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Internet server enables delivery of customized print drivers without breaking digital signatures

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000199425D
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-02
Document File: 3 page(s) / 69K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This idea proposes a method to allow customization of print drivers on user's systems while avoiding the need for recertifying and obtaining a new Microsoft digital signature. At driver install time, or on a periodic basis, the driver would query a server on the Internet and download the data which has been preconfigured for the domain in which the client's IP address resides. This idea can be extended to require user identification in order to enable user dependent default driver settings. A preconfiguration tool would reside on the Internet server and would enable creation of the data needed to customize the print driver. That data would then be accessible to end user print drivers, based on specific customer information.

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Internet server enables delivery of customized print drivers without breaking digital signatures

This idea proposes a method to allow customization of print drivers on user's systems while avoiding the need for recertifying and obtaining a new Microsoft digital signature. At driver install time, or on a periodic basis, the driver would query a server on the Internet and download the data which has been preconfigured for the domain in which the client's IP address resides. This idea can be extended to require user identification in order to enable user dependent default driver settings.  A preconfiguration tool would reside on the Internet server and would enable creation of the data needed to customize the print driver.  That data would then be accessible to end user print drivers, based on specific customer information.

Microsoft has a certification program, known as WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs), for Windows ® device drivers.  Companies providing printer driver software need to run an extensive battery of tests (which take several days to run) and then submit the test logs along with a fee in order to obtain a digital signature for that specific driver.  Any time any of the files which comprise the driver change – even to customize something as simple as the default for

2-Sided printing for a customer – the entire certification process must be repeated. This cost is then multiplied by the number of CPU types supported

(e.g. 32 and 64-bit), PDLs supported, and of course the number of printer models.  These fee’s can add up to a significant cost for the company providing the printer driver software.

In the past, many customers would accept an unsigned customized driver, knowing that it was a variant of a driver that had been previously certified.  But that is not always true and some customers desire a digitally signed driver.  In some cases the costs of recertifying the driver dwarfs the cost of doing the actual customization.  Some customers desire a digitally signed driver as a means of improving security. As a result, an increasing number of customers will no longer accept drivers, even for problem fixes or minor customizations, which have not been fully recertified and digitally signed by Microsoft.  Also, with each release of Windows ®, Microsoft has been making it increasingly difficult to install unsigned drivers, and a growing number of customer scenarios now only work with drivers that have been certified and digitally signed by Microsoft. (E.g. Windows ® Server 2008 print server clusters.)

This idea provides a means to efficiently and affordably deliver print drivers with defaults and options customized for individual customers’ specific requirements without breaking the important digital signature and without requiring customers’ System Administrators (SA) to perform additional manual steps.   The print driver supplier enables this by providing an Internet based server which creates, maintains, and d...