[Desktop_printing] Usability: Printing roles, tasks and environments

Johannes Meixner jsmeix at suse.de
Wed Mar 8 03:05:58 PST 2006


On Mar 7 14:00 Ellen Reitmayr wrote (shortened):
> I've just gone through the printing roles as stated in RFC 3805. The
> information in the beginning of the document was very useful to get an
> idea of how printers work, and seeing the roles being split into single
> units was also a valuable information. After all, a home user needs to
> take these roles over by himself!

In several other discussions about "printing" I found out that
a lot of misunderstanding and endless confusion was caused
by a non-pedantic usage of the word "user".
There ar so may meanings of the word "user" that it is crucial
to be pedantic about its meaning.
For example it is totally unclear what the following means:
"Let the user set up his printer!"

See for example RFC 3805, there is
"system manager", "printer operator", "asset manager", and "user"
but unfortunately even this RFC doesn't define what exactly
a "user" is but one can guess that it means "unprivileged user".

I would like to suggest the following definitions
(perhaps there are much better definitions in some RFC?):
"printer" means the hardware which actually prints

"filter" means the set of programs which produce printer-specific
data (the filter includes the printer-specific printer driver)  

"queue" means the representation of a printer in a computer
which includes a printer-specific filter setup

"person" means a human who works with the computer

"user", "admin" and "root" mean representations of a person
in a computer

"user" means an unprivileged user - i.e. when the person does
not know an admin or root password

"root" means the user with unlimited privileges - i.e. when the
person knows the root password

"admin" means a special privileged user who can set up queues
i.e. when the person knows the admin password

With pedantic definitions in mind have again a look at
"Let the user set up his printer!"
What exactly does it mean?

Should any unprivileged user be allowed to do any printing admin
stuff and set up or change any queue?

Or does it mean that any unprivileged user can run a setup tool
which asks for an appropriate password and then set up a queue
only for local connected printers (i.e. for "his printer")
but not for network printers (what does "his printer" mean?).

Kind Regards
Johannes Meixner
SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, Maxfeldstrasse 5      Mail: jsmeix at suse.de
90409 Nuernberg, Germany                    WWW: http://www.suse.de/

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