I tried to print something from acroread and it wouldn't work. "Wouldn't work". That phrase is the bane of everyone who has ever had to try to figure out what is wrong with someone else's computer. What the heck does it mean? There are millions of things that can and do go wrong with computer every day. "It wouldn't work" covers all of them. What wouldn't work? How did it not work? How was it supposed to work? How do you KNOW it didn't work?
In this case my printer was off, which is strange, and when I turned it on it defaulted to some kind of "not ready state", which is also kind of strange. But I went to
http://localhost:631 and Manage Printers and there was a big red link saying the printer was stopped. I clicked it and the printer was un-stopped and things worked. The instinct here for most people (and for me, for a few angry minutes) is to yell "Linux sucks". But there was a very simple answer to this problem, and everything was working perfectly, predictably, and consistently. All it takes to make things work is a bit of knowledge and a bit of patience. And not really all that much of either.