I keep my main home Mac in my family room, so in order to avoid (OK, reduce) computer clutter, I keep my printers in the basement. For us, it makes a lot of sense. We don’t actually print things that often, and besides the room they take up, printers are noisy — especially our black and white laser printer.

The printers are shared from an old beige G3 PowerMac tower, which doesn’t support Mac OS X past 10.2. The G3 also hosts a personal FTP and website, and has an external FireWire drive attached for backups.

This arrangement has worked great for years — the G3 is rock-solid and the monitor is usually kept off, so the whole system doesn’t draw much power.

After upgrading our main Mac (a dual-2GHz G5 PowerMac) to Leopard over the weekend, though, I was surprised to find that it could not see the shared printers, even though it could see the G3 itself just fine. I fired up an old iBook that was still running Tiger and confirmed that it could see the printers, so it definitely seemed like a Leopard issue.

Doing a lot of searching turned up some posts on Apple’s Support Discussion boards about the issue. Apparently, Leopard drops the CUPS protocol and uses only Rendezvous. The older Macs, obviously, share printers via CUPS, making them invisible to Leopard. The answer, provided by several posters, was to edit the configuration file used by Leopard’s built-in CUPS server, to look for printers using all protocols, not just Rendezvous.

It’s a pretty geeky solution, but it worked for both of my Leopard-upgraded Macs. Although it’s probably not an issue for many users, it’s impact could be pretty major for those who are affected. The way the Mac community not only found, but came up with a way to address the issue so quickly, is very impressive.