Introduction to Cups

The Common Unix Printing System (CUPS) is a print spooler and associated utilities. It is based on the "Internet Printing Protocol" and provides printing services to most PostScript and raster printers.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-7.4 platform.

Package Information

Additional Downloads

Cups Dependencies



acl-2.2.52, Avahi-0.6.31, GnuTLS-3.2.4 or OpenSSL-1.0.1e, libpaper, Linux-PAM-1.1.7, MIT Kerberos V5-1.11.3, OpenJDK-, PHP-5.5.3, Python-2.7.5, and xdg-utils-1.1.0-rc1

Required (Runtime)


User Notes:

Kernel Configuration



There is a conflict between the Cups libusb backend and the usblp kernel driver. If you want to use Cups with libusb, do not enable USB Printer support in your kernel.

If you want to use the kernel usblp driver, enable the following options in your kernel configuration and recompile the kernel:

Device Drivers  --->
  [*] USB support  --->
Enable support for either UHCI or OHCI, not both:
    [*]   OHCI HCD support
    [*]   UHCI HCD (most Intel and VIA) support
    [*]   USB Printer support

If you have a parallel printer, enable the following options in your kernel configuration and recompile the kernel:

Device Drivers  --->
  [*] Parallel port support  --->
    [*]   PC-style hardware
  Character devices  --->
    [*] Parallel printer support

Installation of Cups

You will need to add an lp user, as Cups will create some files owned by this user. (The lp user is the default used by Cups, but may be changed to a different user by passing a parameter to the configure script.) Use the following command as the root user:

useradd -c "Print Service User" -d /var/spool/cups -g lp -s /bin/false -u 9 lp

You will also need a dedicated group that will contain users allowed to do Cups administrative tasks. Add the group by running the following command as the root user:

groupadd -g 19 lpadmin

If you want to add a user to the Cups administrative group, run the following command as the root user:

usermod -a -G lpadmin <username>

If you didn't install xdg-utils-1.1.0-rc1, use the following sed to change the default browser that will be used to access the Cups web interface:

sed -i 's#@CUPS_HTMLVIEW@#firefox#' desktop/

Replace firefox with the web browser of your choice.

Install Cups by running the following commands:

patch -Np1 -i ../cups-1.6.3-blfs-1.patch &&
aclocal -I config-scripts &&
autoconf -I config-scripts &&

CC=gcc \
./configure --libdir=/usr/lib                 \
            --with-rcdir=/tmp/cupsinit        \
            --with-docdir=/usr/share/cups/doc \
            --with-system-groups=lpadmin      &&

This package does not have a working testsuite.

Now, as the root user:

make install &&
rm -rf /tmp/cupsinit &&
ln -sv ../cups/doc /usr/share/doc/cups-1.6.3

Create a basic Cups client configuration file by running the following command as the root user:

echo "ServerName /var/run/cups/cups.sock" > /etc/cups/client.conf

Remove filters that are now part of the Cups Filters package by running the following commands as the root user:

rm -rf /usr/share/cups/banners &&
rm -rf /usr/share/cups/data/testprint


This package installes icon files into the /usr/share/icons/hicolor hierarchy and you can improve system performance and memory usage by updating /usr/share/icons/hicolor/index.theme. To perform the update you must have GTK+-2.24.20 or GTK+-3.8.4 installed and issue the following command as the root user:


Command Explanations

CC=gcc: This environment variable ensures that gcc is used if clang is installed. The build fails with the clang compiler.

--with-rcdir=/tmp/cupsinit: This switch tells the build process to install the shipped bootscript into /tmp instead of /etc/rc.d.

--with-system-groups=lpadmin: This switch ensures that only lpadmin will be used as the Cups administrative group.

--disable-libusb: Use this switch if you have installed libusb-1.0.9, but wish to use the kernel usblp driver.

--enable-libpaper: Use this switch if you have installed libpaper and wish to use it with Cups.

--disable-gnutls --enable-openssl: This switch tells the build process to use OpenSSL-1.0.1e instead of GnuTLS-3.2.4. The current version of GnuTLS might produce lot of warnings during the Cups build.

Configuring Cups

Configuration of Cups is dependent on the type of printer and can be complex. Generally, PostScript printers are easier. For detailed instructions on configuration and use of Cups, see The Software Administrators Manual and Software Users Manual are particularly useful.

For non-PostScript printers to print with Cups, you need to install ghostscript-9.10 to convert PostScript to raster images and a driver (e.g., from Gutenprint-5.2.9) to convert the resulting raster images to a form that the printer understands. Foomatic drivers use Ghostscript to convert PostScript to a printable form directly, but this is considered to be a hack by Cups developers.

Boot Script

If you want the Cups print service to start automatically when the system is booted, install the init script included in the blfs-bootscripts-20130908 package:

make install-cups


Installed Programs: accept, cancel, cupsaccept, cupsaddsmb, cups-config, cupsctl, cupsd, cupsdisable, cupsenable, cupsfilter, cupsreject, cupstestdsc, cupstestppd, ipptool, lp, lpadmin, lpc, lpinfo, lpmove, lpoptions, lppasswd, lpq, lpr, lprm, lpstat, ppdc, ppdhtml, ppdi, ppdmerge, ppdpo and reject
Installed Libraries:,,, and
Installed Directories: /etc/cups, /usr/include/cups, /usr/lib/cups, /usr/share/cups, /usr/share/doc/cups-1.6.3, /var/cache/cups, /var/log/cups, /var/run/cups and /var/spool/cups

Short Descriptions


instructs the printing system to accept print jobs to the specified destinations.


cancels existing print jobs from the print queues.


exports printers to the Samba software for use with Windows clients.


is a Cups program configuration utility.


updates or queries the cupsd.conf file for a server.


is the scheduler for the Common Unix Printing System.


is a front-end to the Cups filter subsystem which allows you to convert a file to a specific format.


tests the conformance of PostScript files.


tests the conformance of PPD files.


sends IPP requests to the specified URI and tests and/or displays the results.


submits files for printing or alters a pending job.


configures printer and class queues provided by Cups.


provides limited control over printer and class queues provided by Cups.


lists the available devices or drivers known to the Cups server.


moves the specified job to a new destination.


displays or sets printer options and defaults.


adds, changes or deletes passwords in the Cups digest password file passwd.md5.


shows the current print queue status on the named printer.


submits files for printing.


cancels print jobs that have been queued for printing.


displays status information about the current classes, jobs, and printers.


compiles PPDC source files into one or more PPD files.


reads a driver information file and produces a HTML summary page that lists all of the drivers in a file and the supported options.


imports one or more PPD files into a PPD compiler source file.


merges two or more PPD files into a single, multi-language PPD file.


extracts UI strings from PPDC source files and updates either a GNU gettext or Mac OS X strings format message catalog source file for translation.


instructs the printing system to reject print jobs to the specified destinations.

contains the Cups API functions.

Last updated on 2013-09-12 06:19:11 -0700