CUPS/Troubleshooting

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This article covers all non-specific (ie, not related to any one printer) troubleshooting of CUPS and printing drivers (but not problems related to printer sharing), including methods of determining the exact nature of the problem, and of solving the identified problem.

Contents

Introduction

The best way to get printing working is to set 'LogLevel' in /etc/cups/cupsd.conf to:

LogLevel debug

And then viewing the output from /var/log/cups/error_log like this:

# tail -n 100 -f /var/log/cups/error_log

The characters at the left of the output stand for:

  • D=Debug
  • E=Error
  • I=Information
  • And so on

These files may also prove useful:

  • /var/log/cups/page_log - Echoes a new entry each time a print is successful
  • /var/log/cups/access_log - Lists all cupsd http1.1 server activity

Of course, it is important to know how CUPS works if wanting to solve related issues:

  1. An application sends a .ps file (PostScript, a script language that details how the page will look) to CUPS when 'print' has been selected (this is the case with most programs).
  2. CUPS then looks at the printer's PPD file (printer description file) and figures out what filters it needs to use to convert the .ps file to a language that the printer understands (like PJL, PCL), usually GhostScript.
  3. GhostScript takes the input and figures out which filters it should use, then applies them and converts the .ps file to a format understood by the printer.
  4. Then it is sent to the back-end. For example, if the printer is connected to a USB port, it uses the USB back-end.

Print a document and watch error_log to get a more detailed and correct image of the printing process.

Problems resulting from upgrades

Issues that appeared after CUPS and related program packages underwent a version increment

CUPS stops working

The chances are that a new configuration file is needed for the new version to work properly. Messages such as "404 - page not found" may result from trying to manage CUPS via localhost:631, for example.

To use the new configuration, copy /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.default to /etc/cups/cupsd.conf (backup the old configuration if needed) and restart CUPS to employ the new settings.

All jobs are "stopped"

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: This seems a rather brute-force way of fixing this; maybe the printer is simply disabled? (Discuss in Talk:CUPS/Troubleshooting#)

If all jobs sent to the printer become "stopped", delete the printer and add it again. Using the CUPS web interface, go to Printers > Delete Printer.

To check the printer's settings go to Printers, then Modify Printer. Copy down the information displayed, click 'Modify Printer' to proceed to the next page(s), and so on.

All jobs are "The printer is not responding"

On networked printers, you should check that the hostname in the printer's URI resolves to the printer's IP address via DNS, e.g. if your printer's connection looks like this:

lpd://BRN_020554/BINARY_P1

then the hostname 'BRN_020554' needs to resolve to the printer's IP from the server running CUPS. If Avahi is being used, ensure that Avahi's hostname resolution is working.

Alternatively, replace the hostname used in the URI with the printer's IP address.

The PPD version is not compatible with gutenprint

Run:

# /usr/bin/cups-genppdupdate

And restart CUPS (as pointed out in gutenprint's post-install message).

Networking issues

Unable to locate printer

Even if CUPS can detect networked printers, you may still end up with an "Unable to locate printer" error when trying to print something. The solution to this problem is to enable Avahi's .local hostname resolution. See CUPS#Network for details.

This problem may also arise when you have a firewall. You may need to disable your firewall or set the right rules. Using system-config-printer to detect network printers will do that automatically.

Old CUPS server

As of CUPS version 1.6, the client defaults to IPP 2.0. If the server uses CUPS <= 1.5 / IPP <= 1.1, the client does not downgrade the protocol automatically and thus cannot communicate with the server. A workaround is to append the version=1.1 option documented at [1] to the URI.

Shared printer works locally but remote machine fails to print

This is caused by a print job being sent through a filter twice, once on the local machine and once on the remote. See also the warning on the main CUPS page.

USB printers

Conflict with SANE

If you are also running SANE, it's possible that it is conflicting with CUPS. To fix this create a Udev rule marking the device as matched by libsane:

/etc/udev/rules.d/99-printer.rules
ATTRS{idVendor}=="vendor id", ATTRS{idProduct}=="product id", MODE="0664", GROUP="lp", ENV{libsane_matched}="yes"

Conflict with usblp

USB printers can be accessed using two methods: The usblp kernel module and libusb. The former is the classic way. It is simple: data is sent to the printer by writing it to a device file as a simple serial data stream. Reading the same device file allows bi-di access, at least for things like reading out ink levels, status, or printer capability information (PJL). It works very well for simple printers, but for multi-function devices (printer/scanner) it is not suitable and manufacturers like HP supply their own backends. Source: here.

Warning: As of cups version 1.6.0, it should no longer be necessary to blacklist the usblp kernel module. If you find out this is the only way to fix a remaining issue please report this upstream to the CUPS bug tracker and maybe also get in contact with Till Kamppeter (Debian CUPS maintainer). See upstream bug for more info.

If you have problems getting your USB printer to work, you can try blacklisting the usblp kernel module:

/etc/modprobe.d/blacklistusblp.conf
blacklist usblp

Custom kernel users may need to manually load the usbcore kernel module before proceeding.

Once the modules are installed, plug in the printer and check if the kernel detected it by running the following:

# journalctl -e

or

# dmesg

If you are using usblp, the output should indicate that the printer has been detected like so:

Feb 19 20:17:11 kernel: printer.c: usblp0: USB Bidirectional
printer dev 2 if 0 alt 0 proto 2 vid 0x04E8 pid 0x300E
Feb 19 20:17:11 kernel: usb.c: usblp driver claimed interface cfef3920
Feb 19 20:17:11 kernel: printer.c: v0.13: USB Printer Device Class driver

If you blacklisted usblp, you will see something like:

usb 3-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
usb 3-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice

USB autosuspend

The Linux kernel automatically suspends USB devices when there is driver support and the devices are not in use. This can save power, but some USB printers think that they are disconnected when the kernel suspends the USB port, preventing printing. This can be fixed by deactivating autosuspend for the specific device, see Power management#USB autosuspend.

Bad permissions

Check the permissions of the printer USB device. Get the bus and device number from lsusb:

 lsusb 
 Bus <BUSID> Device <DEVID>: ID <PRINTERID>:<VENDOR> Hewlett-Packard DeskJet D1360

Check the ownership by looking in devfs:

 # ls -l /dev/bus/usb/<BUSID>/<DEVID>

The cups daemon runs as user "cups" and belongs to group "lp", so either this user or group needs read & write access to the USB device. If you think the permissions look wrong, you can change the group and permission temporarily:

# chgrp lp /dev/bus/usb/<BUSID>/<DEVID>
# chmod 664 /dev/bus/usb/<BUSID>/<DEVID>

Then check if cups can now see the USB device correctly.

To make a persistent permission change that will be triggered automatically each time the USB device is attached, add the following line:

/etc/udev/rules.d/10-local.rules
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="<VENDOR>", ATTRS{idProduct}=="<PRINTERID>", GROUP:="lp", MODE:="0664"

After editing, reload the udev rules with this command:

# udevadm control --reload-rules

Each system may vary, so consult udev#List the attributes of a device wiki page.

HP issues

See also CUPS/Printer-specific problems#HP.

CUPS: "/usr/lib/cups/backend/hp failed"

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Backend failures can be caused by many issues, and Avahi should not be required (Discuss in Talk:CUPS/Troubleshooting#)

Make sure dbus is installed and running. If the error persists, try starting avahi-daemon.

Try adding the printer as a Network Printer using the http:// protocol.

Note: There might need to set permissions issues right.

CUPS: Job is shown as complete but the printer does nothing

This happens on HP printers when you select the (old) hpijs driver (e.g. the Deskjet D1600 series). Use the hpcups driver instead.

Some HP printers require their firmware to be downloaded from the computer every time the printer is switched on. If there is an issue with udev (or equivalent) and the firmware download rule is never fired, you may experience this issue. As a workaround, you can manually download the firmware to the printer. Ensure the printer is plugged in and switched on, then run

hp-firmware -n

CUPS: '"foomatic-rip" not available/stopped with status 3'

If receiving any of the following error messages in /var/log/cups/error_log while using a HP printer, with jobs appearing to be processed while they all end up not being completed with their status set to 'stopped':

Filter "foomatic-rip" for printer printer_name not available: No such file or director

or:

PID pid (/usr/lib/cups/filter/foomatic-rip) stopped with status 3!

make sure hplip has been installed.

CUPS: "Filter failed"

A "filter failed" error can be caused by any number of issues. The CUPS error log (by default /var/log/cups/error_log) should record which filter failed and why.

Missing ghostscript

Install ghostscript (/usr/lib/cups/filter/gstoraster needs it to run).

Missing foomatic-db

Install foomatic-db and foomatic-db-ppds. This fixes it in some cases.

Avahi not enabled

Start, and enable the avahi-daemon service.

Out-of-date plugin

This error can also indicate that the plugin is out of date (version is mismatched) and may occur after a system upgrade, possibly showing up as a Plugin error message in the logs. If you have installed hplip-pluginAUR you will need to update the package, otherwise re-run hp-setup -i to install the latest version of the plugin.

Outdated printer configuration

As of hplip-pluginAUR v3.17.11 hpijs is not longer available. If you have printers using hpijs they will fail to print. You must modify them and select the new hpcups driver instead.

You can check if this is your case looking at cups error_log:

 $ grep hpijs /var/log/cups/error_log 
 ...
 D [09/Jan/2018:14:32:58 +0000] [Job 97] sh: hpijs: command not found
 ...

CUPS: prints only an empty and an error-message page on HP LaserJet

Tango-view-refresh-red.pngThis article or section is out of date.Tango-view-refresh-red.png

Reason: The bug was reported in 2012; is this still an issue? (Discuss in Talk:CUPS/Troubleshooting#)

There is a bug that causes CUPS to fail when printing images on HP LaserJet (in my case 3380). The bug has been reported and fixed by Ubuntu. The first page is empty, the second page contains the following error message:

 ERROR:
 invalidaccess
 OFFENDING COMMAND:
 filter
 STACK:
 /SubFileDecode
 endstream
 ...

In order to fix the issue, run the following command as root:

# lpadmin -p printer -o pdftops-renderer-default=pdftops

HPLIP 3.13: Plugin is installed, but HP Device Manager complains it is not

The issue might have to do with the file permission change that had been made to /var/lib/hp/hplip.state. To correct the issue, a simple chmod 644 /var/lib/hp/hplip.state and chmod 755 /var/lib/hp should be sufficient. For further information, please read this link.

hp-toolbox: "Unable to communicate with device"

# hp-toolbox
# error: Unable to communicate with device (code=12): hp:/usb/printer id

Permission problem

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Presumably, hp-toolbox tries to access /dev/usb/* or /dev/lp, so it needs to be in the lp group. But why sys? And I can't seem to reproduce this... (Discuss in Talk:CUPS/Troubleshooting#)

It may be needed to add the user to the lp and sys user groups.

Virtual CDROM printers

This can also be caused by printers such as the P1102 that provide a virtual CD-ROM drive for MS Windows drivers. The lp dev appears and then disappears. In that case, try the usb-modeswitch and usb-modeswitch-data packages, that lets one switch off the "Smart Drive" (udev rules included in said packages).

Networked printers

This can also occur with network attached printers using dynamic hostnames if the avahi-daemon is not running. Another possibility is that hp-setup failed to locate the printer because the IP address of the the printer changed due to DHCP. If this is the case, consider adding a DHCP reservation for the printer in the DHCP server's configuration.

hp-setup asks to specify the PPD file for the discovered printer

Furthermore, when selecting a PPD file in hp-setup's graphical mode, the field does not update and no error message is shown.

Or, if in interactive (console) mode, you may encounter something similar to this even when providing a correct path to a valid ppd file:

 Please enter the full filesystem path to the PPD file to use (q=quit) :/usr/share/ppd/HP/hp-deskjet_2050_j510_series.ppd.gz
 Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "/usr/bin/hp-setup", line 536, in <module>
     desc = nickname_pat.search(nickname).group(1)
 TypeError: cannot use a string pattern on a bytes-like object

The solution is to install and start cups before running hp-setup.

hp-setup: "Qt/PyQt 4 initialization failed"

Install python-pyqt4AUR, which is an optdepend of hplip. Alternatively, to run hp-setup with the command line interface, use the -i flag.

hp-setup: finds the printer automatically but reports "Unable to communicate with device" when printing test page immediately afterwards

This at least happens to hplip 3.13.5-2 for HP Officejet 6500A through local network connection. To solve the problem, specify the IP address of the HP printer for hp-setup to locate the printer.

hp-setup: "KeyError: 'family-class'"

If adding a printer fails silently in the UI or you receive a KeyError: 'family-class' traceback from hp-setup, the /usr/share/hplip/data/models/models.dat may need to be manually updated. Check if family-class=Undefined is defined the section for your printer, if not add it:

/usr/share/hplip/data/models/models.dat
[hp_laserjet_pro_mfp_m225dw]
...
family-class=Undefined

Other

Printer "Paused" or "Stopped" with Status "Rendering completed"

Low ink

When low on ink, some printers will get stuck in "Rendering completed" status and, if it is a network printer, the printer may even become unreachable from CUPS' perspective despite being properly connected to the network. Replacing the low/depleted ink cartridge(s) in this setting will return the printer to "Ready" status and, if it is a network printer, will make the printer available to CUPS again.

Note: If you use third-party ink cartridges, the ink levels reported by the printer may be inaccurate. If you use third-party ink and your printer used to work fine but is now getting stuck on "Rendering completed" status, replace the ink cartridges regardless of the reported ink levels before trying other fixes.

Printing fails with unauthorised error

If a remote printer requests authentication CUPS will automatically add an AuthInfoRequired directive to the printer in /etc/cups/printers.conf. However, some graphical applications (for instance, some versions of LibreOffice [2]) have no way to prompt for credentials, so printing fails. To fix this include the required username and password in the URI. See [3], [4].

Unknown supported format: application/postscript

Comment the lines:

application/octet-stream        application/vnd.cups-raw        0      -

from /etc/cups/mime.convs, and:

application/octet-stream

in /etc/cups/mime.types.

Print-Job client-error-document-format-not-supported

Try installing the foomatic packages and use a foomatic driver.

Unable to get list of printer drivers

(Also applicable to error "-1 not supported!")

Try to remove Foomatic drivers or refer to CUPS/Printer-specific problems#HPLIP for a workaround.

lp: Error - Scheduler Not Responding

If you get this error, ensure CUPS is running, the environmental variable CUPS_SERVER is unset, and that /etc/cups/client.conf is correct.

"Using invalid Host" error message

Try adding ServerAlias * into /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.

Cannot print from LibreOffice

If you can print a test page from the CUPS web interface, but not from LibreOffice, try to install the a2ps package.

Printer output shifted

This seems to be caused by the wrong page size being set in CUPS.

Printer becomes stuck after a problem

When an issue arises during printing, the printer in CUPS may become unresponsive. lpq reports that the printer is not ready, and it can be reactivated using cupsenable. In the CUPS web interface, the printer is shown as Paused, and can be reactivated by resuming the printer.

To automatically have CUPS reactivate the printer, change ErrorPolicy from the default stop-printer to retry-this-job.

Samsung: URF ERROR - Incomplete Session by time out

This error is usually encountered when printing files over the network through IPP to a Samsung printer, and is solved by using the samsung-unified-driverAUR package.

Note: The corresponding error code 11-1112 corresponds to an internal wiring problem with the printer, so contacting Samsung's tech support is futile.

Brother: Printer prints multiple copies

Sometimes the printer will print multiple copies of a document (for instance a MFC-9330CDW printed 10 copies). The solution is to update the printer firmware.

Regular user cannot change properties of the printer or remove certain jobs

If a regular user needs to be able to change the printers properties or manage the printer queue, the user may need to be added to the sys group.