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bugzilla bug 308173 should be reconsidered after 10 years (printer selection mechanism, ignores default printer)
In Firefox 1.5, a developer was having problems with a network printer going offline causing him to have to change the default printer often. Because he really only needed it to work in the product he was QAing he patched Firefox for Windows to set it to the last used printer. There have been a few DUPEs since then, and some chatter in the support forums from people who thought their printer drivers were broken, and I've just seen this "why can't I print from this webpage?" question popup in the field, where they had accidentally selected presumably by keyboard input a virtual printer instead of the real one.
Windows now tells you if the printer is offline anyway.
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Have you tried toggling print.save_print_settings to false? iirc, that pref controls whether "last used" is the 'default' in Firefox printer settings or not.
Cross-browser compatibility for the print code, so how Windows handles printing isn't necessarily the 'rule'. Drove me nuts back in 2002-2003 when I first was using Firefox (called Phoenix at that time).
It did not seem to be cross-platform at the time of the bug's making. I tested it with the latest beta and while it seems to be drastically changed/improved with a print preview prior to you pressing the print button, it still uses the system print.
FWIW, Chrome uses its own printing subsystem but still allows you to use the system print dialog which I always do. Mac OS X allows you to set globally whether you wish to use the last used printer. It just seems like we should ping the printer for availability, check its online/offline status or we should use the default.
One early bug I helped QA had a developer admonish me "We should be like Notepad." In other words, we should obey the Windows API spec. After that, it's on them.
Thanks for your help. I'll try that.
would we consider editing https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/fix-printing-problems-firefox
Probably not necessary, but since you are a contributor, I thought I'd mention it. I have "seen" two cases now where the concept of a default printer or printer selection was not understood by the end user.
Documented here somewhat indirectly : https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-print-web-pages-firefox#w_printing-a-web-page
Scroll down a bit to "Print window settings" then a bit further. when using Firefox on Windows to view Note: The default printer is the Windows one. When a web page is printed with the selected printer, it becomes the new default printer.
The preference I mentioned allows the user to disable the "saving" of the 'last used' as the new default. When 'disabled' I suppose that the system default would be used all the time; but I have never used that preference myself.
sending you a PM with more info