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REMOTE PRINTER SPOOLER HELP FILE
Scott Mcclure ESI
The remote printer spooler is a method to transfer print queue files
between TOPS-20 machines using DECNET. It is activated by using the
/DESTINATION: switch to specify the remote node where you want the file to
be sent. (Example: PRINT filename /DESTINATION:nodename::) The file is
then sent to the target machine and queued as a print file. All the normal
print switches can still be used and multiple files can be sent under a
single queue entry by using wildcards or commas between filenames.
The system is setup to queue transferred files as user REMOTE. To
facilitate identification, the real user name is added to the NOTE field
of the queue on the target machine if no other NOTE is specified.
The system consists of two parts, RMTQUE and RMTSPL. RMTQUE runs
on the source machine while RMTSPL runs on the target machine. Data is
transferred from RMTQUE to SPL using the DECNET 36-bit message format.
RMTQUE is the active portion that scans the primary master queue
file searching for a /DESTINATION: that is remote. When found, the queue
entry is transferred, and then the file(s) to be printed are transferred a
page at a time. The queue entry is then removed from the local machine.
Each transfer by RMTQUE must be acknowledged by RMTSPL or the process is
aborted and the process attempted again on the next pass.
RMTSPL remains inactive until a connection is requested by RMTQUE.
It accepts the incoming data and queues the print file when it is complete.
Then the link is closed and SPL waits for a new connection.
Queue entries are removed and inserted into the master queue file
through QUASAR using IPCF messages.
First setup a directory called PS:<REMOTE> on each machine you want
to print remote files on. Files transferred are placed here for printing
and are deleted when printing is complete. In addition, since there is no
guarantee that the username of the person making the print request will
exist on the target machine, REMOTE is used as the user name of the printed
file. As mentioned above, the actual user name is placed in the NOTE field
to aid identification.
Next, run RMTSPL and RMTQUE on each machine. There are several ways to
set this up, the only requirement being that the jobs have privilages
enabled. In our system, they run as subjobs of PTYCON and are started via
the PYTCON.ATO file. Theoretically there should be no requirement as to
which program is started first but this has not been confirmed in practice.
If there are already remote print files in the queue, there may be a
problem if QUE is started and there is no SPL on the other end to receive.
The safest bet is to start the SPL jobs first on each machine, and then
run QUE on each machine.
The system will only transfer a single page queue entry. This
results in an upper limit of about 20 files per queue request. The system
will only work with queue entry files of less than 513 pages. This has not
been found to cause any problems, but should be fixed to maintain
consistency with other DEC software.
At this time, the system is limited to TOPS-20 machines but it should
be possible to write a server for VAXes or other machines which can be
connected via DECNET.
RMTSPL's DECNET server occasionally goes into aborted status. The
program continues to run but no files are transferred. The only recovery is
to restart RMTSPL.
Another problem is caused by edit #1222 of QUASAR version 4.2(1236).
This edit was intended to retain the request id number of modified print
files. It was incomplete however and only kept the internal request number.
The external request number was still changed. This results in RMTQUE not
being able to cancel the queue entry after the file is transferred. The
request remains in the queue and is sent repeatedly until the request is
cancelled manually. DEC answered SPR #20-20479 on 2/21/85 with a patch to
correct this problem. As we have moved to TOPS-20 version 6.0, we have not
been able to confirm this.
Both programs have a debug switch to setup test versions that can be
run while the real RMTQUE and SPL programs continue to operate. The test
versions have their own server names and will only transfer files queued
for /DESTINATION:TEST::. The target node name is then changed to the real
node specified in the variable MYNODE in RMTQUE.