I've currently got an old but decent non-network-capable laser printer connected to one of my Windows 7 PC's, and shared over the network (a plain Windows workgroup.)
Other PCs in the house, my Mac mini, and my MacBook Air can access the printer, which has both Mac and PC drivers available (it's an HP LaserJet), and the printing setup is working perfectly right now. I know, I know, ain't broke? don't fix!
However, I need to keep that Windows 7 PC on in order to use the printer, and that PC is an energy-vampire. My Mac mini is much better with respect to power consumption, and I'm therefore considering promoting it to always-on instead of the Windows box.
I've seen questions about accessing PC-shared printers from a Mac, but not going the other way. My questions are:
If I wanted to connect a printer to my Mac mini instead, what do I need to do in order to share this printer on the network so both my other Mac and my Windows PCs can continue to print? Is a good reference for this procedure available online?
Can OS X share a printer on a network using the exact same protocol that Windows uses to share a printer, or is it necessarily different? If there are protocol choices, how to choose?
If the sharing protocol is necessarily different, are Windows clients still able to mount Mac-shared printers? Are there specific gotchas or caveats, say, about credentials or otherwise? Job management?