In praise of simplicity

I had a customer this week with odd network problems. I’m not sure yet that we’ve found all of it, but some of it was a funky nameserver in resolv.conf. I don’t know what else is going on, but printing wasn’t working.

They were using HP printers and as this was an old SCO box, hpnp printing.
That’s the binaries and scripts that HP did for that platform and they were not working. For a quick test, I replaced them with “netcat” and printing worked.

The problem with the HP stuff is that it’s complicated.  It wants to check and double check that the printers are ready before it sends anything.  Netcat just blasts the bytes out, hell or high water.

That’s why it always works unless there just is no network or if the printer itself is broken.  That philosophy makes sense to me:  have at it, because if it doesn’t work, somebody will complain very quickly – it’s not like nobody will notice!   HP treats this like it’s unattended work that needs double-checking and logging.  That could be necessary in a very large network but even then I can’t see it because large networks will have full time admins who can and will do all the tests anyway!


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