A new Internet printing standard, the IPP Internet Printing Protocol that would let users manage print jobs across TCP/IP networks is gathering support at the Internet Engineering Task Force. The protocol, which is being developed by companies such as Xerox Corp, IBM Corp, Novell Inc and Sun Microsystems Inc, will define simple printing instructions, like how to print a page, inquire on the status of a print job, or how to delete an item from the printer queue. If the protocol comes together, intranet users could more easily go to TCP/IP for print services, and other companies could set up Internet fax services where print jobs could be sent to Universal Resource Locators over the Internet at a fraction of today’s fax rates. Carl-Uno Manros, an engineer with Xerox who is working on the protocol, says he expects the IPP working group to have an intermediate draft ready by the next Task Force meeting in April, with a formal Request for Comments finished by June. More advanced printing features, like pausing or redirecting print jobs would follow. Manros says he would like to see the protocol supported on web browsers by year’s end, most likely as a feature of the HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol. Microsoft Corp has apparently become more involved in IPP of late and Netscape Communications Corp is also beginning to show an interest. But the key stumbling block at this time seems to be what kind of security mechanism to use with the protocol. The working group has not decided how it will manage security or authentication with IPP, though Manros claims that several possibilities are being considered.