No announcement yet.

How To Setup printers / CUPS on Kubuntu

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    How To Setup printers / CUPS on Kubuntu

    My normal weapon of choice is Debian, but I keep running across "version too old" type issues, so I decided to use a small (NUC) computer to do my day-to-day admin and use Debian on serious dev box.

    Every-time I setup a new box I have issues with printing. For a number of years I've sidestepped dealing with this but using my NAS to hold the USB printer then connecting to everything indirectly. Sadly the NAS supplier dropped USB printer support, with zero notice. Now once again I'm forced to address this issue of printer config.

    The simple case:

    You have just one computer and all the printers just plug straight in (USB) or offer a direct network connection . This case is easy, use use the GUI on

    The more complex case:

    You have many computers and many printers. My solution was to "connect" all the printers to a single box (in my case a ZOTAC ZBOX running Debian) .

    Before you start make sure your user has "lp" (not [just] lpadmin) in it's group set, e.g.

    usermod -a -G lp MYUSER
    Otherwise odd things break.
    So on the the Debain box I just added each of the printers, via the GUI (Above)

    On the print server, you need to make the services available, in /etc/cups/cupsd.conf:

    # Only listen for connections from the local machine.
    #Listen localhost:631
    # Allow connections from anywhere
    # Restrict access to the server...
    <Location />
    Order allow,deny
    Allow @LOCAL
    # Restrict access to the admin pages...
    <Location /admin>
    Order allow,deny
    Allow @LOCAL

    Then on the kubuntu box I simply do:

    sudo lpadmin -p zboxPDF -E -v ipp://zbox.local:631/printers/PDF -m everywhere
    sudo lpadmin -p brother -E -v ipp://zbox.local:631/printers/brother -m everywhere
    sudo lpadmin -p sister -E -v ipp://zbox.local:631/printers/sister -m everywhere
    sudo lpadmin -p epson -E -v ipp://zbox.local:631/printers/epson -m everywhere
    The first name (after -p) is the name (you want to use) of the printer (queue) on this system, the string after the -v can be obtained by typing:

    $ ippfind
    This, apparently, does something I've always thought was the way printing should work. The print server has the right drivers for each printer, no reason every client needs to know this, it just passes the file to the print server unmolested and lets the server sort it out. This means each time you install a new box, you don't need to mess around trying to find print drivers etc.

    An even easier way:

    What the above does is queue the files on the client machine and forwards to the print server as an when it's available . Alternatively you can simply queue the file directly on the print server. This has a side-effect that if the print server is down , you can't print. If that's OK with you simply, create a file: /etc/cups/client.conf
    with contents like:

    ServerName server
    WARNING; I've not tried this technique, see for details.
    Last edited by Snowhog; Nov 05, 2021, 10:52 AM.

    This post is in an odd subforum for the topic
    This is the 21.10 pre-install section, so printer tips would be better posted in a how-to type of section.
    I am moving it
    Last edited by claydoh; Nov 05, 2021, 02:26 PM.


      Agreed. How can that happen? Are there admins here, able to move it?


      • claydoh
        claydoh commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh, yes

      Originally posted by graemev View Post
      Agreed. How can that happen? Are there admins here, able to move it?
      I imagine you just have to make sure you start your posts in the appropriate/desired section.
      If unsure, there is the Help the New Guy section.

      But us mods moving things is not difficult, as needed. We do have far too many sub-sub-subsections, or not enough, depending on the situation.


        As far as your printer problem. My experience is that most common printers, like HP, Brothers and others are automatically recognized and configured when they are plugged in. My HP Laserjet P1606dn monochrome laser is auto-configured. If push comes to shove there is the "Printers" section under "Hardware" in the "System Settings" app. That's were printers are setup IF they aren't automatically recognized and configured.
        "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
        – John F. Kennedy, February 26, 1962.


          Thank you for all those details, IIUC they'll help someone one day.

          But, connecting printers to computers is a way of doing things that's being superseded by putting the printers on the LAN. These days most printers can connect to wifi, or have an ethernet jack. As GreyGeek says, Kubuntu automagically sees them and sets them up.
          Regards, John Little


            I have 4 printers, 3 are Ethernet connected, however my "main" one has Centronics (Parallel) IF + the new fangled USB . Over the years the bigger issue has been the printer driver support. Often support for older printers gets dropped or deprecated . So, by using a central print server I only need to "solve the printer problem" once . Every time I install a new computer (i.e. most months) I waste loads of paper getting all the printer working.

            GreyGeek Since doing this, many other printer names magically appeared (presumably the bonjour protocol?) I tried a couple, they accepted jobs but didn't print . Fortunately I don't need to debug these as I have a full set of working printers :-)

            ABTW. The QNAP forum is full of folks trying to do this now that QNAP have dropped support to act as a printer server. (I'll probably point there here)


              Wow! Centronics Parallel printers. Brings back memories. I haven't seen those since the early 1980s. While teaching science and math at a small village in Central Nebraska I decided to look into the newly released Apple ][+ computers. I drove to Team Electronics in Grand Island every Saturday during the summer of 1978 and played with their demo, learning Apple BASIC. I wrote all sorts of programs that could fit on a Panasonic tape recorder or a 5" Disk ][ floppy (250Kb IIRC). The Apple was selling for $2500 with a 12" color monitor connected with an RF adapter, and the tape recorder. Towards the end of the summer the manager gave me a proposal. Sell Apples on Saturdays and he'd sell me the equipment at cost. Otherwise they were going to send the demo back because no one had purchased an Apple up to that date. I took my new computer back to my classroom and began using the grade book program, the Datsun 210 drag racing program, the Mandelbrot graphics generator, and lots of others.

              My first sale, on my first weekend, was for an Apple ], 64KB RAM, color monitor, and two Disk ]['s, and a Centronics Parallel printer. I forget the model -- microstar 51, or a 409 It was a 9 pin dot matrix printer that could take 12" or 18" greenbar and was bidirectional. 10 or 15 lines per minute. Noisy. $5,000 retail. Profit: $2,500. Sold it to a farmer along with the newly released VISICALC spread sheet program. The next week I sold a similar rig to a crop duster who saw the farmer's computer. I was the 2nd highest paid teacher in the district, second only to the wrestling coach, and my take home was $700/mo. My share of the computer sales was 1/2 the profit. So, in two days of sales I made $2,400, almost 4X what I made teaching for a month. That continued through 1979 and into the spring of 1980, when Apple sent a tech to give me "Apple Tech Training". I resigned my teaching position that spring and began selling & servicing Apples full time. My service area became most of Nebraska and Southern South Dakota, with forays into Eastern Colorado. I got a private pilot license to make travel quicker for the 12 state contract I acquired to sell SAVVY, a natural language DBMS written in Forth. In 1993 I sold over $1M worth of SAVVY components for Apple and IBM PCs.
              What happened to that $1M and Team Electronics is another story.
              "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
              – John F. Kennedy, February 26, 1962.


                GreyGeek - that is a fascinating story. I loved it!!!
                Last edited by tomcloyd; Mar 06, 2022, 05:06 PM.


                  Originally posted by tomcloyd View Post
                  GreyGeek - that is a fascinating story. II loved it!!!
                  So is the next chapter...

                  The owner of Team Electronics, his son and I formed an LLC to sell SAVVY in a 12 state area. The owner supplied the money, his son did the books, and I supplied the technical know how.

                  One day I came back a day early, Friday, from training a store in Indiana on how to sell and use SAVVY. I had a message on my desk from the secretary that Randy, the tech in the Lincoln store, had a question. I called the secretary in Lincoln because Randy wouldn't answer his phone. She said "He's not here". "Where is he?", I replied, "it is still store hours and he should be at work". She said, "B*** laid everyone off and closed the store! I'm leaving in a few minutes".

                  It turned out that B*** had created another business in his wife's name and funneled all the profits for both Team and our SAVVY unit into it, leaving the liabilities in Team. Then he declared bankruptcy on Team and our business. It blindsided both his son, M***, and me. I lost over $300,000 in that theft. M*** told me that his dad bought a bar in Johnson, NE with some of our money and gave it to his older son, S****, apparently hush money. But, B*** didn't get off easy. It seems his wife was having an affair with a Hell's Angel guy and they rode off to California on his motorcycle with all the money B*** had stolen, leaving him almost penniless. It was all in her name so there was nothing he could do. Besides, he would have to give an account as to how he could file bankruptcy and fund a secret company at the same time. The whole thing really hurt his son, M***. I had my suspicions about B*** but M*** was a Christian so I accepted the partnership. M*** was left high and dry as well.

                  So, B*** went to the bar and told his son, S*** that he was taking over. His son said "No, you're not. The bar is in my name. Here's a broom if you need a job. If you need a place to stay there is room on the 2nd floor." B*** had taught his son well, it seems. B*** drank himself to death within 5 years. That all happened in 1981, the year after I got my pilot's license.

                  I started my own computer consulting company selling SAVVY and a skeleton GAAP software package I wrote using SAVVY, and I customized it for each business that bought it. I was hired by Excalibur (Owned by James Dow III, great grandson of Bell Starr), the company that created SAVVY, to demo it at the 1983 Comdex in Las Vega, NV. Another consultant was hired along with me to also demo SAVVY. I watched his presentation. SAVVY was a natural language process written in Forth and integrated with a database. It was touted as an artificial intelligence device. The AI was in interpreting what the user typed in and converting it into a command sequence that could react with the data base. Type "give me a list of customers with a balance greater than $1000 and who are late in paying and order it by city and zip code", and it would display or print that list. But that other guy was making claims that SAVVY had no ability to do.
                  That is yet another story!
                  "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
                  – John F. Kennedy, February 26, 1962.


                    Well. That is even MORE interesting.

                    As a psychologist I have learned that a good part of who we are to ourselves is our stories - our "narratives". It turns out that research shows us that we "make sense" of things by constructing stories, so it is easy to see that when we apply this process to our self-sense we are likely to get something valuable.

                    Looking at your narrative so far I see an interesting dynamic between the self-interest we all must have to stay alive and the process of connecting to others in ways that benefit or may benefit them. In summary, I see a confirmation of the idea that while purely altruistic action is logically impossible (because our behavior is always driven by OUR values), there is a clear joint set where we share interests (values) with other folks. However, for some people this joint set is small because they are only interested in what THEY can get from the human connection. Those folks be dragons - beware!

                    Feel free to continue. It's been a good ride to this point!


                      All I said was "Centronics" :-) ..FYI I still have the Exidy Sorcerer to drive it ... I wonder the the Cassettes still read?


                        OK, if anybody is still following the "printer themed" part of this post :-)

                        An issue has occurred. I suspect a bug. Doubt I'm going to be able to raise it as I don't have a mechanism to go back to the initial state.

                        The "print sever" is ruining bullseye (OLD) I have several client machines one is running SID/bookworm so NEW. Following an update the SID machine
                        was unable to print. The kubuntu client printed just fine ...then kubuntu got upgraded (was OLD, now NEW). Right now it's:

                        server    => CUPS 2.3.3op2  (zbox)  [OLD]
                        SID         => CUPS 2.4.2                    [NEW]
                        kubuntu => CUPS 2.4.1                    [NEW]
                        So if I were to "guess" I'd say the move to 2.4.x did it?

                        Anyhow the "fix" is pretty straight forward, just delete the printer and redo the example from above

                        sudo lpadmin -p brother -E -v ipp://zbox.local:631/printers/brother -m everywhere

                        Looking at the before and after definitions it looks like the syntax of the stored printer definition changed in an incompatible way.