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Multifunction copiers in a Linux network

In many organizations, copiers get little respect. Often relegated to a break room or storage closet, they are underutilized and underappreciated, and get no attention from the IT department. Yet, multifunction copiers can play a critical role in reducing operating costs and become a hub for document processing.

Many modern multifunction devices support Windows, Macs, and Unix/Linux drivers and printing protocols. They also offer scanning to email or to disk, can search an LDAP directory, and optionally support faxing. In fact, most use a generic PC architecture, complete with a motherboard, Intel or AMD processor, and an internal hard disk. They are in most ways massive (roughly 200 kilograms each) PC-based servers with an integrated high-speed scanner and printer.

While my direct experience is based on deploying more than 20 Ricoh copiers, you'll find that Canon, Toshiba, and Xerox products all have similar capabilities.

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