Isn't it great when sometimes things just work? I think CUPS is one of these things. It took me a week with Solaris to finally understand that the reason my parallel printer wouldn't work is because even the parallel port didn't. Well, whatever.
Just installed Debian (from the 180 MB netinstall), selected “print server” as the basic package selection, pushed some buttons, watched some TV.
Configured networking (/etc/network/interfaces) and added the printer:
lpadmin -p DeskJet -v parallel:/dev/lp0 -P /usr/share/ppd/HP/HP-DeskJet_890C-cdj890.ppd.gz
Edited /etc/cups/cupsd.com as instructed on linuxprinting.org, “killall –HUP cupsd”. And then, like magic, “lpstat -p” on the Macs had this to say:
printer DeskJet@192.168.0.104 is idle. enabled since Jan 01 00:00
Now, I have no idea why it says the queue's enabled since Jan 01 but quite frankly, I don't care. I've successfully set up a working network printer out of basically a heap of junk (a 166Mhz Pentium and an DeskJet 890c) and it's all thanks to Free Software.
Also enabled “File server” on the Debian box package selection and AFP works right out of the box! Nice.