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Template:Article summary start Template:Article summary text Template:Article summary heading Template:I18n entry Template:I18n entry Template:I18n entry Template:I18n entry Template:Article summary end From CUPS' site:

"CUPS is the standards-based, open source printing system developed by Apple Inc. for Mac OS® X and other UNIX®-like operating systems."

Although there are other printing packages such as LPRNG, the Common Unix Printing System is the most popular choice because of its relative ease of use.



These packages are needed:

# pacman -S cups ghostscript gsfonts
  • cups
The actual CUPS software
  • ghostscript
Interpreter for the Postscript language
  • gsfonts
GhostScript standard Type1 fonts
  • hal-cups-utils
This package might be needed. Read this forum post for more information

If the system is connected to a networked printer using the Samba protocol or if the system is to be a print server for Windows clients, also install Samba:

# pacman -S samba

Printer driver

Here are some of the driver packages. Choosing the right driver depends on the printer:

  • gutenprint
A collection of high quality drivers for Canon, Epson, Lexmark, Sony, Olympus, and PCL printers for use with GhostSscript, CUPS, Foomatic, and the GIMP
  • foomatic-db, foomatic-db-engine, foomatic-db-nonfree, and foomatic-filters
Foomatic is a database-driven system for integrating free software printer drivers with common spoolers under Unix. Installing foomatic-filters should solve problems if the cups error_log is reporting "stopped with status 22!".
  • hplip
HP GNU/Linux inkjet driver. Provides support for DeskJet, OfficeJet, Photosmart, Business Inkjet and some LaserJet printer models
  • splix
Samsung drivers for SPL (Samsung Printer Language) printers
  • ufr2
Canon UFR2 driver with support for LBP, iR and MF series printers. Package is available in the AUR.
  • cups-pdf
A package that allows one to setup a virtual PDF Printer that generates a PDF out of jobs sent to it

If unsure of what driver package to install or if the current driver is not working, it may be easiest to just install all of drivers, since some of the packages are misleading because printers of other makes may rely on them. For instance, the Brother HL-2140 needs the hplip driver installed.

# pacman -S gutenprint foomatic-db foomatic-db-engine foomatic-db-nonfree foomatic-filters hplip splix ufr2 cups-pdf

Download printer PPD

Depending on the printer, this step is optional and may not be needed, as the standard CUPS installation already comes with quite a few PPD (Postscript Printer Description) files. Moreover, the foomatic-filters, gimp-print and hplip packages already include quite a few PPD files which will automatically be detected by CUPS.

Here is an explanation of what a PPD file is from the Linux Printing website:

"For every PostScript printer the manufacturers provide a PPD file which contains all printer-specific information about the particular printer model: Basic printer capabilities as whether the printer is a color printer, fonts, PostScript level, etc., and especially the user-adjustable options, as paper size, resolution, etc."

If the PPD for the printer is not already in CUPS, then:

  • check AUR to see if there are packages for the printer/manufacturer
  • visit the OpenPrinting database and select the manufacturer and model of the printer
  • visit the manufacturer's site and search for GNU/Linux drivers
Note: PPD files go in Template:Filename


Now that CUPS is installed, there are a variety of options on how to setup printing solutions. As always, the tried and true command line method is at disposal. Likewise, various desktop environments such as GNOME and KDE have useful programs that can help manage printers. However, in order to make this process easy for the largest amount of users, this article will focus on the web interface provided by CUPS.

Please note that if planning on connecting to a network printer, rather than one that is directly connected to the computer, read the #Printer sharing section first. Printer sharing between GNU/Linux systems is quite easy and involves very little configuration, whereas sharing between a Windows and GNU/Linux host requires a little bit more effort.

Kernel modules

Before using the CUPS web interface, the appropriate kernel modules need to be installed. The following steps are from the Gentoo Printing Guide.

This section may not be necessary, however, depending on which kernel is being using. The kernel module may load automatically after plugging in the printer. Use the Template:Codeline command (described below) to see if the printer has already been detected. The Template:Codeline utility can also be used to see what modules have been loaded.

USB printers

If using an USB printer, it may be needed to blacklist the "usblp" module in Template:Filename:

MODULES=(... !usblp ...)


  • There seems to be a lot of uncertainty regarding blacklisting usblp. Some USB printers are not recognized without usblp.
  • This gudie assumes that the stock Arch Linux kernels are being used. Custom kernel users may need to run this first:
# modprobe usbcore

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

# tail /var/log/messages.log


# dmesg

Its output should resemble:

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

Parallel port printers

If planning on using a parallel port printer, note that the configuration is pretty much the same, except for the modules:

# modprobe lp
# modprobe parport
# modprobe parport_pc

Once again, check the setup by running:

# tail /var/log/messages.log

It should display something like this:

lp0: using parport0 (polling).


It's convenient to have the system automatically load the kernel module every time the it starts up. To do so, use a text editor to open up Template:Filename and add the appropriate module to the MODULES=() line. Here is an example:

MODULES=(!usbserial scsi_mod sd_mod snd-ymfpci snd-pcm-oss lp parport parport_pc ide-scsi)

CUPS daemon

With the kernel modules installed, the system is now ready to start the actual CUPS daemon. To do this, simply run this command:

# /etc/rc.d/cups start

For automatically starting CUPS every time the system is powered on, add it to the DAEMONS=() line in the Template:Filename file. For example:

DAEMONS=(pcmcia syslogd klogd !fam esd mono network autofs cups crond gdm)

Web interface and tool-kit

Once the daemon is running, open a browser and go to: http://localhost:631 (The localhost string may need to be replaced with the hostname found in Template:Filename).

Tip: GNOME users may be inclined towards installing the GNOME CUPS manager GUI frontend. See: #Alternative CUPS interfaces

From here, follow the various wizards to add the printer. A usual procedure is to start by clicking on Manage Printers, and then Add Printer. When prompted for a user-name and password, log in as root. The name assigned to the printer does not matter, the same applies for 'location' and 'description'. Next, a list of devices to select from will be presented. The actual name of the printer shows up next to the label ( e.g., next to USB Printer #1 for USB printers). Finally, chose the appropriate drivers and the configuration is complete.

Now, test the configuration by pressing the 'Print Test Page' button. If it does not print and there is certainty regarding the correctness of applied settings, then the problem is most likely due to missing a proper printer driver.

CUPS administration

A user-name and password will be required when administrating the printer in the web interface, such as: adding or removing printers, stopping print tasks, etc. The default user-name is the one assigned in the sys group, or root (change this by editing Template:Filename in the line of SystemGroup).

If the root account has been locked, it is not possible to log in the CUPS administration interface with the default user-name and password. In this case, it may be needed to change the default SystemGroup in cupsd.conf and read this post.

Remote access to web interface

By default, the CUPS web interface can only be accessed by the localhost; i.e. the computer that it is installed on. To remotely access the interface, make the following changes to the Template:Filename file. Replace the line:

Listen localhost:631


port 631

so that CUPS listens to incoming requests.

There are three levels of access that can be granted:

<Location />           #access to the server
<Location /admin>	#access to the admin pages
<Location /admin/conf>	#access to configuration files

To give remote hosts access to one of these levels, add an Template:Codeline statement to that level's section. An Template:Codeline statement can take one or more of the forms listed below:

Allow all
Allow *
Allow ip-address
Allow ip-address/netmask

Deny statements can also be used. For example, if wanting to give all hosts on the subnet full access, file Template:Filename would include this:

# Restrict access to the server...
# By default only localhost connections are possible
<Location />
   Order allow,deny
   Allow From localhost
   Allow From

# Restrict access to the admin pages...
<Location /admin>
   # Encryption disabled by default
   #Encryption Required
   Order allow,deny
   Allow From localhost
   Allow From

# Restrict access to configuration files...
<Location /admin/conf>
   AuthType Basic
   Require user @SYSTEM
   Order allow,deny
   Allow From localhost
   Allow From

Printer sharing

Between GNU/Linux systems

Once CUPS has been setup on the GNU/Linux print server, sharing the printer with another GNU/Linux system is relatively easy. While there are several ways to configure such a scenario, this section will cover the manual setup.

On the server computer (the one directly connected to the printer) simply open up Template:Filename and allow access to the server by modifying the location lines. For instance:

<Location />
   Order allow,deny
   Allow localhost
   Allow 192.168.0.*

Also make sure the server is listening on the IP address the client will be addressing. Add the following line after "# Listen <serverip>:631" (using the server's IP address instead of client's


To "Show shared printers on the local network", add the line "BrowseAllow all":

Browsing On
BrowseOrder allow,deny
BrowseAllow @LOCAL
BrowseAllow all

After making modifications, restart CUPS by:

# /etc/rc.d/cups restart

On the client system, open up (create if not present) Template:Filename and add the ServerName to match the IP address or the name of the server. Add this line:


To string "Show shared printers on the local network", add the line "BrowseAllow all":

Browsing On
BrowseOrder allow,deny
BrowseAllow @LOCAL
BrowseAllow all

There are more configuration possibilities, including automatic methods, which are described in detail in http://localhost:631/help/network.html

After making modifications, restart CUPS.

Note: When adding the printer from the client, if using the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), put the URI as ipp://<name-of-printer>

Between GNU/Linux and Windows

GNU/Linux client

If connected to a Windows print server (or any other Samba capable print server), skip the section about kernel modules and such. All that needs to be done is to start the CUPS daemon and complete the web interface as specified previously. Before this, activate the Samba CUPS back-end. Do this by entering the following command:

# ln -s `which smbspool` /usr/lib/cups/backend/smb
Note: The symbol is a backtick ( ` ) ; not a regular apostrophe.

After completing this task, restart CUPS issuing the command specified in the previous section. Next, simply log in on the CUPS web interface and choose to add a new printer. As a device choose "Windows Printer via SAMBA".

For the device location, enter:


Or without a password:


Make sure that the user actually has access to the printer on the Windows computer and select the appropriate drivers. If the computer is located on a domain, make sure the user-name includes the domain:


If the network contains many printers, use Template:Codeline to set the preferred printer.

Windows client

Sometimes one might want to allow a Windows computer to connect to a GNU/Linux server. There are a few ways to do this, including Samba. In order to do this, edit Template:Filename file to allow access to printers. File Template:Filename can look something like this:

server string=Arch Linux Print Server

    comment=All Printers
    # to allow user 'guest account' to print.
    guest ok=no
    create mode=0700
    write list=@adm root neocephas

That should be enough to share the printer, yet adding an individual printer entry may be desirable:

    comment=Samsung ML-1250 Laser Printer
    printer admin=@admin root neocephas
    user client driver=yes
    # to allow user 'guest account' to print.
    guest ok=no
    write list=@adm root neocephas
    valid users=@adm root neocephas

Please note that this assumes configuration was made so that users must have a valid account to access the printer. To have a public printer, set guest ok to yes, and remove the valid users line. To add accounts, set up a regular GNU/Linux account and then set up a Samba password on the server. For instance:

 # useradd neocephas
 # smbpasswd -a neocephas

After setting up all the needed user accounts, the samba spool directory also needs configuration:

 # mkdir /var/spool/samba
 # chmod 777 /var/spool/samba

The next items that need changing are Template:Filename and Template:Filename:


# The following line is found at near the end of the file. Uncomment it.
application/octet-stream        application/vnd.cups-raw        0      -


# Again near the end of the file.

The changes to Template:Filename and Template:Filename are needed to make CUPS print Microsoft Office document files. Many users seem to need that.

After this, restart Samba daemon:

# /etc/rc.d/samba restart

Obviously, there are a lot of tweaks and customizations that can be done with setting up a Samba print server, so it is advised to look at the Samba and CUPS documentation for more help. The Template:Filename file also has some good samples that might warrant imitating.

Windows 2000 and Windows XP

For the most modern flavors of Windows, an alternative way of connecting to the GNU/Linux printer server is to use the CUPS protocol directly. The Windows client will need to be using Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Make sure the clients are allowed to access the print server by editing the location settings as specified in section 4.1.

On the Windows computer, go to the printer control panel and choose to 'Add a New Printer'. Next, choose to give a URL. For the URL, type in the location of the printer: http://host_ip_address:631/printers/printer_name (where host_ip_address is the GNU/Linux server's IP address and printer_name is the name of the printer being connected to).

After this, install the printer drivers for the Windows computer. If the CUPS server is setup to use its own printer drivers, then just select a generic postscript printer for the Windows client. Then test the print setup by printing a test page.

Other operating systems

More information on interfacing CUPS with other printing systems can be found in the CUPS manual, e.g. on http://localhost:631/sam.html#PRINTING_OTHER


The best way to get printing working is to set 'LogLevel' in Template:Filename to:

LogLevel debug

And then viewing the output from Template:Filename 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:

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 Template:Filename 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" my 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 the configuration if needed):

# cp /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.default /etc/cups/cupsd.conf

and restart CUPS to employ the new settings.

Error with gnutls

If receiving errors such as:

/usr/sbin/cupsd: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

gnutls may be in need of updating:

# pacman -Sy gnutls

After updating, there may be a file named Template:Filename in Template:Filename. This is the unmodified original configuration file that has been placed as part of the update. Compare it with the currently installed version and adjust to preference.

All jobs are "stopped"

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.

The PPD version is not compatible with gutenprint


# /usr/sbin/cups-genppdupdate

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

USB printers under CUPS 1.4.x

New CUPS 1.4.x introduces many changes:

Configuration file

The syntax of the configuration file cupsd.conf changed. Start with a new cupsd.conf file based on /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.default.

Blacklisting usblp

CUPS now uses libusb and printer USB devices (under /dev/bus/usb/) instead of the usblp generated /dev/usb/lpX ones. In order to get USB printers working, the usblp module needs disabling. This can be done by blacklisting it in /etc/rc.conf, or by adding "blacklist usblp" to a configuration file in /etc/modprobe.d. Some users have also reported that they needed to reinstall their printer.

Device node permissions

In addition to usblp not being loaded, CUPS also needs the ownership of the USB device file of the printer to be root:lp, and permissions to be 660. E.g.

$ ls -l /dev/bus/usb/003/002
crw-rw---- 1 root lp 189, 257 20. Okt 10:32 /dev/bus/usb/003/002

This is supposed to be achieved by two udev rules in /lib/udev/rules.d/50-udev-default.rules:

# hplip and cups 1.4+ use raw USB devices, so permissions should be similar to
# the ones from the old usblp kernel module
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ENV{DEVTYPE}=="usb_device", ENV{ID_USB_INTERFACES}=="", IMPORT{program}="usb_id --export %p"
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ENV{DEVTYPE}=="usb_device", ENV{ID_USB_INTERFACES}==":0701*:", GROUP="lp", MODE="660"

However, for some devices, in particular combined printer/scanner devices, these rules either do not trigger, or are overwritten by rules of the 'sane' package. In these cases a custom udev rule needs to be added. See below.


Get the printer's device file and its permissions with:

$ lsusb
Bus 003 Device 002: ID 04b8:0841 Seiko Epson Corp.
$ ls -l /dev/bus/usb/003/002
crw-rw---- 1 root lp 189, 257 20. Okt 10:32 /dev/bus/usb/003/002

If the permissions are not already root:lp 660, enforce it by creating a custom udev rule, e.g

cat /etc/udev/rules.d/10-usbprinter.rules
ATTR{idVendor}=="04b8", ATTR{idProduct}=="0841", MODE:="0660", GROUP:="lp"

Note that idVendor and idProduct are from the lsusb listing above.


CUPS permission errors
  • Some users fixed 'NT_STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED' (Windows clients) errors by using a slightly different syntax:
  • Sometimes, the block device has wrong permissions:
# ls /dev/usb/
# chgrp lp /dev/usb/lp0

HPLIP printer sends "/usr/lib/cups/backend/hp failed" error

Make sure dbus is installed and running, e.g. check DAEMONS in Template:Filename or run Template:Codeline.

hp-toolbox sends an error, "Unable to communicate with device"

If running hp-toolbox as a regular user results in:

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

or, "Template:Codeline", then it may be needed to add the user to the lp group by running the following command:

# gpasswd -a <username> lp

CUPS returns '"foomatic-rip" not available/stopped with status 3' with a HP printer

If receiving any of the following error messages in Template:Filename 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


PID 5771 (/usr/lib/cups/filter/foomatic-rip) stopped with status 3!

make sure hplip has been installed, in addition to the packages mentioned above, net-snmp is also needed. See this forum post.

# pacman -S hplip

Printing fails with unauthorised error

If the user has been added to the lp group, and allowed to print (set in Template:Filename), then the problem lies in Template:Filename. This line could be the culprit:

AuthInfoRequired negotiate

Comment it out and restart CUPS.

Print button greyed-out in GNOME print dialogs

Source: I can't print from gnome applications. - Arch Forums

Be sure the package: libgnomeprint is installed

Edit Template:Filename and add

# HostNameLookups Double

Restart CUPS:

# /etc/rc.d/cups restart

CUPS fails to print with 'Unable to open device "hal:///[...]": Permission denied'

The permissions on some files are wrong:

# cd /usr/lib/cups/backend
# chmod 700 hal # (previously 755)
# chmod 700 usb # (previously 755)

Unknown supported format: application/postscript

Comment the lines:

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

from Template:Filename, and:


in Template:Filename.

Finding URIs for Windows Print Servers

Sometimes Windows is a little less than forthcoming about exact device URIs (device locations). If having trouble specifying the correct device location in CUPS, run the following command to list all shares available to a certain windows username:

$ smbtree -U windowsusername

This will list every share available to a certain Windows username on the local area network subnet, as long as Samba is set up and running properly. It should return something like this:

		\\REGULATOR-PC\print$         	Printer Drivers
		\\REGULATOR-PC\EPSON Stylus CX8400 Series	EPSON Stylus CX8400 Series

What is needed here is first part of the last line, the resource matching the printer description. So to print to the EPSON Stylus printer, one would enter:

smb://username.password@REGULATOR-PC/EPSON Stylus CX8400 Series

as the URI into CUPS. Notice that whitespaces are allowed in URIs, whereas backslashes get replaced with forward slashes.


Printer-specific problems and their solutions

Brother DCP 7020

See: Brother DCP-7020

Epson AcuLaser CX11(NF)

Install Epson-ALCX11-filter from the AUR. Restart CUPS and add the printer using the driver "EPSON AL-CX11, ESC/PageS Filter".

Both connections, USB and network, should work as expected.

FX C1110 (not model B)

Keep in mind that these directions assume that the printer is connected and listening on the network.

  • Install cpio and rpmunpack to later unpack the package:
# pacman -S cpio rpmunpack cups ghostscript gsfonts
  • Get the FX GNU/Linux driver here.
$ unzip -d /var/tmp
  • Continue extracting the file:
$ cd /var/tmp
$ rpmunpack fxlinuxprint-1.0.1-1.i386.rpm
$ gunzip fxlinuxprint-1.0.1-1.cpio.gz
  • Move the cpio DST file (for convenience):
$ mkdir /var/tmp/DST
$ mv fxlinuxprint-1.0.1-1.cpio /var/tmp/DST
  • Extract it:
$ cd /var/tmp/DST
$ cpio -id < fxlinuxprint-1.0.1-1.cpio
  • Filter the relevant files:
$ cd /var/tmp
$ find /var/tmp/DST -type f |cat -n
    1	/var/tmp/DST/etc/cups/mimefx.convs
    2	/var/tmp/DST/etc/cups/mimefx.types
    3	/var/tmp/DST/usr/lib/cups/filter/pdftopjlfx
    4	/var/tmp/DST/usr/lib/cups/filter/pstopdffx
    5	/var/tmp/DST/usr/lib/cups/filter/pdftopdffx
    6	/var/tmp/DST/usr/share/cups/model/FujiXerox/en/fxlinuxprint.ppd
  • Copy the files found in the previous step to /
Note: For the PPD use Template:Filename
  • Go through "Manage Printer" and "Set Printer Options".
  • Print a test page (substitue color103 with the assigned printer name):
$ lpq -P color103
color103 is ready
no entries

Printing does not work with the HP Deskjet 700 Series

The solution is to install pnm2ppa printer filter for the HP Deskjet 700 series. Without this, the print jobs will be aborted by the system. A PKGBUILD for pnm2ppa can be found in AUR.

Getting HP LaserJet 1010 to work

A solution may be to compile a newer version of GhostScript:

$ pacman -Qs cups a2ps psutils foo ghost
local/cups 1.1.23-3
    The CUPS Printing System
local/a2ps 4.13b-3
    a2ps is an Any to PostScript filter
local/psutils p17-3
    A set of postscript utilities.
local/foomatic-db 3.0.2-1
    Foomatic is a system for using free software printer drivers with common
    spoolers on Unix
local/foomatic-db-engine 3.0.2-1
    Foomatic is a system for using free software printer drivers with common
    spoolers on Unix
local/foomatic-db-ppd 3.0.2-1
    Foomatic is a system for using free software printer drivers with common
    spoolers on Unix
local/foomatic-filters 3.0.2-1
    Foomatic is a system for using free software printer drivers with common
    spoolers on Unix
local/espgs 8.15.1-1
    ESP Ghostscript

Setting LogLevel may also need to be set in Template:Filename to debug2, this way the logs will show how to circumvent minor issues, such as missing fonts. Search Google for n019003l filetype:pfb

The debug solution might work if getting errors similar to 'Unsupport PCL', etc. See: OpenPrinting database - Printer: HP LaserJet 1010

HP LaserJet 1020

Installation from AUR

Install the package foo2zjs from AUR and modify the Template:Filename. Change the line:

./getweb all


./getweb 1020

If getting errors with incorrect md5sums, the md5sum of Template:Filename in the PKGBUILD should be changed to match the downloaded driver.

As a last step, add and configure the printer in the CUPS manager. The printer should be recognized automatically, and function for both root and regular users.

Manual installation
Warning: This section involves installing packages without pacman. These directions should ideally be automated with a PKGBUILD in order to prevent issues.

First of all, only CUPS and GhostScript needs to be installed. Then follow the links in OpenPrinting database - Printer: HP LaserJet 1020 and foo2zjs: a linux printer driver for ZjStream protocol to the printer driver page, and follow the install instructions. After login in as root, and downloading all the package and extracted the archives, change into the foo2zjs directory. Now, follow the regular installation instructions with a minor modification to change the 'userid' for printing:

$ make
$ ./getweb 1020

Open the Template:Filename:

$ nano Makefile

and search for the line:

# LPuid=-olp

modify it to:

# LPuid=-oroot

then continue with the script:

$ make install
$ make install-hotplug
$ make cups

Printer connected to an Airport Express Station

The first step is to scan the Airport Express station. It seems that there are different addresses depending on the model:

[root@somostation somos]# nmap

Starting Nmap 4.20 ( ) at 2007-06-26 00:50 CEST
Interesting ports on
Not shown: 1694 closed ports
5000/tcp  open  UPnP
9100/tcp  open  jetdirect
10000/tcp open  snet-sensor-mgmt
MAC Address: 00:14:51:70:D5:66 (Apple Computer)

Nmap finished: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 25.815 seconds

The Airport station is accessed like an HP JetDirect printer. Afterwards, edit Template:Filename:

# Printer configuration file for CUPS v1.2.11
# Written by cupsd on 2007-06-26 00:44
<Printer LaserSim>
Info SAMSUNG ML-1510 gdi
Location SomoStation
DeviceURI socket://
State Idle
StateTime 1182811465
Accepting Yes
Shared Yes
JobSheets none none
QuotaPeriod 0
PageLimit 0
KLimit 0
OpPolicy default
ErrorPolicy stop-printer

Problems may be resolved by removing foomatic and installing foomatic-db, foomatic-db-engine, foomatic-db-ppd instead.


Alternative CUPS interfaces

If using GNOME, a possibility is to manage and configure the printer by using the gnome-cups-manager. This package is available through pacman:

# pacman -S gnome-cups-manager

Alternatively, system-config-printer-gnome can be installed:

# pacman -S system-config-printer-gnome

For system-config-printer to work as it should, running as root may be required, or alternatively set up a "normal" user to administer CUPS (if so follow steps 1-3)

  • 1. Create group, and add a user
# groupadd lpadmin
# usermod -aG lpadmin <username>
SystemGroup sys root <insert here>
  • 3. Restart cups, log out and in again (or restart computer)
# /etc/rc.d/cups restart

KDE users can modify their printers from the Control Center. Both should refer to those desktop environments' documentation for more information on how to use the interfaces.

There is also gtklp:

# pacman -S gtklp

Utility functions on Epson printers


This section explains how to perform some of the utility functions (such as nozzle cleaning) on Epson printers, by using the escputil utility, part of the gutenprint package.

There is a escputil's man-page provides basic information, but it does not touch on how to identify the printer. There are two parameters that can be used to do so:

  • One is --printer: it expects the name used to identify the printer when is was configured.
  • The other is --raw-device: this option expects a path beginning with "/dev". If the printer is the only serial printer on the system, "/dev/lp0" should be its device node. For USB printers, it is "/dev/usb/lp0". If having more than one printer, they will have names ending in "lp1", "lp2", etc.

On to the maintenance options:

  • To clean the printer heads:
$ escputil -u --clean-head
  • To print the nozzle-check pattern (allows verifying that the previous head cleaning worked, and determining the heads need cleaning):
$ escputil -u --nozzle-check

If wanting to perform an operation that requires two-way communication with a printer, use the "--raw-device" specification and the user must be root or be a member of the group "lp".

  • The following is an example of getting the printer's internal identification:
$ sudo escputil --raw-device=/dev/usb/lp0 --identify
  • To print out the ink levels of the printer:
$ sudo escputil --raw-device=/dev/usb/lp0 --ink-level


This is a printer status monitor which enables to get the remaining ink quantity, to print test patterns, to reset printer and to clean nozzle. It use an intuitive graphical user interface. Package can be downloaded from AUR.


This is a GUI using escputil and cups drivers. It supports nearly all USB printer of Epson and displays ink quantity, can clean and align print heads and print test patterns. It can be downloaded from AUR

PDF virtual printer

CUPS-PDF is a nice package that allows one to setup a virtual printer that will generate a PDF from anything sent to it. Obviously this package is not necessary, but it can be quite useful.

Find generated PDF documents in a sub-directory located at /var/spool/cups-pdf. Normally, the subdirectory is named after the user who performed the job.

This package can be installed by the following command:

# pacman -S cups-pdf

After installing the package, set it up as if it were for any other printer by using the web interface. For the Device, select CUPS-PDF (Virtual PDF Printer); Make/Manufacturer, choose Generic; Model/Driver, select Generic postscript color printer. Alternatively, provide the PPD file from this link.

Print to postscript: CUPS-PDF virtual printer trick

Printing to PDF in most applications like OpenOffice is no problem; just hit the button. Yet when printing out to postscript, matters take a little more work. For applications like OpenOffice where printing to kprinter is nebulous at best, there has to be another way -- and there is. The CUPS-PDF (Virtual PDF Printer) actually creates a postscript file and then creates the PDF using the ps2pdf utility. To print to postscript, what needs to be done is capturing the intermediate postscript file created by CUPS-PDF. This is easily accomplished with by selecting the "print to file" option in the print dialog. (choose either .ps or .eps as the extension) After selecting the "print to file" checkbox simply enter the filename and click "print".

Configuring CUPS-PDF virtual printer

1. Install cups & cups-pdf from extra.

2. Start cups with:

# /etc/rc.d/cups 
Note: Add 'cups' to the deamons line in /etc/rc.conf to start automatically at boot.

3. Access the cups print manager: http://localhost:631 and select:

Administration -> Find New Printers
Select CUPS-PDF (Virtual PDF), choose for the make and driver:
Make:	Generic
Driver:	Generic CUPS-PDF Printer

Now to print to postscript, just print as usual, in the print dialog choose "CUPS-PDF" as the printer, then select the checkbox for "print to file", hit print, enter the and click save. This is handy for faxes, etc...

Another source for printer drivers

Turboprint is a proprietary driver for many printers not yet supported by GNU/Linux (Canon i*, for example). Unlike CUPS, however, high quality prints are either marked with a watermark or are a pay-only service.