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I have Canon MP-610 printer/scanner (USB connection) which I would like to make available to Windows 8 but that is running inside a virtual machine.
Is there some way I could use a spare Linux machine like a Ethetnet to USB Print Server and if so would Win 8 be able to both print and scan? The Linux machine is running Samba so can be seen from the Win8 machine but not sure how I would go about making it act like a Print Server.
First, configure CUPS to use your printer. Then install it on the Windows 8 system as a network printer (point it at the IP address of the Linux system). Use a generic PostScript driver, as CUPS does the necessary "PostScript to whatever-your-printer-speaks" translation.
You could use Samba to share the CUPS printer, but it's not strictly necessary. CUPS provides both the LPD and the IPP services, and Windows 8 can use either.
You install a PostScript driver. Unlike the Windows print service, CUPS handles the translation between PostScript and the native driver language of the printer. That way, every printer becomes a PostScript printer.
It is also possible to create a "raw" printer in CUPS. This bypasses the CUPS print format conversion mechanism, and you'll need to use the Canon driver in Windows.
So if I install a raw printer in CUPS does that in theory mean that I can then install the windows driver in Win 8 and just point it towards the IP of the Linux machine instead of the USB port? If that is the case what about the scanner, any chance that will work as well.
That is correct with regards to printing, but scanning will have to be configured separately.
There's no such thing as a standard protocol for combined printing and scanning. The so-called "drivers" supplied by manufacturers of multifunction devices are really huge packages containing printer drivers, ink/toner monitoring software, scanning software, and in the case of network-enabled multifunction devices, a service/daemon communicating with the keypad and display on the printer.
While CUPS can print to most printers, you will have to use something like SANE to access the scanner (the Pixma MP610 is listed as fully supported). You could then share the folder with the scanned documents using Samba.