Debugging Facetwin Remote Printing Connections
Posted by Dirk Hart
I got a call today from one of my customers complaining that
their remote printer was no longer printing. "What changed?", I
asked. "Nothing at all!", she replied in her charming southern
drawl, "It just stopped printing!". Well, I suppose some folks
would have me believe that gremlins come around in the night and
reconfigure their PCs, but I'm not buying it. There's plenty of
stuff around here that needs reconfiguring and I don't see any of
Well, the first thing to do is look in the
/usr/facetwin/fct_pipes directory. With Facetwin, remote print jobs
are sent to a pipe and if there is data waiting to be sent to a
remote pc the filesize associated with that pc will be non-zero.
Which it was.
Next, we checked to see if the remote printing daemon was still
running. I typed in ps -ef|grep remprt and got back something that
root 459 1 0 Sep-19 ? 00:00:00
/usr/facetwin/sys/fct_remprt -f /usr/facetwin/printers/fct_shipping
I could see that was still running so I begain to wonder if the
PC really was connected to the network or perhaps those rascally
gremlins had changed the PCs NETBIOS name.. I changed directories
to /usr/facetwins/printers and looked in the file corresponding to
the troubled printer: more fct_shipping. I saw the name of the PC
handling remote printing was warehouse so I typed in fct_name
warehouse and got this reply.
# fct_name warehouse
Name to resolve: warehouse
Querying on: WAREHOUSE <00>
Query of local WINS at 127.0.0.1 ... SUCCESS,
IP address = 192.168.0.164
Broadcast query ... SUCCESS,
IP address = 192.168.0.164
GetHostByName(warehouse) ... FAILED
I could see that warehouse was indeed on the net and that
because warehouse was not defined in /etc/hosts the GetHostByName
query had failed. Not an issue, since DHCP is used at this site we
can't be expected to keep /etc/hosts both populated and
Now since the PC was on the network I began to wonder if maybe
those gremlins had renamed the printer share or maybe unshared it,
so I typed in fct_client which is a command that present a kind of
shell. One of the commands in the fct_client shell is lshare and
it's job is to show all the local shares resources on the PC that
are shared. It is supposed to look like this:
Enter "help" or "?" for list of commands
fct_client: \> lshare warehouse
Sharename Type Comment
instead it just stopped responding after I typed in lshare
warehouse. That PC wasn't responding to queries. So what we had was
a PC properly connected to the network but not responding to
queries. I was starting to have suspicions. I entered telnet
192.168.0.164 139 hoping to connect port 139 but there was no
response. I pinged the PC: ping 192.168.0.164 without success
I directed the customer to turn off the Interet Connection
Firewall on that Windows XP machine (Start-->Control
Panel-->Network Connections, Right Click Local Area Network,
choose Properties then the Advanced tab).
I was a bit surprised to learn this didn't start things even
though it is a necessary step. Perusing the System Tray showed that
there was also a personal firewall installed. We disabled this and
enjoyed remote printing for the rest of the day.
Those installed Windows XP Service Pack 2 should be aware that
this can enable the Internet Connection Firewall
Facetwin Command used:
fct_name warehouse checks to see if warehouse is connected.
fct_name -a warehouse shows which services are enabled
fct_client shows share name
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© 2011-03-08 Dirk Hart