Lack of packaged 3D Printing Software

Bug #1225612 reported by Patola on 2013-09-15
This bug affects 10 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ricardo Salveti

Bug Description

Although Ubuntu is a desktop Linux distribution, it is much behind other distributions regarding 3d printing support.
And that is inadmissible, because 3d printing, hardware-wise, is very simple: commands sent to a 115200 serial-via-USB connection. The big gap here are the programs that comprise the chain leading to these commands. E.g.:

* 3d-modelling software: Ubuntu is sort of ok here:
  - blender is on the repositories;
  - meshlab is on the repositories;
  - openscad is on the repositories and there is also a PPA for it:
  - but a very useful program, wings3d, is currently uninstallable (depends on erlang-wx >= 1:15.b.1-dfsg which is not installable) - Bug #1185616

* 3D printer control software:
  - the most popular software is repetierhost, an open-source MIT-licensed software (written in mono) which has a nice download page at and nice instructions for installing it in Ubuntu. It also comes with the object slicer named "slic3r", another open-source software - GPL this time. The most troublesome part of its installation is that it installs a bunch of perl modules, some of them are not yet packaged in Ubuntu.
  - repsnapper (open-source), which is sort of "ok" but not the best application, is on the repositories;
  - replicatorg (open-source) has a "needs packaging" bug report open, Bug #829789
  - cura (open-source), a fantastic application with its own very fast slicer, is not packaged, and in their page they even offer a packaged download: - this one is very easy to add to Ubuntu, it has few compiling requisites (mostly wx).
  - pronterface (open-source, formerly printrun): has a packaged version on a PPA:

* slicer software:
  - as said, slic3r, the most popular slicer, comes with repetierhost, but it might be needed by other control software and it also works standalone; it has its own site, with linux downloads - - and it is written in C++ and perl (this is why repetierhost needs a bunch of perl modules). It has a separate elaborate building page for ubuntu:
  - kisslicer (PROPRIETARY!!) has linux versions too: As it is proprietary, it is most likely unappropriate for packaging. Its use forbids reverse engineering.

* Bonus: server-side 3D printer control software
 - repetier server, a quality web 3d printing server:
 - octoprint, an awesome, feature-packaged but still low footprint 3d printing server that works even on the raspberry pi: - the raspberry pi is better server by a packaged solution called octopi:
  - Doboz-Web:

A very good inspiration for Ubuntu support for 3D printing would be the Fedora 3D printing page:

Patola (patola) wrote :

OBS.: as of now, this bug is valid for the current version of Ubuntu, 13.04 with the latest updates.

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. It seems that your bug report is not filed about a specific source package though, rather it is just filed against Ubuntu in general. It is important that bug reports be filed about source packages so that people interested in the package can find the bugs about it. You can find some hints about determining what package your bug might be about at You might also ask for help in the #ubuntu-bugs irc channel on Freenode.

To change the source package that this bug is filed about visit and add the package name in the text box next to the word Package.

[This is an automated message. I apologize if it reached you inappropriately; please just reply to this message indicating so.]

tags: added: bot-comment
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in ubuntu:
status: New → Confirmed
Ricardo Salveti (rsalveti) wrote :

I'll try to invest some time on this during my next patch pilot. As I don't have a 3d printer (and don't know much about it), would be nice to have a small prioritized list with the stuff you'd like to be available/fixed first.

Changed in ubuntu:
assignee: nobody → Ricardo Salveti (rsalveti)
importance: Undecided → High
Patola (patola) wrote :

The most important package is without doubt Repetier Host; it is both a very competent 3D printer controller, a competent slicer frontend and a stunning 3D visualization software. However, due to some very recent perl modules requirements for its "slic3r" dependence, it might be a little awkward to make it work (lots of new perl modules would have to be packaged too).

So the second most important unpackaged software would be the Cura software package, I think. And it does not seem specially difficult to do, would take just a few modifications to the package offered by their developer.

replicatorg and repsnapper are old packages which are not very used anymore. I think they are very low priority.

It might also be wise to package pronterface. Although sort of a simple 3D printer controller, it has a competent interface for advanced 3d printing commands, and is certainly required by savvy people.

OpenSCAD version needs updating. Importing from its PPA would be great.

So, in short:
- Repetier Host, complicated to package, but important; packaging it will require packaging of slic3r too.
- Cura, easy to (re)package, second most important;
- pronterface, also important to advanced users and it's already in a PPA, very easy to import to mainstream ubuntu.
- openscad could benefit from a newer version, which is in the PPA.

I have two other software packages which would fit into this list.

Arduino - needed to compile and upload all firmware for people building their own reprap printers. Already on the repositories, but it should be listed among the relevant software.

MakerWare - slicer software for one of the largest commercial printers out there: MakerBot. It consists of several parts "Of these sub-processes, all but the MakerWare UI itself are currently open source software". Don't know exactly on how to deal with this. Links for the interested

Thomas Schiex (thomas-schiex) wrote :

I agree that Repetier Host + Slic3r is a priority.
I successfully installed RepetierHost (manually) but failed to setup Slic3r on my Ubuntu 14.04 box (version mismatch here).

I now run...window$ on a laptop to control my 3D printer. A shame :-/
Will probably install Fedora that looks better equipped than Ubuntu.

C Pirnat (histoplasmosis) wrote :

I've been using this ppa for slic3r as it's the only one I can find that's up-to-date

Patola (patola) wrote :

Repetier Host is no longer open-source. It's free as in free beer. We are losing options...

Meanwhile the whole 3D printing community is thriving and Ubuntu with its focus on mobile has completely lost the train and does not seem too eager to catch it...

Or is the focus on mobile an unexplored opportunity? I would love the option of controlling my printer using an ubuntu phone rather than a big clumsy laptop. You can't do design on a touch-screen, but downloading models from thingiverse, slicing them and feeding them through a printer-interface (pronterface) should be doable on a mobile device.

Patola (patola) wrote :

This bug report is now 3 years old, and it was a simpe request for packaging of already existing software. No action was done, no PPA was integrated, no readily available package was added to the distribution. Meanwhile, Microsoft massively invested in 3D-printing-related stuff, released lots of documentation and educational videos about 3D printing, manufactured a comprehensive, easy and useful 3D printing framework with lots of necessary libraries, helped draft and standardize the 3d-printing file format 3MF and even converted their paint software to 3D modelling and printing.

Should I shout "disappointed" or it is clear enough? I and others take a lot of effort to get Ubuntu where it should be for people to use it in "real life" but Canonical completely neglects market directions, users' expectations and practical usage. All the effort, including in following the correct path of opening a bug report, was for nothing. You cannot do that and at the same time say users should report bugs if you do not give any attention to them. It might be useful internally, but for me, as an user trying to solve a problem, it is next to useless. That is not my first bug report to go unattended for a long time, but it is the most egregious, because it highlights a big gap in Ubuntu, it is quite easy to initially amend and it involved a really bad attitude from canonical staff.

clel (clel) wrote :

Sad to see this.

dino99 (9d9) wrote :


i really dont undestand your #11 post above, as that slic3r app is already into the ubuntu archive.
So what else ?

Changed in ubuntu:
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Patola (patola) wrote :


That is _one_ of the packages. After years. Wings3d is also functional again, happily. These two improvements are very recent. But the others are still lacking. No cura, and it has even changed versions (and it has two repositories, stable and master, from @thopiekar). Pronterface from the repositories is broken, although the github version works ok. No octoprint and no repetier server - repetier _host_ went the closed-source way so I do not think it is eligible anymore.

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