Anyone who's ever been frustrated using fax machines, e-mail attachments or overnight mail to get a computer-generated document into someone else's hands may be intrigued by the idea of long-range printing over the Internet, which Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard are turning into a reality.
The two companies announced yesterday that they will offer a beta version of Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) 1.0 as a native component of the third beta release of Microsoft's Windows 2000 Professional and Server operating systems. Furthermore, Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition users can download a final version of the related Internet Printing Services client.
IPP allows print jobs to be sent to any printer connected to the Internet. The standard offers a new alternative to traveling professionals who need to remain in contact with home offices, or anyone who needs to share information quickly over long distances, according to the two companies.
Microsoft and HP banded together to support the development of IPP version 1.0, which the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has approved as a standard. They have also taken part in the Printer Working Group (PWG), a consortium of major printing-related companies.
Customers interested in obtaining a copy of the third beta release of Windows 2000, containing the beta version of IPP, can join Microsoft's Corporate Preview Program at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/preview/order.asp. Final versions of Internet Printing Services for Windows 98 or Windows 95 can be downloaded at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com, or at http://www.microsoft.com/windows95/downloads, respectively.