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Implement print quotas via Pcounter

Project ID: 
Current stage: 

Description: Electrical Engineering use a system based on Pcounter to implement accounting - and charging - for printing in their Linux student labs. This project will investigate whether it's feasible to copy EE's solution in order to provide printer accounting and/or charging in all Informatics student labs.


  1. Evaluation: A brief report summarizing how EE's system works, and - based on a test deployment - assessing its suitability for use within Informatics.
  2. Implementation: If the decision is then taken to proceed with the system, then the full provision of this same system for printing in all Informatics student labs.

Customer: School of Informatics student labs.

Case statement:

At present, printing within Informatics is provided free-of-charge to students, and with no quotas applied.

However, the amount of printing now being done by students in the labs appears to be excessive, and there are concerns that students are printing out material which is not relevant to their coursework. The printing of large jobs also causes problems for other users who are forced to wait for printers to become available. The conclusion is that the need for a print quota (and charging) system is becoming more urgent.

Though the longer-term plan has always been to implement print quotas via Pykota (see Project 88), the current project potentially offers a way to achieve the same goal more quickly, and with less effort.




Priority: Low - but the current excessive use being made of the printers in the labs may increase the priority.

Time: One week's effort has been allocated for this project.





  1. Contact EE and obtain details of their implementation.
  2. Attempt to replicate the EE implementation in the DICE environment.
  3. Assess the results of that attempt, and produce a brief report summarizing the conclusions.
  4. If the decision is taken to proceed with the implementation, then do so, across all teaching labs.

Dependencies: Knowledge of the School's CUPS setup.

Risks: Use of Pcounter as planned will require a reliance on the printing infrastucture provided by IS. Dealing with IS will also be necessary in any test phase and may introduce delays.


Proposed date Achieved date Name Description
2010-10-18 2010-10-15 1.0 Obtain details of EE's Pcounter deployment.
2010-11-05 2010-10-30 2.0 Assess suitability of EE implementation for DICE environment; if appropriate set up a test system within Informatics.
2006-12-06 2010-11-05 3.0 Issue report on findings of the evaluation.
2011-02-01 2010-11-20 4.0 If the decision is taken to implement the system in all student labs, arrange for this.
2012-08-01 5.0 Signoff.
2011-05-31 2011-05-31 4a Create LCFG header file for kerberised print server
2011-09-01 2011-06-20 4b Provide web interface for kerberised printing
2011-09-01 2011-06-20 4c Create necessary pcounter print queues
2011-09-01 2011-07-08 4d Introduce Kerberised print server using pcounter queues (but not as yet charging) for AT lab printers
2011-09-19 2011-09-19 4e Introduce charging
2012-07-04 4f Introduce mechanisms for monitoring of and deletion from IS queues