setting up printers is hard

Bug #238635 reported by Michal Suchanek
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
system-config-printer (Ubuntu)

Bug Description


I tried to work with the new Gutsy GUI tools for setting up printers, and they make the task very hard.

There is the CUPS web which is not enabled by deafult and from what I have heared it is not supported in Ubuntu. This is pretty much OK.

However, the GUI tools are a nightmare.

There is a user tool for setting the default printer, and this is all. Fist this tool is very unintuitive as it shows a list of printers, and theone that was selecetd when the tool was started is the default one. There is no obvious way to tell whic one it is other by restarting the tool.

Second, there is no way to set default printer settings for the user. Like paper size, resolution, etc. And start/stop jobs.

Perhaps the icon in the system tray is for accessing the print job queue but there is only one icon. Does it contain documents for all printer, or would multiple icons apper, or what? And why there can't be an icon in settings?

Also it is not possible to remove jobs when the printer is stopped. Well, I am not sure it's actually stopped. The UI in printer management says Enabled, and the check box is empty. When I enable the printer it is possible to remove my job then.

The admin interface (System-config-printer) is also a nightmare. It allows some settings but it does not display them in realtime. This is particualrly bad for the "enabled" state which can change behind its back when the printer is error-policy:stop which is needed for printers with Epson-style stateful language. They would print garbage after an error.

The design of the admin interface is innovative but it brings in quite a few problems that the standard interface with printer icons and context menus solves nicely. It can display and change the "Started/stopped" state in realtime, and for details a special dialog exists that can be displayed when needed. Of course, as the dialog displays the state of the printer when it was invoked, and the user invokes the dialog when interested in the printer state ti usually works out quite well.

In the new interface the dialog shows the state of all printers when the tool was started which makes it quite hard to use. You have to exit and restart the tool completely before every use.

A long standing issue is that gs filters for old printers keep running after a printer error, and even after the job is removed using the UI/CUPS. The only way to restore the printer to a usable state is

1) turn off the printer
2) stop all jobs and remove the current job
3) kill all processes belonging to the user "lp", especially the process named "parallel" or "gs" as these would continue feeding garbage to the printer.

4) turn on printer, reenable, reprint

Revision history for this message
Thomas Kluyver (takluyver) wrote :

You might want to put this on the forums or Ubuntu brainstorm--it's probably a bit too speculative for a bug report.

Revision history for this message
Dereck Wonnacott (dereck) wrote :

Thank you for your suggestion. However, the changes you are requesting aren't really a bug and require more discussion, which should be done on an appropriate mailing list or forum. [WWW] might be a good start for determining which mailing list to use.

Changed in libgnomecups:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Revision history for this message
Till Kamppeter (till-kamppeter) wrote :

Michal, at first, please update to the newest version of Ubuntu (Intrepid) and/or system-config-printer (1.0.2). The current system-config-printer admin tool has a UI interface similar to the former gnome-cups-manager: Printer icons and settings to be done via right-click context menu, enable/disable and sharing even without dialog.

The issue with subprocesses of print jobs not being killed when the print job is killed is also fixed, in foomatic-filters, a part of the core printing system.

Please post feature requests for system-config-printer on

To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  
Everyone can see this information.

Other bug subscribers