JP2004355596A - Image forming apparatus and image forming program driver management system - Google Patents

Image forming apparatus and image forming program driver management system Download PDF

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Publication number
JP2004355596A
JP2004355596A JP2003193609A JP2003193609A JP2004355596A JP 2004355596 A JP2004355596 A JP 2004355596A JP 2003193609 A JP2003193609 A JP 2003193609A JP 2003193609 A JP2003193609 A JP 2003193609A JP 2004355596 A JP2004355596 A JP 2004355596A
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Japan
Prior art keywords
image forming
program
driver
version
update
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
JP2003193609A
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Japanese (ja)
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JP4200837B2 (en
Inventor
Tetsuo Kimoto
哲雄 木本
Original Assignee
Konica Minolta Holdings Inc
コニカミノルタホールディングス株式会社
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Application filed by Konica Minolta Holdings Inc, コニカミノルタホールディングス株式会社 filed Critical Konica Minolta Holdings Inc
Priority to JP2003193609A priority patent/JP4200837B2/en
Publication of JP2004355596A publication Critical patent/JP2004355596A/en
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Abstract

<P>PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To realize update of a proper combination by managing update of an image forming program and an image forming driver without providing a management server or the like for exclusive use. <P>SOLUTION: An image forming apparatus constituted so as to be able to communicate with an external server is provided with; a transmission control means which transmits system information of the image forming apparatus and version information of the image forming program to the external server; a reception control means which receives proper combination information relating to proper combinations of versions of the image forming program and versions of the image forming driver, the image forming program, and the image forming driver from the external server; an update control means which updates an operation program by the image forming program of which the version gives a proper combination, on the basis of proper combination information; and a distribution control means which distributes the image forming driver of which the version gives a proper combination with the image forming program, to a client PC on the basis of proper combination information. <P>COPYRIGHT: (C)2005,JPO&NCIPI

Description

[0001]
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to an image forming apparatus and an image forming program / driver management system for the image forming apparatus, and relates to an image forming program used inside the image forming apparatus and an image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver, etc.) used in a client PC used in the image forming apparatus. ) And an image forming program / driver management system.
[0002]
The present invention also relates to an image forming apparatus and an image forming program / driver management system for the image forming apparatus, and relates to an image forming program used inside the image forming apparatus and an image forming driver (printer driver, The present invention relates to an image forming apparatus and an image forming program / driver management system for managing a scanner driver) and a plurality of servers.
[0003]
[Prior art]
2. Description of the Related Art Conventionally, a program used for operation control of a system of an image forming apparatus is a fixed program in a ROM (Read Only Memory), and a program to be upgraded is electrically rewritten in an EEPROM (Electrically Erasable and Programmable ROM). It is stored in a possible non-volatile semiconductor memory or a mass storage device such as a hard disk device.
[0004]
Here, the nonvolatile semiconductor memory and the large-capacity storage device such as a hard disk device are also referred to as a nonvolatile memory. In addition, a program (firmware) stored in a nonvolatile semiconductor memory is simply referred to as a program in this specification.
[0005]
Here, the “program” is a program such as a BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) that performs basic input / output at startup, a basic application program for image forming operation, and a program for image forming operation. Application programs, etc. are included.
[0006]
By storing the program in the non-volatile memory, it is not necessary to exchange the ROM or the large-capacity storage device each time the program is changed, such as version upgrade, and the program can be stored externally or from a remote location using a communication network. It can be downloaded and rewritten.
[0007]
A system in which an image forming apparatus periodically accesses a host device via a communication line at the time of starting the image forming apparatus and updates its own program to the latest version is described in Patent Document 1 below. I have.
[0008]
Further, a method of managing a printer driver used by a client PC in an image forming apparatus is described in Patent Document 2 below. Here, the “driver” is software for bridging a new function to the OS or application of the client PC when adding a new function or expanding the function, and is a “device driver” used when adding hardware. ". Here, when the OS used by the client PC is different, it may be necessary to use a driver dedicated to the OS.
[0009]
In addition, there is an appropriate combination of the version of the program (firmware) of the image forming apparatus and the version of the printer driver used by the client PC, and normal operation cannot be expected unless the combination is appropriate. In such a case, a method of managing the version of the program (firmware) of the image forming apparatus and the version of the printer driver used by the client PC is described in Patent Document 3 below.
[0010]
Similar techniques regarding downloading programs and drivers are also described in Patent Literature 4, Patent Literature 5, and Patent Literature 6 described below, and various proposals have been made.
[0011]
[Patent Document 1]
JP-A-10-21060 (page 1, FIG. 1)
[Patent Document 2]
JP 2001-51810 A (page 1, FIG. 1)
[Patent Document 3]
JP 2001-249777 A (page 1, FIG. 1)
[Patent Document 4]
JP 2001-249815 A (Page 1, FIG. 1)
[Patent Document 5]
JP 2001-265599 A (page 1, FIG. 1)
[Patent Document 6]
JP-A-8-125794 (page 1, FIG. 1)
[0012]
[Problems to be solved by the invention]
None of the above-mentioned Patent Documents describes recovery at the time of rewriting failure. However, when rewriting a program via a network, download failures are likely to occur during communication or the like. Also, there may be a problem with the updated program itself.
[0013]
As a solution to the problem of Patent Document 1, JP-A-2001-117780 does not directly rewrite a program operation memory at the time of version upgrade, but downloads an update program to another memory, and downloads an operation memory. To switch to another memory. According to this technology, the program before rewriting is left, so if a download fails or a problem occurs in the downloaded program itself, switch to the program before updating to deal with an accident in a short time. can do.
[0014]
However, actually, there are a plurality of programs for controlling the operation of the image forming apparatus, such as a program relating to the main body, an ADF (automatic document feeder), and a FNS (finisher). If the combination is bad, an operation error may occur. Therefore, it is not possible to cope with such an operation error only by managing the individual programs before and after updating.
[0015]
Further, in the method of Patent Document 2, the printer driver used by the client PC can be managed. However, the version of the program (firmware) of the image forming apparatus and the version of the printer driver used by the client PC are different. No consideration is given to a proper combination, and there is a problem that it is difficult to ensure a proper operation.
[0016]
In addition, an appropriate combination of the version of the program (firmware) of the image forming apparatus and the version of the printer driver used by the client PC can be dealt with by the method disclosed in Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. H11-157572. And a dedicated management server near the client PC. Then, it is necessary for an administrator or the like to download a program or a printer driver from a support center of the manufacturer or the like and store it in the management server described above.
[0017]
Furthermore, in the method described in Patent Document 2, the address of the server is specified in the update notification mail. For this reason, there is a problem that a connection to a fake server may be prompted by a malicious update notification mail, and a falsified driver or program may be downloaded.
[0018]
Further, in the method described in Patent Document 4, since the server address is registered on the client PC side, if a problem occurs in a server that has already been registered, the program cannot be downloaded. have.
[0019]
Further, in the method described in Patent Literature 5, when a program is abnormal (download transfer error, memory loss due to power failure, etc.), the program is downloaded frequently, and access to the same server is repeated. There is a problem that the network is congested.
[0020]
Further, in the method described in Patent Document 6 described above, only the registered ID can be used by authenticating the user ID on the management device side, but the program or driver downloaded by the user side is correct (correct Content, from the correct distributor) was not proposed.
[0021]
The present invention has been made in view of the above-described various problems, and has been made in consideration of a program (image forming program) of an image forming apparatus and an image forming driver (printer driver, An image forming apparatus capable of managing update of a scanner driver) by an image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and capable of updating an appropriate combination of an image forming program and a driver, and an image forming apparatus. An object of the present invention is to realize an image forming program / driver management system.
[0022]
The present invention has been made in view of the above-described various problems, and has been made in consideration of a program (image forming program) for an image forming apparatus and an image forming driver (printer) used by a client PC when forming an image. Driver and scanner driver) can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and an appropriate combination of an image forming program and a driver can be updated even when restoration (recovery) is executed. It is an object of the present invention to realize an image forming apparatus and an image forming program / driver management system for the same.
[0023]
The present invention has been made in view of the above-described various problems, and has been made in consideration of a program (image forming program) for an image forming apparatus and an image forming driver (printer) used by a client PC when forming an image. It is an object of the present invention to realize an image forming apparatus and an image forming program / driver management system for the same, which can update a driver and a scanner driver without congestion of a server.
[0024]
The present invention has been made in view of the above-described various problems, and has been made in consideration of a program (image forming program) for an image forming apparatus and an image forming driver (printer) used by a client PC when forming an image. Driver, scanner driver), and an image forming apparatus capable of verifying whether or not the downloaded image forming apparatus is correct, and an image forming program / driver management system for the image forming apparatus.
[0025]
[Means for Solving the Problems]
The above-mentioned problem is solved by each of the solutions described below.
[0026]
According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided an image forming apparatus configured to be communicable with an external server which manages an image forming program and an image forming driver, and comprising a storage unit for storing the image forming program and the image forming driver. A transmission control unit configured to transmit system information including a system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information regarding a version of the image forming program to the external server; An appropriate combination information regarding an appropriate combination with a version, an image forming program, and a reception control unit that receives an image forming driver from the external server; and an operation program based on the image forming program that is an appropriate combination based on the appropriate combination information. Update to update And control means, an image forming apparatus characterized by comprising a, a distribution control means for distributing the image forming driver becomes proper combination to the client PC to the image forming program based on the proper combination information.
[0027]
According to a twelfth aspect of the present invention, there is provided an external server that manages an image forming program and an image forming driver, and a storage unit that is configured to be able to communicate with the external server and stores the image forming program and the image forming driver. And an image forming apparatus comprising the image forming apparatus and the image forming apparatus, wherein the external server includes: appropriate combination information regarding an appropriate combination of a version of the image forming program and a version of the image forming driver; Storage means for storing a forming program and an image forming driver, and communication for transmitting appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver to the image forming apparatus in response to a request from the image forming apparatus Means, wherein the image forming apparatus is an image forming apparatus. Transmission control means for transmitting system information including the system configuration and version information on the version of the image forming program to the external server, and reception for receiving proper combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver from the external server A control unit, an update control unit that updates an operation program with an image forming program that is a proper combination based on the proper combination information, and an image that is a proper combination for the image forming program based on the proper combination information. An image forming program / driver management system, comprising: a distribution control unit that distributes a forming driver to a client PC.
[0028]
In these inventions, the image forming apparatus transmits system information including the system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information on the version of the image forming program to the external server, and appropriately combines information, the image forming program, and the image. A forming driver is received from the external server. Then, the update is performed by the image forming program that provides a proper combination based on the proper combination information. Further, based on the appropriate combination information, an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is delivered to the client PC.
[0029]
As a result, updating of the program of the image forming apparatus (image forming program) and the image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC when forming an image is managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver.
[0030]
(2) The invention according to claim 2, wherein the distribution control means, when receiving a print request from a client PC, sets an image forming driver which is an appropriate combination for an image forming program based on the appropriate combination information. The image forming apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the image is distributed to a client PC.
[0031]
According to a thirteenth aspect of the present invention, a client PC capable of transmitting a print request to the image forming apparatus is connected, and the distribution control unit receives the print request from the client PC when the print request is received from the client PC. 13. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 12, wherein an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is delivered to the client PC based on the combination information.
[0032]
In these inventions, in the above (1), a client PC capable of sending a print request to the image forming apparatus is connected, and when a print request is received from the client PC, image formation is performed based on proper combination information. An image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the program is delivered to the client PC.
[0033]
As a result, updating of the program of the image forming apparatus (image forming program) and the image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC when forming an image is managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver at an appropriate timing.
[0034]
(3) A storage unit for storing a plurality of different versions of an image forming program and an image forming driver, and an update history storing unit for storing an update history of the image forming program and the image forming driver. And a restoration control unit capable of restoring to a designated arbitrary version of the image forming program, wherein the distribution control unit determines a proper combination for the restored image forming program based on the proper combination information. 3. The image forming apparatus according to claim 1, wherein an image forming driver of the following version is delivered to the client PC.
[0035]
According to a fourteenth aspect of the present invention, in the image forming apparatus, the storage unit stores a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver, and stores an update history of the image forming program and the image forming driver. Update history storage means, and a restoration control means capable of restoring a designated arbitrary version of the image forming program, wherein the distribution control means restores the restored image based on the proper combination information. 14. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 12, wherein a version of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the forming program is delivered to the client PC.
[0036]
In these inventions, in the above (1) and (2), a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver are stored, and restoration (recovery) is performed based on proper combination information according to the update history. An image forming driver of a version appropriate for the selected image forming program is distributed to the client PC.
[0037]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination.
[0038]
(4) The invention according to claim 4 is provided with operation means for inputting an operation, and the restoration control means restores a version of the image forming program designated via the operation means. An image forming apparatus according to claim 3.
[0039]
Also, in the invention according to claim 15, the image forming apparatus includes an operation unit for performing an operation input, and the restoration control unit restores a version of the image forming program designated via the operation unit. 15. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 14, wherein:
[0040]
In these inventions, in the above (3), the image forming apparatus is provided with operation means for performing an operation input, and restores to a version of the image forming program designated via the operation means.
[0041]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is executed.
[0042]
(5) The invention according to claim 5, further comprising an operation means for performing an operation input, wherein the distribution control means makes a plurality of combinations that are appropriate for the restored image forming program based on the appropriate combination information. 5. The image forming apparatus according to claim 3, wherein a specified version of the image forming driver is distributed to the client PC through the operation unit. 6. It is.
[0043]
Further, according to a sixteenth aspect of the present invention, the image forming apparatus includes an operation unit for performing an operation input, and the distribution control unit performs an appropriate operation on the restored image forming program based on the appropriate combination information. 16. The image forming driver according to claim 14, wherein a plurality of versions of the image forming driver are distributed to the client PC via the operation unit. An image forming program / driver management system described in the above.
[0044]
According to these inventions, in the above (3) or (4), the operating means is selected from a plurality of versions of the image forming driver which are in a proper combination with the restored image forming program based on the proper combination information. The designated version is distributed to the client PC via the client PC.
[0045]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is executed. Then, it is possible to specify an arbitrary version within the range of such an appropriate combination.
[0046]
(6) The image according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein a difference program from a previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. It is a forming device.
[0047]
The image forming program according to any one of claims 12 to 16, wherein a difference program from a previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. It is a program / driver management system.
[0048]
In these inventions, in the above (1) to (5), a difference program from the previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. For this reason, the file size of the image forming program for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy. In addition, since the updated program is stored as a difference program from the previous program, the storage capacity can be minimized, the cost can be reduced, and the registration time can be reduced.
[0049]
(7) The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the image forming driver uses a difference driver from a previous version of the image forming driver. It is a forming device.
[0050]
An image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 12 to 17, wherein a difference driver from an image forming driver of a previous version is used as the image forming driver. It is a program / driver management system.
[0051]
In these inventions, in the above (1) to (6), a difference driver from the image forming driver of the previous version is used as the image forming driver. For this reason, the file size of the image forming driver for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
[0052]
(8) The invention according to claim 8, wherein the reception control means receives the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver from the external server using an e-mail from the external server as an update trigger. The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein:
[0053]
Also, in the invention according to claim 19, the reception control means of the image forming apparatus uses the e-mail from the external server as an update trigger to send the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver from the external server. The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 12 to 18, wherein the system receives the image forming program.
[0054]
In these inventions, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the external server by using an e-mail from the external server as an update trigger. .
[0055]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. The combination is updated.
[0056]
(9) The invention according to claim 9 is provided with operation means for performing an operation input, wherein the reception control means uses the operation from the operation means as an update trigger to obtain appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming program. The image forming apparatus according to claim 1, wherein a driver is received from the external server.
[0057]
According to a twentieth aspect of the present invention, in the image forming apparatus, the image forming apparatus includes an operation unit to which an operation input is performed, and the reception control unit uses the operation from the operation unit as an update trigger to obtain appropriate combination information and an image forming program. 19. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 12, wherein an image forming driver is received from the external server.
[0058]
In these inventions, in the above (1) to (7), there is provided an operation means for performing an operation input, and the reception control means uses the operation from the operation means as an update trigger to obtain appropriate combination information, an image forming program, Further, an image forming driver is received from the external server.
[0059]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0060]
(10) The invention according to claim 10, wherein the reception control means receives the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver from the external server, using an access to the external server by the operator as an update trigger. An image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein:
[0061]
According to a twenty-first aspect of the present invention, in the image forming apparatus, the reception control unit may be configured to execute the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver by using an access to an external server by an operator as an update trigger. The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 12 to 18, wherein the system is received from a server.
[0062]
According to these inventions, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the external server using an access to the external server by the operator as an update trigger. ing.
[0063]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0064]
(11) The invention according to claim 11, wherein the reception control means receives the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver from the external server with an access to the image forming apparatus by the operator as an update trigger. The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein:
[0065]
The invention according to claim 22 is characterized in that the reception control means of the image forming apparatus sets the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver using an access to the image forming apparatus by an operator as an update trigger. The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 12 to 18, wherein the system is received from an external server.
[0066]
In these inventions, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the external server with the access to the image forming apparatus by the operator as an update trigger. I have to.
[0067]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0068]
(12) The invention according to claim 23 is configured to be communicable with a plurality of external servers that manage the image forming program and the image forming driver, and includes a storage unit for storing the image forming program and the image forming driver. An image forming apparatus, download server determining means for determining a download server with which the image forming apparatus communicates from among the plurality of external servers, system information including a system configuration of the image forming apparatus, and a version of an image forming program. Transmission control means for transmitting version information to the external server,
Receiving control means for receiving, from the external server, proper combination information on a proper combination of the version of the image forming program and the version of the image forming driver, and receiving the image forming program and the image forming driver from the download server;
An update control unit that updates an operation program with an image forming program that is a proper combination based on the proper combination information; and an image forming driver that is a proper combination for the image forming program based on the proper combination information. Distribution control means for distributing to a PC, wherein the download server determining means refers to an update notification from an external server or an access order included in a predetermined order table to determine the plurality of download servers to be communicated with. The image forming apparatus is determined from among the external servers.
[0069]
According to a thirty-sixth aspect of the present invention, a plurality of external servers for managing an image forming program and an image forming driver, and an image forming program and an image forming driver configured to be communicable with the external server are stored. An image forming program / driver management system, comprising: an image forming apparatus provided with a storage unit, wherein the external server has proper combination information on a proper combination of a version of the image forming program and a version of the image forming driver. Storage means for storing an image forming program and an image forming driver, and transmitting appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver to the image forming apparatus in response to a request from the image forming apparatus. The image forming apparatus includes: Download server determining means for determining, from the plurality of external servers, a download server with which the image forming apparatus should communicate, and system information including the system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information on the version of the image forming program to the external server. A transmission control unit for receiving the proper combination information from the external server, a reception control unit for receiving an image forming program and an image forming driver from the download server, and a proper combination based on the proper combination information. Update control means for updating the operation program by the image forming program, and distribution control means for distributing an image forming driver that is a proper combination for the image forming program to the client PC based on the proper combination information. The download server determining means determines a download server to communicate with from among the plurality of external servers with reference to an update notification from an external server or an access order included in a predetermined order table. And an image forming program / driver management system.
[0070]
In these inventions, the image forming apparatus determines a download server to be communicated from among the plurality of external servers, and sends system information including the system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information regarding the version of the image forming program to the outside. And the appropriate combination information is received from the external server, and the image forming program and the image forming driver are received from the download server. Then, the update is performed by the image forming program that provides a proper combination based on the proper combination information. Further, based on the appropriate combination information, an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is delivered to the client PC.
[0071]
As a result, updating of the program of the image forming apparatus (image forming program) and the image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC when forming an image is managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver.
[0072]
When a download server to communicate with is determined from a plurality of external servers, the download server is determined according to a predetermined order. If a problem occurs in the external server, a lower-order external server is used as the download server. decide. By doing so, even if congestion, server down, address designation error, or the like has occurred, it is possible to determine a download server that can reliably communicate and perform communication.
[0073]
(13) The invention according to claim 24, wherein the distribution control means, when receiving a print request from a client PC, sets an image forming driver which is an appropriate combination for an image forming program based on the appropriate combination information. The image forming apparatus according to claim 23, wherein the image is distributed to a client PC.
[0074]
Also, in the invention according to claim 37, a client PC capable of transmitting a print request to the image forming apparatus is connected, and the distribution control unit receives the print request from the client PC when the client PC receives the print request. 37. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is delivered to the client PC based on the combination information.
[0075]
In these inventions, in the above (12), a client PC capable of sending a print request to the image forming apparatus is connected, and when a print request is received from the client PC, image forming is performed based on the proper combination information. An image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the program is delivered to the client PC.
[0076]
As a result, updating of the program of the image forming apparatus (image forming program) and the image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC when forming an image is managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver at an appropriate timing.
[0077]
(14) The invention according to claim 25, wherein the storage means stores a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver, and the update history storing means stores the update history of the image forming program and the image forming driver. And a restoration control unit capable of restoring to a designated arbitrary version of the image forming program, wherein the distribution control unit determines a proper combination for the restored image forming program based on the proper combination information. 25. The image forming apparatus according to claim 23, wherein a version of the image forming driver is distributed to the client PC.
[0078]
According to a thirty-eighth aspect of the present invention, in the image forming apparatus, the image forming apparatus stores a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver, and an update history of the image forming program and the image forming driver. Update history storage means, and a restoration control means capable of restoring a designated arbitrary version of the image forming program, wherein the distribution control means restores the restored image based on the proper combination information. 38. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein a version of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the forming program is delivered to the client PC.
[0079]
In these inventions, in the above (12) and (13), a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver are stored, and restoration (recovery) is performed based on the appropriate combination information according to the update history. An image forming driver of a version appropriate for the selected image forming program is distributed to the client PC.
[0080]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination.
[0081]
(15) The invention according to claim 26, further comprising an operation means for performing an operation input, wherein the restoration control means restores a version of the image forming program designated via the operation means. An image forming apparatus according to claim 25.
[0082]
Also, in the invention according to claim 39, the image forming apparatus includes an operation unit through which an operation input is performed, and the restoration control unit restores a version of the image forming program designated via the operation unit. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 38, wherein:
[0083]
In these inventions, in the above (14), the image forming apparatus is provided with operation means for performing an operation input, and is restored to a version of the image forming program designated via the operation means.
[0084]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is executed.
[0085]
(16) The invention according to claim 27, further comprising an operation means for performing an operation input, wherein the distribution control means makes a plurality of appropriate combinations for the restored image forming program based on the appropriate combination information. 27. The image forming apparatus according to claim 25, wherein the image forming driver of the specified version is distributed to the client PC through the operation unit. It is.
[0086]
Further, in the invention according to claim 40, the image forming apparatus includes an operation unit for performing an operation input, and the distribution control unit performs an appropriate operation on the restored image forming program based on the appropriate combination information. 40. The image forming driver according to claim 38, wherein a plurality of image forming drivers having different versions are distributed to the client PC through the operating means. An image forming program / driver management system described in the above.
[0087]
According to these inventions, in the above (14) or (15), the operating means is selected from a plurality of versions of the image forming driver which are in a proper combination with the restored image forming program based on the proper combination information. The designated version is distributed to the client PC via the client PC.
[0088]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is executed. Then, it is possible to specify an arbitrary version within the range of such an appropriate combination.
[0089]
(17) The image according to any one of claims 23 to 27, wherein a difference program from a previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. It is a forming device.
[0090]
The image forming program according to any one of claims 36 to 40, wherein a difference program from a previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. It is a program / driver management system.
[0091]
In these inventions, in the above (12) to (16), a difference program from a previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. For this reason, the file size of the image forming program for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy. In addition, since the updated program is stored as a difference program from the previous program, the storage capacity can be minimized, the cost can be reduced, and the registration time can be reduced.
[0092]
(18) The image according to any one of claims 23 to 28, wherein a difference driver from a previous version of the image forming driver is used as the image forming driver. It is a forming device.
[0093]
42. The image forming apparatus according to claim 36, wherein a difference driver from a previous version of the image forming driver is used as the image forming driver. It is a program / driver management system.
[0094]
In these inventions, in (12) to (17), a difference driver from the image forming driver of the previous version is used as the image forming driver. For this reason, the file size of the image forming driver for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
[0095]
(19) The invention according to claim 30, wherein the reception control means receives the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver from the download server using an update notification from the external server as an update trigger. An image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 29.
[0096]
The invention according to claim 43, wherein the reception control means of the image forming apparatus transmits the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver to the download server by using an update notification from the external server as an update trigger. The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 36 to 42, wherein the image forming program / driver management system receives the program.
[0097]
In these inventions, in the above (12) to (18), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the download server using the update notification from the external server as the update trigger. .
[0098]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. The combination is updated.
[0099]
(20) The invention according to claim 31, further comprising an operation means for performing an operation input, wherein the reception control means uses the operation from the operation means as an update trigger to obtain appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming program. 30. The image forming apparatus according to claim 23, wherein a driver is received from the download server.
[0100]
Further, according to a forty-fourth aspect of the present invention, the image forming apparatus further comprises an operation means for inputting an operation input, and the reception control means uses the operation from the operation means as an update trigger to obtain appropriate combination information and an image forming program. 43. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein the image forming driver is received from the download server.
[0101]
In these inventions, in the above (12) to (18), there is provided an operation means for performing an operation input, and the reception control means uses the operation from the operation means as an update trigger to obtain appropriate combination information, an image forming program, In addition, an image forming driver is received from the download server.
[0102]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0103]
(21) In the invention according to claim 32, the reception control means receives, from the download server, appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver, using an access to the download server by an operator as an update trigger. An image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 27.
[0104]
Also, in the invention according to claim 45, the reception control means of the image forming apparatus downloads the proper combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver using an access to the download server by an operator as an update trigger. 43. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein the system is received from a server.
[0105]
In these inventions, in the above (12) to (18), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the download server by using the access to the download server by the operator as an update trigger. ing.
[0106]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0107]
(22) The invention according to claim 33, wherein the reception control means receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the download server by using an access to the image forming apparatus by an operator as an update trigger. The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 27, wherein:
[0108]
Also, in the invention according to claim 46, the reception control means of the image forming apparatus sets the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver by using an access to the image forming apparatus by an operator as an update trigger. 43. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein the system is received from a download server.
[0109]
In these inventions, in the above (12) to (18), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the download server using the access to the image forming apparatus by the operator as an update trigger. I have to.
[0110]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0111]
(23) The invention according to claim 34, further comprising an authentication unit for authenticating whether the download server is a correct distribution source, wherein the authentication unit receives the image forming program and the image forming driver. The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 33, wherein authentication is performed as to whether or not the user is a correct distribution source.
[0112]
The invention according to claim 47, further comprising an authentication unit on the image forming apparatus side for authenticating whether the download server is a correct distribution source, wherein the authentication unit includes an image forming program, and an image forming program. 47. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein authentication is performed as to whether the download server that received the driver is a correct distribution source.
[0113]
According to these inventions, in (12) to (22), when a download server is determined and downloaded from a plurality of external servers, it is possible to authenticate whether a downloaded program or driver is from a correct distribution source. Will be possible.
[0114]
(24) The invention according to claim 35 comprises an image forming program, and falsification detecting means for detecting whether or not the image forming driver has been falsified, wherein the falsification detecting means comprises: The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 33, wherein authentication is performed to determine whether the image forming driver has been tampered with.
[0115]
The invention according to claim 48 is provided with a falsification detecting means for detecting whether or not the image forming program and the image forming driver are falsified on the image forming apparatus side, wherein the falsification detecting means includes 47. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein authentication is performed to determine whether the image forming program and the image forming driver have been tampered with. .
[0116]
According to these inventions, in (12) to (22), when a download server is determined and downloaded from a plurality of external servers, it is possible to authenticate whether the downloaded program or driver is correct without being falsified. Will be possible.
[0117]
(25) According to each of the above-described inventions (1) to (11), each program is further updated with a version that is an appropriate combination according to the configuration of the apparatus such as the model of the image forming apparatus and the system configuration. Can prevent operation errors after updating due to inconsistency of each program version, and make it easy, quick and safe to update programs even for users and inexperienced service personnel. Becomes possible.
[0118]
(26) According to each of the above-mentioned inventions (12) to (24), when a download server is determined from a plurality of external servers and downloaded, the model of the image forming apparatus, the system configuration, and the like are further determined. Each program can be updated with an appropriate combination of versions according to the configuration of the device, so it is possible to prevent operation errors after updating due to inconsistencies in the version of each program beforehand, and to improve the user and experience. Even a shallow service person can easily, quickly and safely update the program.
[0119]
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
Hereinafter, an image forming apparatus and an image forming program / driver management system according to an embodiment of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the drawings.
[0120]
<First Embodiment>
FIG. 1 illustrates an external server 500 that manages an image forming program and an image forming driver, and a storage that is configured to be able to communicate with the external server 500 via a network 400 and that stores the image forming program and the image forming driver. FIG. 1 is a configuration diagram illustrating an image forming program / driver management system including an image forming apparatus 100 including a unit.
[0121]
Here, in the user area 10, the image forming apparatus 100 according to the embodiment of the present invention and the client PC 300 (here, PC 300a to PC 300d) are communicably connected via the LAN 200. The image forming apparatus 100 is, for example, a copying machine, a printer, a scanner, a facsimile machine, or the like, and may be a multifunction peripheral having these functions.
[0122]
Here, the client PC 300 can send a print request to the image forming apparatus 100, and a computer or a terminal that uses the functions of the image forming apparatus 100 in this way is called a client PC. Then, the image forming apparatus 100 receiving such a print request forms an image corresponding to the image data from the client PC 300 on a recording sheet and outputs the image.
[0123]
The LAN 200 is connected to the network 400 via a firewall (not shown) or the like.
[0124]
Here, the network 400 is a network using various communication lines such as the Internet, an intranet, a public telephone line network, an ISDN line network, a dedicated line, a mobile communication network, a communication satellite line, a CATV line, and an optical communication line.
[0125]
In the image forming apparatus 100, reference numeral 111 denotes a CPU as control means for controlling each unit. The CPU 111 includes a transmission control unit that transmits system information including a system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information regarding a version of the image forming program to the external server, a version of the image forming program and a version of the image forming driver. And combination control information relating to a proper combination with the image forming program, a reception control means for receiving an image forming driver from the external server, and an image forming program which is a proper combination based on the proper combination information. A control unit having both functions of an update control unit for performing an update and a distribution control unit for distributing an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program to the client PC based on the appropriate combination information. .
[0126]
112 is a flash memory as a non-volatile memory, 113 is a storage means capable of storing a large capacity such as an HDD or various optical disk devices, 114 is a RAM (Random Access Memory) as a work memory, and 115 is a ROM (Read Only Memory) It is.
[0127]
Here, in addition to a program for performing basic input / output at startup such as an image forming program (BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) of an image forming apparatus), a basic application program for image forming operation, and a program for image forming operation Of the application programs, etc.), the programs that need to be updated are stored in the flash memory 112 or the storage unit 113. Programs and various data that do not need to be updated are stored in the ROM 115.
[0128]
Reference numeral 116 denotes a communication unit as an I / F for performing communication between the image forming apparatus 100 and the outside. The communication unit 116 includes a modem, a TA, a router, and the like, and controls communication with an external server 500 and an external device connected to the network 400.
[0129]
An operation display unit 120 receives various operation inputs and displays the status of the apparatus. The operation display unit 120 is an operation panel in which the operation unit and the display unit are integrally configured. The operation display unit 120 is configured by an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) or the like, and displays various operation buttons, an image state display, an operation status of each function, and the like on a screen in accordance with an instruction of a display signal input from the CPU 111. The operation display unit 120 is configured by a pressure-sensitive (resistive film pressure) touch panel or the like in which transparent electrodes are arranged in a lattice shape, and preferably has a high light transmittance from the viewpoint of visibility. The operation display unit 120 detects, as a voltage value, the XY coordinates of the force point pressed by a finger or a touch pen or the like, and outputs the detected position signal to the CPU 111 as an operation signal. The operation display unit 120 includes various operation buttons such as a number button and a function button for switching various settings.
[0130]
Reference numeral 130 denotes a scanner unit that reads an image of a document. The scanner unit 130 includes a reading unit below a platen glass on which a document is placed, and reads an image of the document. The scanner unit 117 is configured by a light source, a CCD (Charge Coupled Device), and the like. The scanner unit 117 reads an image of a document by imaging reflected light of light scanned and illuminated from the light source to the document and photoelectrically converts the image, and reads the read image. Output to the print engine 150. Here, the image is not limited to image data such as figures and photographs, but also includes text data such as characters and symbols.
[0131]
Reference numeral 140 denotes an automatic document feeder (ADF) for automatically feeding a document. The ADF 140 is an automatic document feeder, and includes a feed roller, a feed belt, a discharge roller, and the like. Feed to a predetermined position. Also, the original whose reading has been completed is discharged.
[0132]
Reference numeral 150 denotes a print engine for forming an image corresponding to image data on recording paper. The print engine 150 includes, for image data input from the scanner unit 140 and image data received by the communication unit 116, an input instruction from the operation display unit 120 or an image data received from the communication unit 116. Image processing such as enlargement / reduction, rotation, and position change in accordance with the instruction data to form an image (toner image) on a recording sheet.
[0133]
Reference numeral 160 denotes a finisher (FNS) for performing post-processing such as sorting or stapling of recording paper on which images are formed. The FNS 160 sorts and staples the printing paper discharged from the discharging portion of the main body 100a.
[0134]
Note that the CPU 111 reads a control program for controlling the image forming apparatus 100 stored in the flash memory 112 or the ROM 115 into the RAM 114 and controls the entire image forming apparatus 100 according to the read control program. Further, the CPU 111 reads various processing programs stored in the flash memory 112 and the ROM 115 into the RAM 114, executes various processing including a program update processing and a recovery processing described later, stores the processing results in the RAM 114, and operates the RAM 114. It is displayed on the display unit 120.
[0135]
The flash memory 112 is a rewritable non-volatile semiconductor memory, and controls the image forming apparatus main body, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, the FNS 160, and programs and various processes for controlling the entire image forming apparatus 100. It stores programs and data processed by various processing programs. The program is stored in the form of a computer-readable program code, and the CPU 111 sequentially executes operations according to the program code.
[0136]
The storage unit 113 is a large-capacity storage device, and downloads from the external server 500, each image forming program corresponding to each module of the image forming apparatus main body, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, and the FNS 160, and the image used by the client PC 300. A formation driver (printer driver, scanner driver) is stored. The storage unit 113 stores update history management information of each image forming program and each image forming driver.
[0137]
In addition, it receives appropriate combination information on an appropriate combination of versions of each program transmitted from the external server 500, and downloads an update image forming program or image forming driver from the server 500 based on the received information. .
[0138]
The external server 500 is, for example, a server provided at a center of a maker or the like, and includes an image forming apparatus main body including the image forming apparatus 100 and optional devices such as an ADF (automatic document feeder) and an FNS (finisher). This stores and manages an appropriate combination information according to an image forming program and an image forming driver, a model, and a system configuration for updating for upgrading each program.
[0139]
Upon receiving the model, system configuration, and version information of each program from the image forming apparatus 100 via the network 400, the external server 500 transmits appropriate combination information according to the model and system configuration of the image forming apparatus 100. Further, when there is a request for transmission of the update image forming program and the image forming driver from the image forming apparatus 100, the image forming apparatus 100 transmits the requested image forming program and the image forming driver to the image forming apparatus 100.
[0140]
In the first embodiment, each of the update image forming programs transmitted from the external server 500 is a difference program between the pre-update version program and the updated version program of the image forming apparatus 100. However, the entire program of the updated version may be transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100, and the entire program may be rewritten on the image forming apparatus 100 side.
[0141]
Further, in the present embodiment, the image forming driver for each update transmitted from the external server 500 is a difference driver between the driver of the version before the update of the image forming apparatus 100 and the driver of the version after the update. The entire driver of the updated version may be transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100, and the entire driver may be managed on the image forming apparatus 100 side.
[0142]
Further, in the embodiment of the present invention, an external server 500 that manages an image forming program and an image forming driver, and is configured to be communicable with the external server and store the image forming program and the image forming driver. The image forming apparatus 100 provided with the storage means constitutes an image forming program / driver management system.
[0143]
In this embodiment, the image forming program means firmware such as BIOS of the image forming apparatus, a basic program for image forming, and an application program for image forming.
[0144]
FIG. 2 is a diagram schematically showing an update image forming program and an image forming driver stored in a storage unit 113 such as an HDD as a difference program / difference driver.
[0145]
As shown in FIG. 2, the storage unit 113 such as an HDD has folders for storing image forming programs for each module of the main body unit 100a, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, and the FNS 160. The image forming program in the differential program format at the time of uploading is stored with the same file name as the new version number.
[0146]
Similarly, as shown in FIG. 2, the storage unit 113 such as an HDD has folders for storing image forming drivers for each module, such as a scanner driver and a printer driver. The image forming driver in the differential driver format at the time of version upgrade is stored with the same file name as the new version number.
[0147]
FIG. 3 is an explanatory diagram showing an example of the update history management information stored in the storage unit 113 such as an HDD. In the example of FIG. 3, an image forming program has a file name ending in "_P", and an image forming driver has a file name ending in "_d".
[0148]
As shown in FIG. 3, the update history management information includes an update date when the update image forming program and the image formation driver from the external server 500 are downloaded or recovered, and the update date and time. An update history including the version of each program and driver is stored.
[0149]
In addition, in the version of a program or a driver in which another program that must operate at the same time exists, a program name and version information that must be simultaneously downloaded are stored together with the symbol * after the version.
[0150]
In this update history management information, the update date is index data, the combination of the versions of each program after the update on this update date can be easily searched, the update history of each program alone can be managed, and each update date can be managed. The combination of the versions of each program can be managed.
[0151]
Hereinafter, the internal configuration of the external server 500 will be described in detail.
[0152]
As shown in FIG. 1, the external server 500 includes a CPU 501, a memory 502, a communication unit 503, an operation display unit 510, a storage unit 520, and the like, and each unit is connected by an address bus or a data bus.
[0153]
A CPU (Central Processing Unit) 501 reads a system program stored in the storage unit 520 and centrally controls the operation of each unit according to the system program. In addition, the CPU 501 executes various processes according to the read system program 520_0 (see FIG. 4), stores the results in the memory 502, and causes the operation display unit 510 to display the results. Then, the processing result stored in the memory 502 is stored in a predetermined storage destination of the storage unit 520.
[0154]
In the present embodiment, when the CPU 501 receives the model, the system configuration, and the version information of the current program corresponding to each module from the image forming apparatus 100 via the communication unit 503, the appropriate combination file 520_2 stored in the storage unit 520 is received. With reference to (see FIG. 4), an appropriate combination of the versions of each program in the model of the image forming apparatus 100, the system configuration, and the current version of each program is determined, and the appropriate combination of the versions of each program is determined. The appropriate combination information is transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100.
[0155]
In addition, the update image forming program and the image forming driver requested to be transmitted from image forming apparatus 100 are read from program driver DB 520_1 (see FIG. 4) and transmitted to image forming apparatus 100.
[0156]
Further, the memory 502 temporarily stores system programs, control programs, input or output data, parameters, and the like, which can be executed by the external server 500 and read from the storage unit 520 in various processes controlled by the CPU 501. Area.
[0157]
The communication unit 503 includes a modem, a TA, a router, and the like, and controls communication with the image forming apparatus 100 and an external device connected to the network 400.
[0158]
The operation display unit 510 includes a keyboard having character / alphanumeric input keys, a cursor key, various function keys, and the like, and a mouse as a pointing device, and a pressing signal of a key pressed by the keyboard. And an operation signal from the mouse are output to CPU 501 as input signals. The operation display unit 510 includes an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), or the like, and displays various data on a display screen in accordance with an instruction of a display signal input from the CPU 501.
[0159]
The storage unit 520 includes a hard disk drive (HDD), a non-volatile semiconductor memory, and the like, and includes a system program corresponding to the external server 500, various processing programs executable on the system program, and processing by these programs. The stored data and the like are stored. The program is stored in the form of a computer-readable program code, and the CPU 501 sequentially executes operations according to the program code.
[0160]
The storage unit 520 stores appropriate combination information regarding an appropriate combination of the version of the image forming program and the version of the image forming driver, the image forming program, and the image forming driver.
[0161]
That is, in the first embodiment, as shown in FIG. 4, the storage unit 520 includes the image forming apparatus 100 as well as a system program 520_0 for operating the external server 500 itself. A program / driver DB 520_1 for storing an image forming program and an image forming driver for updating an apparatus such as a main body of the image forming apparatus, an ADF (automatic document feeder), an optional device such as a FNS (finisher), and a model and system An appropriate combination file 520_2 storing appropriate combination information according to the configuration is stored.
[0162]
FIG. 5 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example of data storage in the appropriate combination file 520_2.
[0163]
As shown in FIG. 5, the proper combination file 520_2 is a model name area 520_2a in which data indicating the model name of the image forming apparatus (for example, SITIOS7145JPN, SITIOS7135JPN, SITIOS7130JPN, SITIOS7120JPN,...) Is stored as “model name”. And data indicating the version of the program of the main unit (main) (for example, Ver5.1, Ver5.0, Ver5.0,...) Among the versions of each program in which the version of each image forming program is an appropriate combination. .) Are stored as “ADF”, and data (for example, Ver2.1, Ver1.9, Ver1.9,...) Indicating the version of the ADF image forming program are stored as “ADF”. ADF territory 520_2c, an FNS area 520_2d storing data indicating the version of the FNS image forming program (for example, Ver3.0, Ver2.0, Ver2.0,...) As “FNS”, and an image forming program of the print engine. That stores data indicating the version of the printer (eg, Ver2.0, Ver1.9, Ver1.9,...) As a “printer”.
The scanner and the data (for example, Ver2.1, Ver2.0, Ver2.0,...) Indicating the version of the image forming driver (scanner driver) of the scanner unit are referred to as “scanner”. ., And data indicating the version of the image forming driver (printer driver) of the print engine (for example, Ver3.1, Ver3.0, Ver3.0,...) Are stored as “printer”. And a printer area 520_2g.
[0164]
That is, information about an image forming program that is a proper combination based on the proper combination information and information about an image forming driver that is a proper combination for the image forming program based on the proper combination information are provided for each model name. Is stored in
[0165]
Here, the operation of the image forming apparatus 100 of the first embodiment and the operation of the image forming program / driver management system of the image forming apparatus will be described with reference to the flowcharts of FIG.
[0166]
FIG. 6 is a processing content determination routine for determining the content of various processing executed by the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100.
[0167]
The CPU 111 monitors each unit of the image forming apparatus 100. When the communication unit 116 receives an e-mail from the outside (S1 in FIG. 6), whether the e-mail is from the external server 500 or not, Of the update of the image forming program or the image forming driver is checked (S2 in FIG. 6).
[0168]
If the received e-mail is not from the external server 500, or if the content of the e-mail is not a notification of an update of the image forming program or the image forming driver (N in S2 in FIG. 6), the CPU 111 executes a processing content determination routine. Then, the process returns to the normal operation of the system program (FIG. 6, end).
[0169]
When a new version of the image forming program or the image forming driver is stored in the program driver DB 520_1 of the storage unit 520 in the external server 500, the CPU 501 sends an e-mail regarding an update notification via the network 400 to the image forming apparatus. Send to 100.
[0170]
Further, in addition to the spontaneous transmission by the CPU 501 of the external server 500, the update is performed in response to an inquiry of an e-mail from the communication unit 116 based on the operation of the operation display unit 120 by the operator of the image forming apparatus 100. Is transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100.
[0171]
Further, in addition to such spontaneous transmission by the CPU 501 of the external server 500, notification of an update is performed in response to inquiries of e-mail from various mobile terminals operated by an operator of the image forming apparatus 100 or a customer engineer. Is transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100.
[0172]
On the other hand, there is a method of transmitting an update instruction e-mail from various portable terminals operated by an operator of the image forming apparatus 100 or a customer engineer to the image forming apparatus, and activating a program update routine of the image forming apparatus.
[0173]
Alternatively, there is a method in which an operator or a customer engineer activates a program update routine of the image forming apparatus 100 by inputting an update instruction from the operation display unit 120.
[0174]
Further, various portable terminals operated by an operator or a customer engineer of the image forming apparatus 100 are connected to the image forming apparatus 100 by a cable, infrared rays, wireless communication, or the like, and an update instruction from the portable terminal is transmitted to the image forming apparatus. Then, there is a method of activating a program update routine of the image forming apparatus.
[0175]
As described above, the e-mail from the external server 500 or the operation of the operator or the customer engineer can be used as an “update trigger” at the time of updating the image forming program and the image forming driver. Updates are possible. Further, there is no need to provide a management server or the like on the user's LAN.
[0176]
If the received e-mail is from the external server 500 and the content of the e-mail is a notification about updating of the image forming program or the image forming driver (Y in S2 in FIG. 6), if the setting is manual setting, the image is displayed. Whether or not to update the forming program or the image forming driver is displayed on the display panel of the operation display unit 120 to request the operator's consent (S3 in FIG. 6).
[0177]
If the operator does not agree to update the image forming program or the image forming driver due to manual setting (N in S3 in FIG. 6), the CPU 111 ends the processing content determination routine and returns to the normal operation of the system program. (End of FIG. 6).
[0178]
If the setting is not the manual setting (in the case of the automatic setting), or if the setting is the manual setting and the operator agrees to update the image forming program or the image forming driver (Y in S3 in FIG. 6), the CPU 111 executes the program update processing routine. (See FIG. 7) is started (S4 in FIG. 6).
[0179]
FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating a program update processing routine executed by CPU 111 of image forming apparatus 100. Hereinafter, the program update process will be described with reference to FIG.
[0180]
When the program update processing routine is started, the CPU 111 transmits the model of the image forming apparatus 100, the system configuration, and the version of the program corresponding to each module to the external server 500 via the network 400 by the communication unit 116. (FIG. 7S1). Then, it waits for a response from the external server 500 (step 2).
[0181]
When the image forming apparatus 100 is in the response waiting state in step S2, the CPU 501 of the external server 500 receives the model, the system configuration, and the version information of the program corresponding to each module from the image forming apparatus 100 via the communication unit 503. Then, referring to the appropriate combination file 520_2 stored in the storage unit 520, the latest appropriate combination of the versions of each program in the model and system configuration of the image forming apparatus 100 is determined, and the version of each program is checked. The proper combination information that is the proper combination is transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100 via the communication unit 503.
[0182]
Upon receiving the appropriate combination information transmitted from the external server 500 (S3 in FIG. 7), the CPU 111 displays this on the appropriate version management screen 1201 (see FIG. 8) on the operation panel of the operation display unit 120 (S4 in FIG. 7).
[0183]
When a certain program is selected from the appropriate version management screen and the start of update is instructed (Y in S5 in FIG. 7), the CPU 111 instructs the external server 500 to execute an image forming program and an image forming program for updating the instructed program. A driver transmission request is issued, and an update image forming program and an image forming driver are downloaded from the external server 500 (S6 in FIG. 7). Then, the CPU 111 rewrites the image forming program in the flash memory 112 or the storage unit 113 (S7 in FIG. 7).
[0184]
Note that the image forming driver is downloaded to the image forming apparatus 100 in order to be transferred to the client PC as described later.
[0185]
Then, the CPU 111 executes the above steps S5 to S7 for all the image forming programs to be upgraded, and when the end is instructed from the operation display unit 120 (Y in S8 in FIG. 7), the update history information is displayed on the operation display unit 120. A screen 1202 (see FIG. 9) is displayed (S9 in FIG. 7).
[0186]
When an instruction to register the update history of the program this time is input from the update history information screen (Y in S10 of FIG. 7), the CPU 111 stores the update date and the update date in the update history management information of the storage unit 113 such as an HDD. After the update of the program, the information of the program indicated to require simultaneous operation from the external server 500 and the information of the program that is required to be simultaneously registered are registered. A difference program between the program and the updated program is registered with the same file name as the version number (S11 in FIG. 7).
[0187]
In the program updating process, the program can be instructed to start updating for each module. Therefore, even when the image forming apparatus 100 is operating, the program of a module that is not operating can be rewritten. Also, even if the program rewriting fails, it can be operated only with the basic functions.
[0188]
FIG. 8 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example of the appropriate version management screen 1201 displayed on the operation display unit 120 in step S4 of FIG.
[0189]
As shown in FIG. 8, the appropriate version management screen 1201 displays the model name of the image forming apparatus 100, the current version of the program of each module of the main body 100a, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, and the FNS 160 and the latest version of each program. Is displayed.
[0190]
If the version of the program marked with “*” is downloaded and updated by itself, the combination with the version of the other module is bad, and an operation error may occur. , And it is essential that the programs marked with “*” be downloaded at the same time. At the bottom of this screen, a “Start” button corresponding to the program of each module is displayed, and when this “Start” button is pressed, downloading of the displayed version of the corresponding program is started, Steps S6 and S7 are executed to update the program. When the “end” button is pressed, the screen shifts to an update history information screen 1202.
[0191]
When the program marked with * is downloaded by itself and the “end” button is pressed, a warning message is displayed.
[0192]
FIG. 9 is an explanatory diagram showing an example of the update history information screen 1202 displayed on the operation display unit 120 in step S10 of FIG. In the update history information screen 1202 shown in FIG. 9, the update date is associated with the program version of each module updated on the update date, and is displayed in order from the latest update date. That is, the history immediately after the update is displayed at the top.
[0193]
When the “history registration” displayed on the left side of the top-level history is pressed, the process proceeds to step S11 in FIG. 7, and the update date and the currently updated The update history of the version for each program is registered, and the difference program of each program downloaded from the external server 500 is stored in each folder corresponding to the main body 100a, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, and the FNS 160, and the same as the version number. Registered with a file name.
[0194]
After the registration, the update history information screen 1202 is displayed by changing the “history registration” button to a “return” button, as shown in FIG. OK is displayed in the uppermost update result column.
[0195]
FIG. 11 is a flowchart illustrating a driver update processing routine executed by CPU 111 of image forming apparatus 100. Hereinafter, the driver update processing for the client PC 300 will be described with reference to FIG.
[0196]
In this driver update processing routine, the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100 receives a print request from the client PC via the communication unit 116 via the LAN 200 (S1 in FIG. 11).
[0197]
Further, the CPU 111 acquires the version information of the printer driver from the print request received from the client PC (S2 in FIG. 11).
[0198]
Then, the CPU 111 compares the acquired version information of the image forming driver currently installed in the client PC with the version management information of the image forming driver included in the appropriate combination information, and confirms whether or not it is the latest and appropriate. (S3 in FIG. 11).
[0199]
As a result of the comparison, if the printer driver of the client PC is the latest and proper (Y in S4 in FIG. 11), the CPU 111 accepts a print request from the client PC 300 (S8 in FIG. 11) and executes image formation in a normal procedure (S9 in FIG. 11). ).
[0200]
As a result of the comparison, if the printer driver of the client PC is not the latest and proper (N in FIG. 11S4), the CPU 111 notifies the client PC 300 that the printer driver is not the latest and proper (S5 of FIG. 11).
[0201]
At this time, the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100 transmits a question message to the client PC 300 asking whether to update to the latest and appropriate printer driver.
[0202]
On the client PC 300 side that has received such a question message, a message is displayed on the operation unit (not shown) as to whether or not the user agrees to the update of the printer driver. Select
[0203]
At this time, if the client PC 300 refuses to update to the latest and proper printer driver (N in S6 in FIG. 11), the CPU 111 does not perform the image forming driver update process, and accepts a print request from the client PC 300 (S8 in FIG. 11). ), And executes image formation in a normal procedure (S9 in FIG. 11).
[0204]
At this time, if the client PC 300 agrees to update to the latest and proper printer driver (Y in S6 in FIG. 11), the CPU 111 distributes the latest and proper printer driver to the client PC 300 and executes the printer The user is prompted to update the driver (S7 in FIG. 11).
[0205]
The client PC 300 that has received the latest and appropriate printer driver distribution from the image forming apparatus 100 updates the printer driver according to a predetermined procedure instructed by the image forming apparatus 100.
[0206]
Then, after detecting the update of the printer driver in the client PC 300 on the CPU 111 side of the image forming apparatus 100, the CPU 111 receives a print request from the client PC 300 (S8 in FIG. 11) and executes image formation in a normal procedure (S9 in FIG. 11). ).
[0207]
In the first embodiment, a client PC 300 capable of sending a print request to the image forming apparatus 100 is connected to a LAN or the like, and when the image forming apparatus 100 receives a print request from the client PC 300, An image forming driver (printer driver) that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is distributed to the client PC 300 based on the combination information.
[0208]
As a result, updating of the program (image forming program) of the image forming apparatus and the printer driver used by the client PC when forming an image can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. At an appropriate timing, an appropriate combination of the image forming program and the image forming driver (printer driver) is updated.
[0209]
In the above description of the first embodiment, the printer driver is updated when the client PC 300 issues a print request to the image forming apparatus 100. Updating of the scanner driver at the time of issuing the request can be similarly performed.
[0210]
That is, in the first embodiment, when the client PC 300 capable of sending a scan request to the image forming apparatus 100 is connected to a LAN or the like, and the image forming apparatus 100 receives the scan request from the client PC 300, In addition, an image forming driver (scanner driver) that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program based on the appropriate combination information is distributed to the client PC 300.
[0211]
As a result, updating of the program (image forming program) of the image forming apparatus and the scanner driver used by the client PC at the time of scanning can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. At an appropriate timing, an appropriate combination of an image forming program and an image forming driver (scanner driver) is updated.
[0212]
Next, the operation of the recovery process of the image forming program executed by the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100 will be described in detail with reference to the flowchart of FIG.
[0213]
When an image forming program to be recovered is selected from the update history information screen (update history information screen 1202: see FIGS. 9 and 10) displayed on the operation display unit 120 (S1 in FIG. 12), the CPU 111 stores the data in the HDD or the like. A recovery program is created from the difference program stored in the means 113 (S2 in FIG. 12), and the program in the flash memory 112 and the storage means 113 is rewritten by the program (S3 in FIG. 12).
[0214]
When the rewriting (recovery) of the program is completed, the CPU 111 additionally displays the rewriting history of the current program on the update history information screen, and when the additional registration of this history is instructed (Y in S4 of FIG. 12), the HDD 111 In addition, the date and the version of the program after recovery are registered in the update history management information of the storage unit 113, and the difference program between the program of the previous version and the program after recovery is registered (S5 in FIG. 12).
[0215]
The program to be recovered can be selected alone or the entire program of each combined module can be selected.
[0216]
In the above-described recovery processing, for example, when the main Ver. 5.0 of the image forming program is selected as the program to be recovered from the update history information screen 1202 shown in FIG. 10 and the corresponding “return” button is pressed. A difference program between the current program of the main unit Ver5.1 and the return program Ver5.0 is read from the storage unit 113 such as an HDD, and a recovery program is created. Then, the program of the main body in the flash memory 112 and the storage unit 113 is rewritten by the created recovery program, and Ver 5.0 is restored. In this way, it is possible to revert to any previous version.
[0219]
Also, after rewriting (recovery) of the program, the history related to the current recovery is displayed on the update history information screen 1202 at the top, but if it is returned to Ver 5.0, it will be affected by the relationship with the ADF program. Since an operation error may occur, the CPU 111 displays a warning to immediately download the main Ver. 5.1 of the image forming program.
[0218]
Although the update history is registered according to a user's instruction, the history and the difference program may be automatically registered under the control of the CPU 111 after rewriting the flash memory 112 or the storage unit 113.
[0219]
Although the above description is about the recovery of the image forming program in the image forming apparatus 100, the image forming driver used by the client PC 300 can be recovered in the same procedure.
[0220]
At this time, the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100 creates an image forming driver (scanner driver, printer driver) to be recovered, distributes the created image forming driver to the client PC 300, and urges updating of the image forming driver by a predetermined procedure. The client PC 300 that has received the distribution of the image forming driver to be recovered from the image forming apparatus 100 in this way updates the image forming driver according to a predetermined procedure instructed by the image forming apparatus 100. In this way, it is possible to revert to any previous version of the driver.
[0221]
<Effect obtained by the first embodiment>
According to the first embodiment described in detail above, the following effects (1) to (11) can be obtained.
[0222]
(1) In the first embodiment described above, the image forming apparatus 100 transmits system information including the system configuration of the image forming apparatus 100 and version information on the version of the image forming program to the external server 500. , The appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the external server 500. Then, the update is performed by the image forming program that provides a proper combination based on the proper combination information. Further, based on the appropriate combination information, an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is delivered to the client PC 300. As a result, updating of a program (image forming program) of the image forming apparatus 100 and an image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC 300 at the time of forming an image can be performed without providing a management server or the like. , And an appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver is updated.
[0223]
(2) In the first embodiment described above, the client PC 300 capable of sending a print request to the image forming apparatus 100 is connected to the image forming apparatus 100 in (1) above, and the print request is received from the client PC 300. Next, an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is distributed to the client PC 300 based on the appropriate combination information. As a result, updating of a program (image forming program) of the image forming apparatus 100 and an image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC 300 at the time of forming an image can be performed without providing a management server or the like. , And an appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver is updated at an appropriate timing.
[0224]
(3) In the first embodiment described above, in the above (1) and (2), a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver are stored, and an appropriate combination according to the update history is stored. Based on the information, a version of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the restored (recovered) image forming program is delivered to the client PC 300. As a result, the update of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus 100 can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update an appropriate combination with the above.
[0225]
(4) In the first embodiment described above, in the above (3), the image forming apparatus 100 includes an operation unit for performing an operation input, and forms an image of a version specified through the operation unit. I try to restore to the program. As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus 100 can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is performed.
[0226]
(5) In the first embodiment described above, in the above (3) or (4), based on the appropriate combination information, a plurality of versions of the image that are appropriate combinations for the restored image forming program Among the forming drivers, a driver of a version designated via the operating means is distributed to the client PC 300. As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus 100 can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is performed. Then, it is possible to specify an arbitrary version within the range of such an appropriate combination.
[0227]
(6) In the first embodiment described above, in (1) to (5), a difference program from the previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. For this reason, the file size of the image forming program for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
In addition, since the updated program is stored as a difference program from the previous program, the storage capacity can be minimized, the cost can be reduced, and the registration time can be reduced.
[0228]
(7) In the first embodiment described above, in (1) to (6), a difference driver from the image forming driver of the previous version is used as the image forming driver. For this reason, the file size of the image forming driver for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
[0229]
(8) In the first embodiment described above, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are transmitted by using the e-mail from the external server 500 as an update trigger. The data is received from the external server 500. As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like, and the appropriateness between the image forming program and the driver can be ensured at appropriate timing. Update of the combination is performed.
[0230]
(9) In the first embodiment described above, in (1) to (7) above, there is provided an operation means for performing an operation input, and the reception control means uses an operation from the operation means as an update trigger. The appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the external server 500.
[0231]
As a result, updating of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. Is updated.
[0232]
(10) In the first embodiment described above, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming are performed by using the access to the external server 500 by the operator as an update trigger. The driver is received from the external server 500. As a result, updating of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. Will be updated.
[0233]
(11) In the first embodiment described above, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image are set by using the access to the image forming apparatus 100 by the operator as an update trigger. The forming driver is received from the external server 500. As a result, updating of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. Is updated.
[0234]
<Modification of First Embodiment>
The description content in the above embodiment is a suitable example of the image forming program / driver management system and the image forming apparatus 100, and is not limited thereto.
[0235]
For example, in the above embodiment, the communication is performed from the image forming apparatus 100 to the external server 500 to download the update image forming program, the image forming driver, and the appropriate combination information. Each time the program is updated to a new version, the image forming apparatus 100 may transmit the appropriate combination information, the image forming program for updating, and the image forming driver to be downloaded.
[0236]
If the image forming apparatus 100 does not have a communication unit, a service person or the like may temporarily install the communication device and make a configuration connectable to the external server 500 to download the program. It may be.
[0237]
In addition, the detailed configuration and detailed operation of the image forming program / driver management system and each device constituting the system can be appropriately changed without departing from the spirit of the present invention.
[0238]
<Second embodiment>
FIG. 13 illustrates a configuration in which a plurality of external servers 500 (first external server 500 a to n-th external server 500 n) that manage an image forming program and an image forming driver can communicate with the plurality of external servers 500 via a network 400. 1 is a configuration diagram showing an image forming program / driver management system including an image forming apparatus 100 provided with a storage unit for storing an image forming program and an image forming driver.
[0239]
Here, the image forming apparatus 100 of the second embodiment and the client PCs 300 (here, PCs 300a to 300d) are communicably connected via the LAN 200 in the user area 10. The image forming apparatus 100 is, for example, a copying machine, a printer, a scanner, a facsimile machine, or the like, and may be a multifunction peripheral having these functions.
[0240]
Here, the client PC 300 can send a print request to the image forming apparatus 100. Then, the image forming apparatus 100 receiving such a print request forms an image corresponding to the image data from the client PC 300 on a recording sheet and outputs the image.
[0241]
The LAN 200 is connected to the network 400 via a firewall (not shown) or the like.
[0242]
Here, the network 400 is a network using various communication lines such as the Internet, an intranet, a public telephone line network, an ISDN line network, a dedicated line, a mobile communication network, a communication satellite line, a CATV line, and an optical communication line.
[0243]
In the image forming apparatus 100, reference numeral 111 denotes a CPU as control means for controlling each unit. The CPU 111 includes a transmission control unit that transmits system information including a system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information regarding a version of the image forming program to the external server, a version of the image forming program and a version of the image forming driver. And combination control information relating to a proper combination with the image forming program, a reception control means for receiving an image forming driver from the external server, and an image forming program which is a proper combination based on the proper combination information. A control unit having both functions of an update control unit for performing an update and a distribution control unit for distributing an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program to the client PC based on the appropriate combination information. .
[0244]
In addition, the CPU 111 serving as the control means determines a download server to communicate with from among the plurality of external servers by referring to an update notification from an external server or an access order included in a predetermined order table. It also constitutes server determination means. That is, a server that downloads a program and a driver among a plurality of external servers is a download server.
[0245]
112 is a flash memory as a non-volatile memory, 113 is a storage means capable of storing a large capacity such as an HDD or various optical disk devices, 114 is a RAM (Random Access Memory) as a work memory, and 115 is a ROM (Read Only Memory) It is.
[0246]
Here, in addition to a program for performing basic input / output at startup such as an image forming program (BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) of an image forming apparatus), a basic application program for image forming operation, and a program for image forming operation Of the application programs, etc.), the programs that need to be updated are stored in the flash memory 112 or the storage unit 113. Programs and various data that do not need to be updated are stored in the ROM 115.
[0247]
Reference numeral 116 denotes a communication unit as an I / F for performing communication between the image forming apparatus 100 and the outside. The communication unit 116 includes a modem, a TA, a router, and the like, and controls communication with an external server 500 and an external device connected to the network 400.
[0248]
Reference numeral 117 denotes an electronic signature verification unit that verifies the electronic signature of each of the plurality of external servers 500 to verify whether the download server is a correct distribution source of the program or the driver when the download is performed.
[0249]
Reference numeral 118 denotes a decryption means for decrypting a program or driver transmitted from the download server after being encrypted, thereby performing authentication as to whether the program or driver has been tampered with.
[0250]
An operation display unit 120 receives various operation inputs and displays the status of the apparatus. The operation display unit 120 is an operation panel in which the operation unit and the display unit are integrally configured. The operation display unit 120 is configured by an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) or the like, and displays various operation buttons, an image state display, an operation status of each function, and the like on a screen in accordance with an instruction of a display signal input from the CPU 111. The operation display unit 120 is configured by a pressure-sensitive (resistive film pressure) touch panel or the like in which transparent electrodes are arranged in a lattice shape, and preferably has a high light transmittance from the viewpoint of visibility. The operation display unit 120 detects, as a voltage value, the XY coordinates of the force point pressed by a finger or a touch pen or the like, and outputs the detected position signal to the CPU 111 as an operation signal. The operation display unit 120 includes various operation buttons such as a number button and a function button for switching various settings.
[0251]
Reference numeral 130 denotes a scanner unit that reads an image of a document. The scanner unit 130 includes a reading unit below a platen glass on which a document is placed, and reads an image of the document. The scanner unit 117 is configured by a light source, a CCD (Charge Coupled Device), and the like. The scanner unit 117 reads an image of a document by imaging reflected light of light scanned and illuminated from the light source to the document and photoelectrically converts the image, and reads the read image. Output to the print engine 150. Here, the image is not limited to image data such as figures and photographs, but also includes text data such as characters and symbols.
[0252]
Reference numeral 140 denotes an automatic document feeder (ADF) for automatically feeding a document. The ADF 140 is an automatic document feeder, and includes a feed roller, a feed belt, a discharge roller, and the like. Feed to a predetermined position. Also, the original whose reading has been completed is discharged.
[0253]
Reference numeral 150 denotes a print engine for forming an image corresponding to image data on recording paper. The print engine 150 includes, for image data input from the scanner unit 140 and image data received by the communication unit 116, an input instruction from the operation display unit 120 or an image data received from the communication unit 116. Image processing such as enlargement / reduction, rotation, and position change in accordance with the instruction data to form an image (toner image) on a recording sheet.
[0254]
Reference numeral 160 denotes a finisher (FNS) for performing post-processing such as sorting or stapling of recording paper on which images are formed. The FNS 160 sorts and staples the printing paper discharged from the discharging portion of the main body 100a.
[0255]
Note that the CPU 111 reads a control program for controlling the image forming apparatus 100 stored in the flash memory 112 or the ROM 115 into the RAM 114 and controls the entire image forming apparatus 100 according to the read control program. Further, the CPU 111 reads various processing programs stored in the flash memory 112 and the ROM 115 into the RAM 114, executes various processing including a program update processing and a recovery processing described later, stores the processing results in the RAM 114, and operates the RAM 114. It is displayed on the display unit 120.
[0256]
The flash memory 112 is a rewritable non-volatile semiconductor memory, and controls the image forming apparatus main body, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, the FNS 160, and programs and various processes for controlling the entire image forming apparatus 100. It stores programs and data processed by various processing programs. The program is stored in the form of a computer-readable program code, and the CPU 111 sequentially executes operations according to the program code.
[0257]
The storage unit 113 is a large-capacity storage device, and downloads from the external server 500, each image forming program corresponding to each module of the image forming apparatus main body, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, and the FNS 160, and the image used by the client PC 300. A formation driver (printer driver, scanner driver) is stored. The storage unit 113 stores update history management information of each image forming program and each image forming driver.
[0258]
In addition, it receives appropriate combination information on an appropriate combination of versions of each program transmitted from the external server 500, and downloads an update image forming program or image forming driver from the server 500 based on the received information. .
[0259]
The external server 500 is, for example, a server provided at a center of a maker or the like, and includes an image forming apparatus main body including the image forming apparatus 100 and optional devices such as an ADF (automatic document feeder) and an FNS (finisher). This stores and manages an appropriate combination information according to an image forming program and an image forming driver, a model, and a system configuration for updating for upgrading each program.
[0260]
In the second embodiment, the external server 500 is composed of a plurality of servers, each of which operates as a mirror server in which programs and drivers having the same contents are stored.
[0261]
Upon receiving the model, system configuration, and version information of each program from the image forming apparatus 100 via the network 400, the external server 500 transmits appropriate combination information according to the model and system configuration of the image forming apparatus 100. Further, when there is a request for transmission of the update image forming program and the image forming driver from the image forming apparatus 100, the image forming apparatus 100 transmits the requested image forming program and the image forming driver to the image forming apparatus 100.
[0262]
In the second embodiment, each image forming program for update transmitted from the external server 500 is a difference program between the program of the version before the update of the image forming apparatus 100 and the program of the version after the update. However, the entire program of the updated version may be transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100, and the entire program may be rewritten on the image forming apparatus 100 side.
[0263]
In the second embodiment, each of the update image forming drivers transmitted from the external server 500 is a difference driver between the driver of the image forming apparatus 100 of the version before the update and the driver of the version after the update. However, the entire driver of the updated version may be transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100, and the image forming apparatus 100 may manage the entire driver.
[0264]
Further, in the second embodiment, an external server 500 that manages an image forming program and an image forming driver, and is configured to be communicable with the external server and store the image forming program and the image forming driver. The image forming apparatus 100 provided with the storage means constitutes an image forming program / driver management system.
[0265]
In the second embodiment, the image forming program means firmware such as BIOS of the image forming apparatus, a basic program of image forming, and an application program of image forming.
[0266]
FIG. 14 is an explanatory diagram showing a storage state stored in the storage unit 113 such as an HDD. FIG. 14A shows an image forming program and an image forming driver for updating stored in the storage unit 113 such as an HDD. FIG. 14B is a schematic diagram showing the storage status of the access order of a plurality of external servers in which the storage unit 113 such as an HDD is stored as a ranking table. FIG.
[0267]
As shown in FIG. 14A, the storage means 113 such as an HDD has folders for storing image forming programs for each module of the main body 100a, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, and the FNS 160. The image forming program in the differential program format at the time of version upgrade is stored with the same file name as the new version number.
[0268]
Similarly, as shown in FIG. 14A, the storage unit 113 such as an HDD has folders for storing image forming drivers for each module such as a scanner driver and a printer driver. The image forming driver in the differential driver format at the time of version upgrade is stored with the same file name as the new version number.
[0269]
Further, as shown in FIG. 14B, in the storage unit 113 such as an HDD, the access order in which the image forming apparatus 100 accesses a plurality of external servers 500 is stored according to the priority order.
[0270]
FIG. 15 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example of the update history management information stored in the storage unit 113 such as an HDD. In the example of FIG. 15, an image forming program has a file name ending in “_P” and an image forming driver has a file name ending in “_d”.
[0271]
As shown in FIG. 15, the update history management information includes an update date and time when an update image forming program and an image formation driver are downloaded or recovered from the external server 500, and the update date and time. An update history including the version of each program and driver is stored.
[0272]
In addition, in the version of a program or a driver in which another program that must operate at the same time exists, a program name and version information that must be simultaneously downloaded are stored together with the symbol * after the version.
[0273]
In this update history management information, the update date is index data, the combination of the versions of each program after the update on this update date can be easily searched, the update history of each program alone can be managed, and each update date can be managed. The combination of the versions of each program can be managed.
[0274]
In addition, in the update history management information, the download server name is recorded after the update date as to which external server was used as the download server. Further, whether the update has been executed normally (/ OK) or whether the update has not been executed normally (/ NG) is recorded for each program or driver.
[0275]
Here, an example is shown in which SERVER # 1 is recorded when the first external server 500a is a download server, and SERVER # 2 is recorded when the second external server 500b is a download server.
[0276]
Hereinafter, the internal configuration of the external server 500 will be described in detail.
[0277]
As shown in FIG. 13, the external server 500 includes a CPU 501, a memory 502, a communication unit 503, an operation display unit 510, a storage unit 520, an electronic signature generation unit 530, an encryption unit 540, and the like. And a data bus.
[0278]
Here, a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 501 reads a system program stored in the storage unit 520 and centrally controls the operation of each unit according to the system program. In addition, the CPU 501 executes various processes according to the read system program 520_0 (see FIG. 16), stores the results in the memory 502, and causes the operation display unit 510 to display the results. Then, the processing result stored in the memory 502 is stored in a predetermined storage destination of the storage unit 520.
[0279]
In the second embodiment, when the CPU 501 receives the model, the system configuration, and the version information of the current program corresponding to each module from the image forming apparatus 100 via the communication unit 503, the CPU 501 stores the information in the storage unit 520. With reference to the appropriate combination file 520_2 (see FIG. 16), the appropriate combination of the version of each program in the model of the image forming apparatus 100, the system configuration, and the current version of each program is determined. The proper combination information that is the proper combination is transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100.
[0280]
The image forming program and the image forming driver for update requested to be transmitted from the image forming apparatus 100 are read from the program driver DB 520_1 (see FIG. 16) and transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100.
[0281]
Further, the memory 502 temporarily stores system programs, control programs, input or output data, parameters, and the like, which can be executed by the external server 500 and read from the storage unit 520 in various processes controlled by the CPU 501. Area.
[0282]
The communication unit 503 includes a modem, a TA, a router, and the like, and controls communication with the image forming apparatus 100 and an external device connected to the network 400.
[0283]
The operation display unit 510 includes a keyboard having character / alphanumeric input keys, a cursor key, various function keys, and the like, and a mouse as a pointing device, and a pressing signal of a key pressed by the keyboard. And an operation signal from the mouse are output to CPU 501 as input signals. The operation display unit 510 includes an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), or the like, and displays various data on a display screen in accordance with an instruction of a display signal input from the CPU 501.
[0284]
The storage unit 520 includes a hard disk drive (HDD), a non-volatile semiconductor memory, and the like, and includes a system program corresponding to the external server 500, various processing programs executable on the system program, and processing by these programs. The stored data and the like are stored. The program is stored in the form of a computer-readable program code, and the CPU 501 sequentially executes operations according to the program code.
[0285]
The storage unit 520 stores appropriate combination information regarding an appropriate combination of the version of the image forming program and the version of the image forming driver, the image forming program, and the image forming driver.
[0286]
That is, in the second embodiment, as shown in FIG. 16, the storage unit 520 includes the image forming apparatus 100 in addition to the system program 520_0 for operating the external server 500 itself. A program / driver DB 520_1 for storing an image forming program and an image forming driver for updating an apparatus such as a main body of the image forming apparatus, an ADF (automatic document feeder), an optional device such as a FNS (finisher), and a model and system An appropriate combination file 520_2 storing appropriate combination information according to the configuration is stored.
[0287]
Further, in the second embodiment, as shown in FIG. 16, when the storage unit 520 is internally selected as a download server from a plurality of external servers 500, the storage unit 520 transmits the image data to the image forming apparatus 100. Server ID 520_3 to be transmitted. Then, on the image forming apparatus 100 side, the CPU 111 records the server ID in the update history management information with reference to the server ID 520_3 (see FIG. 15).
[0288]
Further, in the second embodiment, the electronic signature generation unit 530 is used to certify that each of the plurality of external servers 500 can be a download server having a qualification to be a correct distribution source of a program or driver. Generate a digital signature. The digital signature is sent to the image forming apparatus 100 along with the program and the driver, and the digital signature verification unit 117 of the image forming apparatus 100 verifies the digital signature.
[0289]
In the second embodiment, the encryption unit 540 encrypts a program or a driver to be sent to the image forming apparatus 100 in advance, so that the program or the driver is falsified on the image forming apparatus 100. It is possible to authenticate whether or not there is no authentication.
[0290]
Here, the operation of the image forming apparatus 100 according to the second embodiment and the operation of the image forming program / driver management system of the image forming apparatus will be described with reference to the flowcharts of FIG.
[0291]
FIG. 17 shows the flow of a processing content determination routine for determining the content of various types of processing executed by the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100 in the second embodiment.
[0292]
It is assumed that the CPU 111 determines a server that downloads a program or driver from the external server 500 as the download server 500x based on the address information (FIG. 14B) in the HDD 113. It is assumed that any one of the first external server 500a to the n-th external server 500n in the download server 500 is determined as the download server 500x based on the priority.
[0293]
When the priority of the download server 500x is determined as described above, the download server 500x may be selected and determined from different external servers 500 for each image forming apparatus 100 in order to avoid traffic on the network. desirable.
[0294]
The CPU 111 monitors each unit of the image forming apparatus 100, and when the communication unit 116 receives an update notification from the outside (S1 in FIG. 17), whether the update notification is a notification from the external server 500, and whether the update is It is checked whether or not the content of the notification is a notification about updating of the image forming program or the image forming driver (S2 in FIG. 17). At this point, an external server 500 other than the determined download server 500x may be used.
[0295]
When the received update notification is not from the determined external server 500, or when the content of the update notification is not a notification of an update of the image forming program or the image forming driver (N in FIG. 17S2), the CPU 111 determines the processing content. The routine ends, and the operation returns to the normal system program operation (FIG. 17 end).
[0296]
When a new version of the image forming program or the image forming driver is stored in the program driver DB 520_1 of the storage unit 520 in the external server 500, the CPU 501 sends an update notification regarding the update notification via the network 400 to the image forming apparatus. Send to 100.
[0297]
Further, in addition to such spontaneous transmission by the CPU 501 of the external server 500, in response to an update notification inquiry from the communication unit 116 based on the operation of the operation display unit 120 by the operator of the image forming apparatus 100, the update is performed. Is transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100.
[0298]
Further, in addition to such spontaneous transmission by the CPU 501 of the external server 500, the update notification is displayed in response to an inquiry about the update notification from various portable terminals operated by the operator of the image forming apparatus 100 or a customer engineer. It is transmitted to the forming apparatus 100.
[0299]
On the other hand, there is also a method of transmitting an update notification regarding an update instruction from various portable terminals operated by an operator of the image forming apparatus 100 or a customer engineer to the image forming apparatus, and activating a program update routine of the image forming apparatus.
[0300]
Alternatively, there is a method in which an operator or a customer engineer activates a program update routine of the image forming apparatus 100 by inputting an update instruction from the operation display unit 120.
[0301]
Further, various portable terminals operated by an operator or a customer engineer of the image forming apparatus 100 are connected to the image forming apparatus 100 by a cable, infrared rays, wireless communication, or the like, and an update instruction from the portable terminal is transmitted to the image forming apparatus. Then, there is a method of activating a program update routine of the image forming apparatus.
[0302]
As described above, the update notification from the external server 500 or the operation of the operator or the customer engineer can be used as an “update trigger” at the time of updating the image forming program and the image forming driver. Updates are possible. Further, there is no need to provide a management server or the like on the user's LAN.
[0303]
If the received update notification is from the external server 500 and the content of the update notification is a notification about an update of the image forming program or the image forming driver (Y in S2 in FIG. 17), if the setting is manual setting, the image is Whether or not to update the forming program or the image forming driver is displayed on the display panel of the operation display unit 120 to request the operator's approval (S3 in FIG. 17).
[0304]
If the setting is a manual setting and the operator does not approve the updating of the image forming program or the image forming driver (N in S3 of FIG. 17), the CPU 111 ends the processing content determination routine and returns to the normal operation of the system program. (End of FIG. 17).
[0305]
If the setting is not the manual setting (in the case of the automatic setting), or if the setting is the manual setting and the operator agrees to update the image forming program or the image forming driver (Y in S3 of FIG. 17), the CPU 111 executes the program update processing routine. (See FIG. 18) (S4 in FIG. 17).
[0306]
FIG. 18 is a flowchart illustrating a program update processing routine executed by the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100. Hereinafter, the program update process will be described with reference to FIG.
[0307]
When this program update processing routine is started, the CPU 111 executes an optimal combination determination routine (S1 in FIG. 18). This optimum combination determination routine is a subroutine shown in FIG.
[0308]
Here, the CPU 111 transmits the model of the image forming apparatus 100, the system configuration, and the version of the program corresponding to each module to the external server 500 via the network 400 by the communication unit 116 (S1 in FIG. 19). Then, it waits for a response from the external server 500 (S2 in FIG. 19).
[0309]
When the image forming apparatus 100 is in the response standby state in FIG. 19S2, the CPU 501 of the external server 500 receives the model, the system configuration, and the version information of the program corresponding to each module from the image forming apparatus 100 via the communication unit 503. Then, referring to the appropriate combination file 520_2 stored in the storage unit 520, the latest appropriate combination of the versions of each program in the model and system configuration of the image forming apparatus 100 is determined, and the version of each program is checked. The proper combination information that is the proper combination is transmitted to the image forming apparatus 100 via the communication unit 503.
[0310]
Upon receiving the appropriate combination information transmitted from the external server 500 (S3 in FIG. 19), the CPU 111 displays this on the appropriate version management screen 1201 (see FIG. 8) on the operation panel of the operation display unit 120 (S4 in FIG. 19). Alternatively, the appropriate combination information is transmitted to the transmission destination of the update notification.
[0311]
When a certain program is selected from the appropriate version management screen (S4 in FIG. 19) and an instruction to start updating is given (Y in FIG. 18S2), the CPU 111 executes a program download routine shown in FIG. 20 (S3 in FIG. 18). .
[0312]
In the above operation, the communication is to the external server 500 that has transmitted the update notification. However, in the second embodiment, the priority is determined in the following download routine. Communication with the download server.
[0313]
Here, the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100 sets m = 1 (S1 in FIG. 20), and attempts to access the download server 500x having the m-th priority in the external server 500. That is, first, an attempt is made to access the download server 500x having the highest priority. In this case, as shown in FIG. 14B, the access order stored in the storage unit 113 such as an HDD is referred to.
[0314]
Here, if the access is not possible even if the access is attempted for a certain period of time (N in S3 in FIG. 20), the CPU 111 increases m by 1 (S4 in FIG. 20) and attempts to access the download server 500x after the second priority (S2 in FIG. 20). ).
[0315]
When the access to the download server 500x of any priority is successful, the program and the driver are downloaded from the download server 500x (S5 in FIG. 20). That is, a request for transmission of the update image forming program and the image forming driver of the program instructed to be updated is made, and the update image forming program and the image forming driver are downloaded from the download server 500x (FIG. 20S5).
[0316]
As described above, by determining the download server 500x according to the priority, if the predetermined priority differs for each image forming apparatus, it is possible to prevent concentration of accesses.
[0317]
If access is not successful even after a certain period of time, the priority is given to the next download server 500x, so that access is concentrated on the same download server 500x and network traffic is avoided. it can.
[0318]
Here, the CPU 111 and the electronic signature verification unit 117 extract the electronic signature attached to the program and the driver that have executed the download, and authenticate whether the download server 500x is the correct distribution source from the electronic signature. (S5 in FIG. 18). In this case, various authentication methods can be used.
[0319]
Here, the CPU 111 and the decryption unit 118 verify whether or not the contents have been tampered with in the process of decrypting the downloaded program and driver. It should be noted that various methods can be used for verification of this falsification. For example, code signing using a digital signature can be used.
[0320]
If it is determined as a result of the authentication that the source is not the correct distribution source, or if the result of the verification is that falsification has been found (N in FIG. 18S5), the CPU 111 discards the downloaded program and driver without updating them. I do.
[0321]
As a result of the authentication, if it is determined that the source is a correct distribution source and it is verified that the source has not been tampered with (Y in S5 in FIG. 18), the CPU 111 executes the image formation in the flash memory 112 or the storage unit 113 for the program and driver downloaded earlier. The program is rewritten (S6 in FIG. 18).
[0322]
The image forming driver is downloaded to a predetermined area such as the storage unit 113 in the image forming apparatus 100 in order to transfer the image forming driver to the client PC 300 as described later.
[0323]
The above-mentioned download, authentication, and verification are executed for all necessary programs and drivers (N in FIG. 18S7 → FIG. 18S2 to FIG. 18S6).
[0324]
Then, the CPU 111 executes steps S3 to S6 for all the image forming programs to be upgraded, and when an end is instructed from the operation display unit 120 (Y in S8 in FIG. 18), the update history information is displayed on the operation display unit 120. The screen 1202 (see FIG. 21) is displayed (S8 in FIG. 18).
[0325]
Also, in the case where it is determined as a result of the authentication that the distribution source is not the correct distribution source, or in the case where the falsification has been discovered as a result of the verification (N in FIG. 18S5), the CPU 111 executes all the image forming programs scheduled to be upgraded. , An update history information screen 1202 (see FIG. 21) is displayed on the operation display section 120 (S8 in FIG. 18).
[0326]
In this update history information screen 1202, when it is determined that the distribution source is not the correct distribution source for each program and driver, or when tampering is found by verification, or when the download is not completed normally Is displayed as / NG. In addition, when the authentication is determined to be the correct distribution source by the authentication, the falsification is not detected by the verification, and the download is normally completed, / OK is displayed.
[0327]
Then, when an instruction to register the update history of the current program is input from the update history information screen (Y in S9 of FIG. 18), the CPU 111 stores the update date, the update date, and the update history management information in the storage unit 113 such as an HDD. In addition to registering the updated version of each program and the information of the program indicated to require simultaneous operation from the download server 500x, the program was downloaded from the download server 500x to each folder of the main body 100a, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, and the FNS 160. A difference program between the pre-update program and the post-update program is registered with the same file name as the version number (S10 in FIG. 18).
[0328]
In the program updating process, the program can be instructed to start updating for each module. Therefore, even when the image forming apparatus 100 is operating, the program of a module that is not operating can be rewritten. Also, even if the program rewriting fails, it can be operated only with the basic functions.
[0329]
FIG. 21 is an explanatory diagram showing an example of the update history information screen 1202 displayed on the operation display unit 120 in step S8 of FIG. In the update history information screen 1202 shown in FIG. 21, the update date is associated with the program version of each module updated on the update date, and is displayed in order from the latest update date. That is, the history immediately after the update is displayed at the top.
[0330]
When the “history registration” displayed on the left side of the highest-level history is pressed, the process proceeds to step S10 in FIG. 18, and the update date and the currently updated The update history of the version for each program is registered, and the difference program of each program downloaded from the download server 500x is stored in the folder corresponding to the main body unit 100a, the ADF 140, the print engine 150, and the FNS 160. Registered with a file name.
[0331]
After the registration, the update history information screen 1202 is displayed by changing the “history registration” button to a “return” button, as shown in FIG. OK is displayed in the uppermost update result column.
[0332]
Also in this update history information screen 1202, when it is determined by authentication that the distribution source is not the correct distribution source, or when tampering is found by verification, or when the download does not end normally Is displayed as / NG. In addition, when the authentication is determined to be the correct distribution source by the authentication, the falsification is not detected by the verification, and the download is normally completed, / OK is displayed.
[0333]
<Effect obtained by the second embodiment>
According to the second embodiment described in detail above, the following effects (1) to (11) can be obtained.
[0334]
(1) In the above second embodiment, the image forming apparatus 100 transmits system information including the system configuration of the image forming apparatus 100 and version information on the version of the image forming program to the external server 500, The appropriate combination information is received from the external server 500. Then, the image forming program which is a proper combination based on the proper combination information is received from the download server 500x among the plurality of external servers and updated according to a predetermined priority. Further, based on the appropriate combination information, an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is delivered to the client PC 300. As a result, updating of a program (image forming program) of the image forming apparatus 100 and an image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC 300 at the time of forming an image can be performed without providing a management server or the like. , And an appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver is updated.
[0335]
(2) In the second embodiment described above, the client PC 300 capable of transmitting a print request to the image forming apparatus 100 is connected to the image forming apparatus 100 in the above (1). Next, an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is distributed to the client PC 300 based on the appropriate combination information. As a result, updating of a program (image forming program) of the image forming apparatus 100 and an image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC 300 at the time of forming an image can be performed without providing a management server or the like. , And an appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver is updated at an appropriate timing.
[0336]
(3) In the above second embodiment, in (1) and (2), a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver are stored, and an appropriate combination according to the update history is stored. Based on the information, a version of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the restored (recovered) image forming program is delivered to the client PC 300. As a result, the update of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus 100 can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update an appropriate combination with the above.
[0337]
(4) In the second embodiment described above, in (3) above, the image forming apparatus 100 includes an operation unit through which an operation input is performed, and forms an image of a version designated via the operation unit. I try to restore to the program. As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus 100 can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is performed.
[0338]
(5) In the second embodiment described above, in the above (3) or (4), a plurality of versions of the image which are a proper combination for the restored image forming program based on the proper combination information. Among the formation drivers, the version specified by the operation means is distributed to the client PC 300. As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus 100 can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is performed. Then, it is possible to specify an arbitrary version within the range of such an appropriate combination.
[0339]
(6) In the second embodiment described above, in (1) to (5), a difference program from the previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. For this reason, the file size of the image forming program for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
In addition, since the updated program is stored as a difference program from the previous program, the storage capacity can be minimized, the cost can be reduced, and the registration time can be reduced.
[0340]
(7) In the second embodiment described above, in (1) to (6), a difference driver from the image forming driver of the previous version is used as the image forming driver. For this reason, the file size of the image forming driver for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
[0341]
(8) In the second embodiment described above, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are transmitted by using the update notification from the external server 500 as an update trigger. The data is received from the download server 500x. As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like, and the appropriateness between the image forming program and the driver can be ensured at appropriate timing. Update of the combination is performed.
[0342]
(9) In the second embodiment described above, in the above (1) to (7), there is provided an operation means for performing an operation input, and the reception control means uses an operation from the operation means as an update trigger. , Appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver are received from the download server 500x.
[0343]
As a result, updating of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. Is updated.
[0344]
(10) In the above second embodiment, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming are performed by using the access to the external server 500 by the operator as an update trigger. The driver is received from the download server 500x. As a result, updating of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. Is updated.
[0345]
(11) In the above second embodiment, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image are set by using the access to the image forming apparatus 100 by the operator as an update trigger. The forming driver is received from the download server 500x. As a result, updating of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus 100 without providing a management server or the like. Is updated.
[0346]
(12) In the second embodiment described above, in the above (1) to (11), when a download server is determined and downloaded from a plurality of external servers, the downloaded program or driver is correctly distributed. It is possible to authenticate the original.
[0347]
(13) In the second embodiment described above, in the above (1) to (11), when a download server is determined and downloaded from a plurality of external servers, the downloaded program or driver is falsified. It is possible to authenticate the correct contents that are not correct.
[0348]
(14) In the second embodiment described above, in the above (1) to (13), when a download server is determined and downloaded from a plurality of external servers, the model of the image forming apparatus is further determined. Each program can be updated with a version that is an appropriate combination according to the configuration of the device such as the system configuration, so that it is possible to prevent an operation error after updating due to an incompatible version of each program, Even a user or an inexperienced service person can easily, quickly and safely update a program.
[0349]
<Modification of Second Embodiment>
The description content in the above embodiment is a suitable example of the image forming program / driver management system and the image forming apparatus 100, and is not limited thereto.
[0350]
For example, in the above embodiment, the image forming apparatus 100 is configured to communicate with the download server 500x to download the update image forming program, the image forming driver, and the appropriate combination information. Every time the program is updated to a new version, the image forming apparatus 100 may transmit the appropriate combination information, the image forming program for updating, and the image forming driver to be downloaded.
[0351]
When the image forming apparatus 100 does not have a communication unit, a service person or the like temporarily installs the communication device and configures the communication device to be connectable to the download server 500x so that the program can be downloaded. It may be.
[0352]
In addition, the detailed configuration and detailed operation of the image forming program / driver management system and each device constituting the system can be appropriately changed without departing from the spirit of the present invention.
[0353]
【The invention's effect】
As described above, according to the present invention, the following effects can be obtained.
[0354]
(1) In the first aspect, the image forming apparatus transmits system information including a system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information on a version of the image forming program to the external server, and transmits appropriate combination information and an image forming program. , And an image forming driver from the external server. Then, the update is performed by the image forming program that provides a proper combination based on the proper combination information. Further, based on the appropriate combination information, an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is delivered to the client PC. As a result, updating of the program of the image forming apparatus (image forming program) and the image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC when forming an image is managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver.
[0355]
(2) In a second aspect based on the first aspect, a client PC capable of sending a print request to the image forming apparatus is connected, and when a print request is received from the client PC, an appropriate combination is set. An image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is distributed to the client PC based on the information. As a result, updating of the program of the image forming apparatus (image forming program) and the image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC when forming an image is managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver at an appropriate timing.
[0356]
(3) In the third invention, in the invention of the above (1) and (2), a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver are stored, and based on the appropriate combination information according to the update history. Then, a version of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the restored (recovered) image forming program is distributed to the client PC. As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination.
[0357]
(4) In a fourth aspect based on the third aspect, the image forming apparatus includes an operation unit for performing an operation input, and restores the image forming program to a version specified through the operation unit. Like that. As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is executed.
[0358]
(5) In the fifth invention, in the invention according to the above (3) or (4), based on the proper combination information, a plurality of versions of the image forming driver which are in a proper combination with the restored image forming program are provided. From among them, the version specified by the operation means is distributed to the client PC. As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is executed. Then, it is possible to specify an arbitrary version within the range of such an appropriate combination.
[0359]
(6) In a sixth aspect based on the first to fifth aspects, as the image forming program, a difference program from a previous version of the image forming program is used. For this reason, the file size of the image forming program for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
[0360]
(7) In a seventh invention, in the inventions of the above (1) to (6), a difference driver from the image forming driver of the previous version is used as the image forming driver. For this reason, the file size of the image forming driver for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
[0361]
(8) In an eighth aspect based on the inventions of (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are transmitted from the external server by using an e-mail from the external server as an update trigger. I try to receive. As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. The combination is updated.
[0362]
(9) In a ninth invention, in the invention of the above (1) to (7), there is provided an operation means for performing an operation input, and the reception control means uses an operation from the operation means as an update trigger to select an appropriate combination. Information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver are received from the external server.
[0363]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0364]
(10) In the tenth invention, in the above-mentioned inventions (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are transmitted to the external server by using an access to the external server by the operator as an update trigger. It receives from the server. As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0365]
(11) In the eleventh invention, in the above (1) to (7), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are transmitted to the external device by using an access to the image forming apparatus 100 by the operator as an update trigger. It receives from the server. As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0366]
(12) In the twelfth aspect, the image forming apparatus determines a download server to be communicated from among a plurality of external servers, and sets a system information including a system configuration of the image forming apparatus and a version related to a version of the image forming program. Information is transmitted to the external server, proper combination information is received from the external server, and an image forming program and an image forming driver are received from the download server. Then, the update is performed by the image forming program that provides a proper combination based on the proper combination information. Further, based on the appropriate combination information, an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is delivered to the client PC.
[0367]
As a result, updating of the program of the image forming apparatus (image forming program) and the image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC when forming an image is managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver.
[0368]
When a download server to communicate with is determined from a plurality of external servers, the download server is determined according to a predetermined order. If a problem occurs in the external server, a lower-order external server is used as the download server. decide. By doing so, even if congestion, server down, address designation error, or the like has occurred, it is possible to determine a download server that can reliably communicate and perform communication.
[0369]
(13) In the thirteenth aspect, in the above (12), a client PC capable of transmitting a print request to the image forming apparatus is connected, and when a print request is received from the client PC, the appropriate combination information is transmitted. An image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the image forming program is distributed to the client PC based on the image forming program.
[0370]
As a result, updating of the program of the image forming apparatus (image forming program) and the image forming driver (printer driver, scanner driver) used by the client PC when forming an image is managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver at an appropriate timing.
[0371]
(14) In the fourteenth invention, in the above (12) and (13), a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver are stored, and based on the appropriate combination information according to the update history, A version of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the restored (recovered) image forming program is distributed to the client PC.
[0372]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. It is possible to update the appropriate combination.
[0373]
(15) In a fifteenth aspect, in the above (14), the image forming apparatus includes an operation unit for performing an operation input, and restores the image forming program to a version specified by the operation unit. ing.
[0374]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is executed.
[0375]
(16) In the sixteenth aspect, in the above (14) or (15), based on the proper combination information, a plurality of versions of the image forming driver that are in a proper combination with the restored image forming program are selected. The designated version is distributed to the client PC via the operation means.
[0376]
As a result, updating of the program and the image forming driver of the image forming apparatus can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like, and restoration (recovery) to an arbitrary state is possible. In addition, it is possible to update the appropriate combination of the image forming program and the driver even when the restoration is executed. Then, it is possible to specify an arbitrary version within the range of such an appropriate combination.
[0377]
(17) In the seventeenth invention, in the above (12) to (16), a difference program from a previous version of the image forming program is used as the image forming program. For this reason, the file size of the image forming program for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy. In addition, since the updated program is stored as a difference program from the previous program, the storage capacity can be minimized, the cost can be reduced, and the registration time can be reduced.
[0378]
(18) In the eighteenth aspect, in the above (12) to (17), a difference driver from the previous version of the image forming driver is used as the image forming driver. For this reason, the file size of the image forming driver for updating becomes small, and handling becomes easy.
[0379]
(19) In the nineteenth invention, in any of the above (12) to (18), the proper combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are received from the download server by using an email from the download server as an update trigger. Like that.
[0380]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server or the like. The combination is updated.
[0381]
(20) In a twentieth aspect, in any one of the above (12) to (18), there is provided an operation means for performing an operation input, and the reception control means uses the operation from the operation means as an update trigger to obtain appropriate combination information, An image forming program and an image forming driver are received from the download server.
[0382]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0383]
(21) In the twenty-first invention, in the above (12) to (18), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are transmitted from the download server by using the access to the external server by the operator as an update trigger. I try to receive.
[0384]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0385]
(22) In the twenty-second invention, in any one of (12) to (18), the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver are transmitted to the download server by using an access to the image forming apparatus by the operator as an update trigger. I try to receive more.
[0386]
As a result, the update of the image forming program and the image forming driver can be managed by the image forming apparatus without providing a management server and the like, and the image forming program and the driver can be surely connected at an appropriate timing. The appropriate combination is updated.
[0387]
(23) In the twenty-third invention, in (12) to (22), when a download server is determined and downloaded from a plurality of external servers, it is determined whether the downloaded program or driver is from a correct distribution source. It becomes possible to authenticate.
[0388]
(24) In the twenty-fourth aspect, in (12) to (22), when a download server is determined from a plurality of external servers and downloaded, whether the downloaded program or driver has correct content that has not been tampered with is determined. It becomes possible to authenticate.
[0389]
(25) According to each of the above-described inventions (1) to (11), each program is further updated with a version that is an appropriate combination according to the configuration of the apparatus such as the model of the image forming apparatus and the system configuration. Can prevent operation errors after updating due to inconsistency of each program version, and make it easy, quick and safe to update programs even for users and inexperienced service personnel. Becomes possible.
[0390]
(26) According to each of the above-mentioned inventions (12) to (24), when a download server is determined from a plurality of external servers and downloaded, the model of the image forming apparatus, the system configuration, and the like are further determined. Each program can be updated with an appropriate combination of versions according to the configuration of the device, so it is possible to prevent operation errors after updating due to inconsistencies in the version of each program beforehand, and to improve the user and experience. Even a shallow service person can easily, quickly and safely update the program.
[Brief description of the drawings]
FIG. 1 is a block diagram conceptually showing the overall configuration of an image forming program / driver management system according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is an explanatory diagram schematically showing a storage state of a difference program and a difference driver stored in a storage unit according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is an explanatory diagram showing an example of update history management information stored in a storage unit according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is an explanatory diagram illustrating a data storage configuration of a storage unit 520 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is an explanatory diagram showing an example of data storage inside a proper combination file 520_2 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a processing content determination routine for determining the content of various types of processing executed by the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a flowchart of a program update process executed by the CPU 111 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 is an explanatory diagram showing an appropriate version management screen 1201 displayed on the operation display unit 120 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 9 is an explanatory diagram showing an update history information screen 1202 displayed on the operation display unit 120 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 10 is an explanatory diagram showing an update history information screen 1202 displayed on the operation display unit 120 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 11 is a flowchart of a driver update process executed by the CPU 111 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 12 is a flowchart of a recovery process executed by the CPU 111 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 13 is a block diagram conceptually showing the overall configuration of an image forming program / driver management system according to the present invention.
FIG. 14 is an explanatory diagram schematically showing a storage state of a difference program and a difference driver stored in a storage unit in the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 15 is an explanatory diagram illustrating an example of update history management information stored in a storage unit according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 16 is an explanatory diagram showing a data storage configuration of storage means 520 in the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 17 is a flowchart illustrating a processing content determination routine for determining the content of various processing executed by the CPU 111 of the image forming apparatus 100 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 18 is a flowchart of a program update process executed by the CPU 111 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 19 is a flowchart of an optimal combination determination routine executed by the CPU 111 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 20 is a flowchart of a program download executed by the CPU 111 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 21 is an explanatory diagram showing an update history information screen 1202 displayed on the operation display unit 120 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 22 is an explanatory diagram showing an update history information screen 1202 displayed on the operation display unit 120 according to the embodiment of the present invention.
[Explanation of symbols]
1 Image forming program / driver management system
100 Image forming apparatus
100a main body
111 CPU
112 Flash memory
113 storage means
114 RAM
115 ROM
116 communication unit
120 Operation display section
130 Scanner section
140 ADF
150 Print Engine
160 FNS
500 external server (500a-500n)
501 CPU
502 Memory
503 Communication unit
510 Operation display section
520 storage means
500x download server

Claims (48)

  1. An image forming apparatus configured to be able to communicate with an external server that manages an image forming program and an image forming driver, and including storage means for storing the image forming program and the image forming driver,
    Transmission control means for transmitting system information including the system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information on the version of the image forming program to the external server;
    Proper combination information on a proper combination of the version of the image forming program and the version of the image forming driver, an image forming program, and a reception control unit that receives the image forming driver from the external server;
    Update control means for updating the operation program by an image forming program that is a proper combination based on the proper combination information,
    A distribution control unit that distributes an image forming driver that is a proper combination to the image forming program to the client PC based on the proper combination information;
    An image forming apparatus comprising:
  2. The distribution control unit, upon receiving a print request from a client PC, distributes an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for an image forming program to the client PC based on the appropriate combination information.
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:
  3. Storage means for storing a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver,
    Update history storage means for storing an update history of the image forming program and the image forming driver;
    Restoration control means capable of restoring the specified version of the image forming program,
    The distribution control unit distributes, to the client PC, a version of the image forming driver that is a proper combination for the restored image forming program, based on the proper combination information.
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:
  4. Operating means for inputting operations,
    The restoration control unit restores an image forming program of a version specified via the operation unit;
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 3, wherein:
  5. Operating means for inputting operations,
    The distribution control unit, based on the appropriate combination information, from among a plurality of versions of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the restored image forming program, Distribute things to client PCs,
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 3, wherein:
  6. As the image forming program, using a difference program from the previous version of the image forming program,
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:
  7. As the image forming driver, a difference driver from an image forming driver of a previous version is used.
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:
  8. The reception control unit receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the external server, using an e-mail from the external server as an update trigger,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein:
  9. Operating means for inputting operations,
    The reception control unit receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the external server, using an operation from the operation unit as an update trigger,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein:
  10. The reception control means receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the external server, using an access to the external server by the operator as an update trigger,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein:
  11. The reception control means receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the external server, using an access to the image forming apparatus by an operator as an update trigger,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein:
  12. An external server that manages an image forming program and an image forming driver, and an image forming apparatus that is configured to be communicable with the external server and includes storage means for storing the image forming program and the image forming driver. An image forming program / driver management system,
    The external server includes: a proper combination information regarding a proper combination of a version of the image forming program and a version of the image forming driver; an image forming program; and storage means for storing the image forming driver; Communication means for transmitting an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver to the image forming apparatus in response to the request;
    The image forming apparatus includes: a transmission control unit configured to transmit system information including a system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information regarding a version of the image forming program to the external server; proper combination information; an image forming program; Reception control means for receiving a formation driver from the external server; update control means for updating an operation program by an image forming program which is a proper combination based on the proper combination information; and image formation based on the proper combination information. Distribution control means for distributing an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the program to the client PC.
    An image forming program / driver management system, characterized in that:
  13. A client PC capable of sending a print request to the image forming apparatus is connected;
    The distribution control unit, upon receiving a print request from a client PC, distributes an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for an image forming program to the client PC based on the appropriate combination information.
    13. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 12, wherein:
  14. The image forming apparatus includes a storage unit that stores a plurality of different versions of an image forming program and an image forming driver; an update history storing unit that stores an update history of the image forming program and the image forming driver; Restoration control means capable of restoring an image forming program of an arbitrary version,
    The distribution control unit distributes, to the client PC, a version of the image forming driver that is a proper combination for the restored image forming program, based on the proper combination information.
    14. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 12, wherein:
  15. The image forming apparatus includes an operation unit through which an operation input is performed,
    The restoration control unit restores an image forming program of a version specified via the operation unit;
    The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 14, wherein:
  16. The image forming apparatus includes an operation unit through which an operation input is performed,
    The distribution control unit, based on the appropriate combination information, from among a plurality of versions of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the restored image forming program, Distribute things to client PCs,
    16. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 14, wherein:
  17. As the image forming program, using a difference program from the previous version of the image forming program,
    17. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 12, wherein:
  18. As the image forming driver, a difference driver from an image forming driver of a previous version is used.
    The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 12 to 17, wherein:
  19. The reception control unit of the image forming apparatus receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the external server using an email from an external server as an update trigger.
    The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 12 to 18, wherein:
  20. The image forming apparatus includes an operation unit through which an operation input is performed,
    The reception control unit receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the external server, using an operation from the operation unit as an update trigger,
    The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 12 to 18, wherein:
  21. The reception control unit of the image forming apparatus receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the external server, using an access to an external server by an operator as an update trigger,
    The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 12 to 18, wherein:
  22. The reception control unit of the image forming apparatus receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the external server, using an access to the image forming apparatus by an operator as an update trigger,
    The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 12 to 18, wherein:
  23. An image forming apparatus configured to be able to communicate with a plurality of external servers that manage an image forming program and an image forming driver, and including storage means for storing the image forming program and the image forming driver,
    Download server determining means for determining a download server with which the image forming apparatus should communicate from among the plurality of external servers;
    Transmission control means for transmitting system information including the system configuration of the image forming apparatus and version information on the version of the image forming program to the external server;
    Receiving control means for receiving, from the external server, proper combination information on a proper combination of the version of the image forming program and the version of the image forming driver, and receiving the image forming program and the image forming driver from the download server;
    Update control means for updating the operation program by an image forming program that is a proper combination based on the proper combination information,
    A distribution control unit that distributes an image forming driver that is a proper combination to the image forming program to the client PC based on the proper combination information;
    With
    The download server determining means determines a download server to be communicated from among the plurality of external servers by referring to an update notification from an external server or an access order included in a predetermined order table.
    An image forming apparatus comprising:
  24. The distribution control unit, upon receiving a print request from a client PC, distributes an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for an image forming program to the client PC based on the appropriate combination information.
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 23, wherein:
  25. Storage means for storing a plurality of different versions of the image forming program and the image forming driver,
    Update history storage means for storing an update history of the image forming program and the image forming driver;
    Restoration control means capable of restoring the specified version of the image forming program,
    The distribution control unit distributes, to the client PC, a version of the image forming driver that is a proper combination for the restored image forming program, based on the proper combination information.
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 23, wherein:
  26. Operating means for inputting operations,
    The restoration control unit restores an image forming program of a version specified via the operation unit;
    The image forming apparatus according to claim 25, wherein:
  27. Operating means for inputting operations,
    The distribution control unit, based on the appropriate combination information, from among a plurality of versions of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the restored image forming program, Distribute things to client PCs,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 25 and 26, wherein:
  28. As the image forming program, using a difference program from the previous version of the image forming program,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 27, wherein:
  29. As the image forming driver, a difference driver from an image forming driver of a previous version is used.
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 28, wherein:
  30. The reception control unit receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the download server using an update notification from the external server as an update trigger,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 29, wherein:
  31. Operating means for inputting operations,
    The reception control unit receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the download server using an operation from the operation unit as an update trigger,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 29, wherein:
  32. The reception control means receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the download server by using an access to the download server by the operator as an update trigger,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 27, wherein:
  33. The reception control means receives the appropriate combination information, the image forming program, and the image forming driver from the download server, with the access to the image forming apparatus by the operator as an update trigger,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 27, wherein:
  34. An authentication unit for authenticating whether the download server is a correct distribution source,
    The authentication unit performs an authentication as to whether the download server receiving the image forming program and the image forming driver is a correct distribution source,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 33, wherein:
  35. An image forming program, and tampering detection means for detecting whether the image forming driver has been tampered with,
    The falsification detection unit performs authentication on the received image forming program, and whether the image forming driver has been tampered with,
    The image forming apparatus according to any one of claims 23 to 33, wherein:
  36. An image forming apparatus that manages an image forming program and an image forming driver, a plurality of external servers, and an image forming apparatus that is configured to be communicable with the external server and includes storage means for storing the image forming program and the image forming driver; An image forming program / driver management system comprising:
    The external server includes: a proper combination information regarding a proper combination of a version of the image forming program and a version of the image forming driver; an image forming program; and storage means for storing the image forming driver; Communication means for transmitting an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver to the image forming apparatus in response to the request;
    The image forming apparatus relates to a download server determining unit that determines a download server with which the image forming apparatus communicates from among the plurality of external servers, system information including a system configuration of the image forming apparatus, and a version of an image forming program. Transmission control means for transmitting version information to the external server, reception control means for receiving proper combination information from the external server, and receiving an image forming program and an image forming driver from the download server; Update control means for updating the operation program by an image forming program which is a proper combination based on the information; and an image forming driver which is a proper combination for the image forming program based on the proper combination information to the client PC. The download server determining means, wherein the download server determining means refers to an update notification from an external server or an access order included in a predetermined order table, and determines the download server to be communicated with the plurality of download servers. Determined from among external servers,
    An image forming program / driver management system, characterized in that:
  37. A client PC capable of sending a print request to the image forming apparatus is connected;
    The distribution control unit, upon receiving a print request from a client PC, distributes an image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for an image forming program to the client PC based on the appropriate combination information.
    37. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein:
  38. The image forming apparatus includes a storage unit that stores a plurality of different versions of an image forming program and an image forming driver; an update history storing unit that stores an update history of the image forming program and the image forming driver; Restoration control means capable of restoring an image forming program of an arbitrary version,
    The distribution control unit distributes, to the client PC, a version of the image forming driver that is a proper combination for the restored image forming program, based on the proper combination information.
    38. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein:
  39. The image forming apparatus includes an operation unit through which an operation input is performed,
    The restoration control unit restores an image forming program of a version specified via the operation unit;
    39. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 38, wherein:
  40. The image forming apparatus includes an operation unit through which an operation input is performed,
    The distribution control unit, based on the appropriate combination information, from among a plurality of versions of the image forming driver that is an appropriate combination for the restored image forming program, Distribute things to client PCs,
    40. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 38, wherein:
  41. As the image forming program, using a difference program from the previous version of the image forming program,
    41. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein:
  42. As the image forming driver, a difference driver from an image forming driver of a previous version is used.
    42. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein:
  43. The reception control unit of the image forming apparatus receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the download server using an update notification from the external server as an update trigger,
    43. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein:
  44. The image forming apparatus includes an operation unit through which an operation input is performed,
    The reception control unit receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the download server using an operation from the operation unit as an update trigger,
    43. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein:
  45. The reception control unit of the image forming apparatus receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the download server using an access to the download server by an operator as an update trigger,
    43. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein:
  46. The reception control unit of the image forming apparatus receives an appropriate combination information, an image forming program, and an image forming driver from the download server by using an access to the image forming apparatus by an operator as an update trigger,
    43. The image forming program / driver management system according to claim 36, wherein:
  47. The image forming apparatus further includes an authentication unit configured to authenticate whether the download server is a correct distribution source,
    The authentication unit performs an authentication as to whether the download server receiving the image forming program and the image forming driver is a correct distribution source,
    The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 36 to 46.
  48. On the image forming apparatus side, an image forming program, and tampering detection means for detecting whether the image forming driver has been tampered with,
    The falsification detection unit performs authentication on the received image forming program, and whether the image forming driver has been tampered with,
    The image forming program / driver management system according to any one of claims 36 to 46.
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