Server as a printserver for the users. That seems to work ok, but the problem is that there is no kind of accounting system. Neither the admin nor the users have any ideas of the users’ present quota situation.

Browsing the web we found two solutions; NINja seems to be overkill and PyKota doesn’t seem to be easy to implement.
Any ideas of easier solutions? A daily script thats gathers info from the appropriate logs and NetInfo records and puts it into a database would do fine.

No Comments

  • I don’t think Pykota is difficult to implement. Especially since Apple is shifting
    Printer serving to CUPS and the way pykota integrates with CUPS, you have
    absolutely no problem.

    Yes, the first implementation requires some thoughts and tricks, but once
    you get over it, the system is very good….

  • I use "Check Print Quota X" at a client. It allows the users to check themselves how many pages they have printed, and how many they have left. It’s a simple cgi-script that’s easily modified if you want to change the output.

  • We use scripts that parse printer logs and write the information to FMP
    databases. The scripts are written in FMP, and read in Panther Server log files
    as well as Windows 2000 log files (that are exported with dumpel). It’s been
    refined over the years and works pretty well. Our problems are that we use it
    to actually charge people’s accounts (also stored in FMP). It gets complicated
    when you try and disable someone’s printing privilieges or stop them from
    going negative. We also don’t see what size page they print to or whether
    they print color or black and white. Printing black and white to the color
    printer costs (and looks) the same as actually printing color.

    We’re currently looking into bigger systems that will keep online accounts and
    take cards, cash, and coin. CMSDiginet, PrinterOn, and VendPrint are all
    products we’ve looked into.

  • don’t use the Mac OS X Server print server. It’s crap anyway. Just use CUPS
    and then you can use the /private/var/log/cups/page_log file to extract
    accounting information.

    I have a VERY crude applescript up that does this at:

    It’s not the best, particularly on the shell side, but it does work reasonably
    well, and should be a good starting point.

    John C. Welch Writer/Analyst Mac and other opinions
    [email protected]

  • PrintingWorks is an open-source print accounting system.

    Kind Regards,
    The Lucid Team.

    Lucid Information Systems

    Information, Processing, Storage and Backup.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.