Virebo Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How long will it take to get results from Virebo?

Virebo will start collecting data immediately after installation. You can get page and printer counts after the first full day. To get waste estimates and savings recommendations, Virebo will need at least two weeks of data: the first week is a baseline and the second is for comparison. If you sign up for Plus or Premium, those first two weeks are free.

If you have unusual printers that Virebo has not yet observed elsewhere, it may take longer (depending on how much you use them) for Virebo to calculate savings estimates for those printers. Virebo will tell you what fraction of your printers are supported. N.B.: Virebo will never overestimate waste: if it does not have enough data on a printer to produce an estimate, it will not speculate. All waste-estimate figures are the minimum Virebo expects you to find.

Q: Approximately how much could I save every month with Virebo?

Our observations indicate that a large network might have an average of $8 in monthly waste per black-and-white printer and $24 in monthly waste per color printer.

Q: How does Virebo gather data?

To gather data from printers, Virebo read the instrumentation built into almost all modern networked printers via SNMP and HTTP. Virebo supports any printer that implements the RFC 3805 industry standard for printer monitoring. Virebo tracks a variety of model-specific counters as well.

To gather data from CUPS servers, Virebo reads the Completed Job logs via HTTP. To gather data from Windows print servers, we provide a small software program that reads the job logs via WMI.

Q: Can I get a refund if I don't like Virebo?

Of course! We will refund your last three months of payments if you're not satisfied. Needless to say, you can cancel at any time.

Q: What is the meaning of the name “Virebo”?

“Virebo” is Latin for “I will be green.”

virēbō 1s. ft. act. ind. of vireō, —, -ēre [VIR-]: to be green, to be verdant, to flourish.


Q: How do I install Virebo?

If you use Virebo Basic or Virebo Plus, all you have to do is install the Virebo Appliance somewhere on your network and give Virebo a list of printer IP addresses or ranges to scan for printers. We distribute the Appliance as a VMware virtual machine.

If you use Virebo Premium, you will also need to tell Virebo the addresses of your print servers (for CUPS servers) or install the Virebo print server monitor on the servers (for Windows servers). If you are a Plus or Premium user, technical support will be happy to help you with the installation.

Q: What printers does Virebo support?

Virebo supports almost all modern network printers: specifically, those that implement RFC 3805. Some Virebo features (for instance, detecting B&W printing on color printers) require that printers provide additional information not in RFC 3805. We have added support for many such printers and continue to expand that list.

Q: What print servers does Virebo support?

Print-server support is only necessary for Virebo Premium users, as only Premium tracks print-server data. Virebo supports CUPS (the built-in print server in Mac OS X which is included in many Linux distributions) and the built-in print servers in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003. Support for the servers in Windows XP and Windows 7 is forthcoming.

Q: How do I assign printers to departments or buildings?

If you are a Plus or Premium user, technical support will be happy to help you. Please contact

Q: Does Virebo support non-networked printers?

In general, no. You may be able to install HP's SNMP Proxy (or the equivalent from another manufacturer) to make non-networkable printers attached to a networked PC visible to Virebo. Please contact technical support at for more details.


Q: How do I know Virebo's reports are accurate?

You know because you can easily check its work. Virebo's principal design goal is explain everything. In the Plus and Premium versions, you can drill down on any figure (daily expenses, potential savings, etc.) to see the underlying data Virebo used in its calculations. The fundamental data gathered from printers is of course only as accurate as what the printers report. Some printers have known firmware bugs that Virebo accommodates. If you notice a printer producing odd readings (for instance, a lifetime page counter that sometimes runs in reverse*), it may have a firmware bug. Please contact technical support and we will provide a solution.

* Yes, this is a real, known issue in certain printers for which Virebo has a workaround.

Q: What is "inefficient" color or black-and-white printing?

Inefficient printing is printing on printers that cost more per impression than your ideal cost-per-impression (CPI). You can either specify the ideal directly or have Virebo calculate it for you. If you opt for the latter, Virebo uses the 25th percentile. In other words, Virebo sorts by price every page ever printed. If there were one million pages printed, Virebo takes the price of the 250,000th page (where the first page is the cheapest page) as its ideal price. The intuition behind this feature is that if 25% of your pages could be printed at that price, 100% of your pages should be printable at that price. Note that the ideal CPIs for color and for B&W printers are calculated separately because color printers are typically much more expensive.

You can inspect Virebo's ideal cost-per-impressions calculations by clicking the ideal-CPI or observed-CPI links on the waste report pages.

Q: Why is B&W printing on color printers considered to be waste? On solid-ink printers, B&W should not cost any more on a color printer than it would on B&W printer.

Excellent observation. We count black-and-white printing on color printers as waste only if the model in question reports all of its ink or toner measurements in impressions. The idea is to capture the expense of printing a black-and-white job on a printer that subtracts an impression from the remaining capacity in its cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges—even if the page had no cyan, magenta, or yellow pixels.

Solid-ink printers typically measure ink in sticks consumed, so they are excluded from the B&W-on-color waste calculation.

Q: Double-sided printing is all fine and good, but we can't print every sheet double-sided. Is Virebo recommending an unattainable ideal?

Virebo accounts for the fact that not every sheet can be double-sided. First, if a job has an odd number of impressions, it must necessarily end in a one-sided sheet. Based on our observation of thousands of print jobs, Virebo builds an allowance for odd-ended jobs into its recommendation. Second, Virebo only suggests that 90% of sheets (this is adjustable; contact support for details) should be double-sided. If you can print 90% of sheets double-sided, you'll get 100% of the estimated savings.

Q: How does Virebo know what various supplies cost?

We download supply prices from various vendors' web sites. Plus and Premium users can check the source of any price by clicking on it.

Q: How does Virebo know the carbon footprint of my paper?

We use the figures from Environmental Defense's paper calculator. The default is 30% post-consumer paper. This is adjustable; for details, please contact support.

Q: What if I use third-party supplies or have a vendor contract that gives me cheaper supplies?

You can enter custom prices for supplies under the Admin interface.


Q: What security measures does Virebo employ?

Our strongest security measure is simply to avoid collecting sensitive data. Virebo does not collect, inspect, or even have access to the content of printed documents. If you use Basic or Plus, Virebo does not even collect job metadata—it only monitors what printers are installed, how much they are used, and what they consume. If you collect metadata with Premium, you can opt to scramble the data so that users and jobs can't be identified by name, but you can still count jobs and find duplicates.

All transmissions between your network and Virebo's servers are protected with industry-standard SSL encryption. Both the Virebo server and the Virebo appliances must prove their identity to one another other on each transmission: the server rejects transmissions from an appliance that cannot furnish a properly signed SSL certificate; the appliances do the same with transmissions from the server.

Q: What types of of access control does Virebo support?

The administrative interface is password-protected. The non-administrative parts of Virebo (everything except the "Admin" tab) can be secured with a password or left open to the Web. The default is password-based control.

Q: How do you protect personally-identifiable information?

Virebo collects two major types of personally-identifiable information (PII): contact information programmed into printers (many printers can be configured with the name, phone number, and email address of a technical contact) and user- and job- names from job data (but only in the premium version). You can protect all personally identifiable information by configuring access controls for Virebo. You can also control whether PII is displayed or collected.

Q: How do I know the Virebo appliance is safe to install?

You don't have to take our word for it: you can inspect and verify the origin of all of the code in the appliance. All of the system packages are based on the widely-deployed, heavily-tested, secure Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system. You can compare the package checksums to the Ubuntu originals. The Virebo code on the appliance is also open for inspection; the Python code is available for you to read and the source code for the compiled Java and Scala programs is also provided.

Q: How do I know the Virebo print server monitor for Windows is safe to install?

You don't have to take our word for it: you can inspect it. We designed the Monitor to be as small as possible—it's just two pages of code; enough to send the print server logs to the Virebo server for analysis. You can inspect the Server Monitor source code before you run it.

Q: Why is Virebo provided as a virtual appliance rather than as a conventional software package?

Three reasons: simplicity, security, and environmental protection.

Q: What ports does Virebo use?

Virebo needs to make HTTP/HTTPS and SNMP connections to your printers and HTTP/HTTPS connections to the Virebo servers and Ubuntu update servers.


Q: Where can I get the source code of GPL-licensed software that Virebo redistributes?

All third-party software distributed with Virebo is compiled by Ubuntu and unmodified from the way Ubuntu packaged it, so you can download all of the source code from Ubuntu directly.

Q: What is Virebo's privacy policy?

Please see our privacy policy page.

Q: What happens if Virebo does not work?

If Virebo fails to collect data for a period (for instance, because of a network problem) and you let us know, we will, at our option, either refund you a pro-rated amount for the time during which the failure occurred or offer an equivalent time in credit on your contract. For instance, if your city experiences a power failure and Virebo does not run for two days, we would add two free days to your account.

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