4 Feb 2016
When I first got my ACER C720 chromebook, at the time it was a secondary pc used primarily for entertainment, general surfing and basic social media.
As time has passed, my Windows based machines seemed to have aged poorly with the windows operating system. Neither of them, in spite of valiant efforts are nearly as zippy as they used to be.
So, I finally put it on my list to attempt to use the chromebook as my primary system.
Key to doing that is providing a means to print directly from the chromebook. It doesn’t have drivers for directly passing your print jobs to a network printer. In order to make it happen, I have to pursue getting Google Cloud Print setup permanently.
A little background, I’ve used Google Cloud Print (GCP) in the past, only it was through Windows or Linux machines using the Chrome or Chromium extensions. The shortcoming to this? Power down a machine and no connection. Then the GCP Chromium extension support ended.
So I turned to Raspberry PI with a version of Debian called Raspbian. If you don’t know what one is, check this link out. They aren’t hugely expensive, they are very low energy and they can run linux. And I happened to free up an old one. The goal was to set it up as a headless device (no dedicated display, keyboard or mouse).
Now it required two key parts to be installed correctly: CUPS and GCP connector.
CUPS (Common Unix Print System) is used in linux machines as a print server. I already had a working version of CUPS on the Raspberry PI with Raspbian OS thanks to this link.
Fortunately Google came up with a different answer to support all those linux machines scattered the world over. It’s called a Google Cloud Print Connector for CUPS. The downside is that it’s not a simple point and click and you’re done.
Here is the link that I used.
Of the options, this was the simplest and most elegant. I had challenges with keystroke errors in files and ensuring that I moved files to the directories they needed to be for the GCP CUPS Connector files to kick off at start up. You have to read through the files you create to make sure files are in the correct directories. A little trial and error with stare and compare and I had it worked out.
As the instructions said it will “will result in sharing all printers on your CUPS server with Chrome, on the local subnet (mDNS broadcast domain) only.” Don’t expect to see the printer to appear in the Google Cloud Print available printers and the print jobs won’t be logged or copied either. The only way I was able to confirm the CUPS printer was actually available was by attempting to go through the print function and clicking ‘change’ to see what other printer options were available.
There is the added option to configure using GCP from any location anywhere at this link, but I ruled it out for myself. I see it’s purpose. It would be especially handy if you could use it with a vpn connected pc, but it’s more than I need at this time.