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Managing the printing environment of computing facilities is challenging. In addressing this issue, we have developed a distributed network printing system to authenticate and authorize print jobs with a flexible page accounting model.

There are several fundamental reasons to adopt a printing management system: to regulate the expense of printing millions of pages; to provide accurate statistics and information facilitating printing related purchase planning, expansion planning, budget allocation, and upgrades; to provide a reliable monitoring system for effective system administration; and to reduce overall waste, abuse, and environmetal impact of printed pages.

Conceptually the NINJa solution begins with a release station kiosk atop each printer. A user sends a job to the printer, which then appears on the kiosk display. To print, the user selects his/her job from the queue and authenticates. If the user is authorized to print, the job is printed, and the user's printing quota is deducted.

Some of the design goals of the NINJa printing system: Easily maintainable; scalable to 100+ printers; built on a distributed model; pluggable and use of open standards; database backend; support of credit card on-line transactions.

What makes NINJa unique? The phrase "print server" is often interpreted to be a machine that processes print jobs from various clients and forwards them to printers. NINJa changes that model by giving each printer a print server which doubles as a release station client. The release station/server is a remote boot station that downloads its image from a central server. Additionally, to do the accounting, the NINJa station communicates with a separate page control server.

NINJa has been built with open source and open standards in mind.


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http://www.columbia.edu/acis/dev/projects/ninja/about.shtml Sunday, 17-Oct-2004 22:58:49 EDT