Call for testing: OpenPrinting's printing-stack-snap (Printing in a Snap)


I am leading the OpenPrinting project at the Linux Foundation, which is about everything to make printing “just work”. Especially I am maintaining cups-filters, ippusbxd and other projects.

To support printing also on snap-based systems (like for example Ubuntu Core) I have created a snap containing a complete printing stack consisting of CUPS, cups-filters, and a PDF interpreter (currently Poppler):

Below you find the original file of the project as its full documentration. Please download and test the snap and tell your experience here.

It is available in the Snap Store via:

snap install --edge printing-stack-snap

You can also install it on systems which have already CUPS installed as this snap’s CUPS is running on port 10631 and not the standard 631.

Please also see the threads linked below, any help on not yet solved problems is welcome.

Happy (snappy) printing!


The OpenPrinting Printing Stack Snap

Complete CUPS printing stack in a snap


This is a coplete printing stack in a snap. It contains not only CUPS but also cups-filters and Poppler (as the PDF interpreter). This is
everything (except printer-model-specific drivers) which is needed for printing.

This snap is designed for the following three use cases:

  1. Providing a printing stack for a purely snap-based operating system, like Ubuntu Core.
  2. Providing a printing stack for a classic Linux system, installing the snap instead of the system’s usual printing packages.
  3. Providing an interface for snaps containing printer drivers. If the user wants to stay with the system’s printing stack, the snap runs CUPS in parallel, on an alternative port and shares its print queues to the system’s CUPS, as they were a driverless IPP printers.

Note that the snap is still under development and so does not yet fulfill all the design goals.

Installation and Usage

The printing stack snap works on both classic systems (standard Linux distributions like Ubuntu Desktop) and purely snap-based systems (like Ubuntu Core).

The snap is currently in the Edge channel of the snap store and therefore can be installed via

snap install --edge printing-stack-snap

If you want to install from source, you have to build it via

snapcraft cleanbuild

and install it with the command

sudo snap install --dangerous <file>.snap

with <file>.snap being the name of the snap file.

You also need to manually connect the snap to the Avahi interface. On classic systems run:

sudo snap connect printing-stack-snap:avahi-control

On snap-based systems install the Avahi snap at first

sudo snap install --edge avahi

and connect to the avahi snap:

sudo snap connect printing-stack-snap:avahi-control avahi

This allows sharing of printers between your system’s CUPS and the snap’s CUPS. cups-browsed (one instance on the system, one in the snap) automatically creates appropriate queues. Avahi does not yet work completely on snap-based systems as printers on the snap-based system get shared to remote machines but printers on remote machines do not get discovered by the snap-based system.

For USB printer access you need to connect to the raw-usb interface on both classic and snap-based systems:

sudo snap connect printing-stack-snap:raw-usb

On classic systems the snap has already access to the user’s home directory, on a snap-based system you need to run:

snap connect printing-stack-snap:home

The snap’s CUPS runs on port 10631.

To use use the snap’s command line utilities acting on the snap’s CUPS, preceed the commands with printing-stack-snap.:

printing-stack-snap.lpstat -v
printing-stack-snap.lpadmin -p printer -E -v file:/dev/null

You can run administrative commands without sudo and without getting asked for a password if you are member of the “adm” group (this is the case for the first user created on a classic Ubuntu system). This is a temporary hack until snapd is able to deal with snap-specific users and groups. This works on classic systems (you can also add a user to the “adm” group) but not on snap-based systems (the standard user is not in the “adm” group and you cannot add users to the “adm” group). You can always run administrative programs as root (for example running them with sudo).

The snap’s command line utilities can only access files in the calling user’s home directory if they are not hidden (name begins with a dot ‘.’). So you can ususally print with a command like

printing-stack-snap.lp -d <printer> <file>

For hidden files you have to pipe the file into the command, like with

cat <file> | printing-stack-snap.lp -d <printer>

or copy or rename the file into a standard file.

The web interface can be accessed under


but to make administrative tasks working, you have to run the following commands after installing the snap:

sudo chmod 711 /var/snap/cups/current/var/run/certs/
sudo chown root.root /var/snap/cups/current/var/run/certs/

You can also access the snap’s CUPS with the system’s utilities by specifying the server:

lpstat -h localhost:10631 -v

NOTE: You can also build this snap for CUPS running on the usual port 631, by editing the file default.yaml before building the snap, but on classic systems you can then only use the snap after uninstalling the system’s CUPS and cups-browsed.

What is planned/still missing?

  • CUPS having its own group (“lpadmin”) for administrative tasks, we use “adm” as a workaround.
  • Get it into the Snap Store
  • Auto-connect to all interfaces (avahi, raw-usb, home).
  • Interface for third-party printer driver snaps.
  • Auto-selector for the CUPS port: Check during installation whether there is already a CUPS on port 631 or not.
  • Provide cups-client slot (for systems without their own CUPS).
  • Add ippusbxd (for IPP-over-USB) to the snap.


The development of this snap is discussed on the Snapcraft forum:

Related topics on the forum:

Getting the snap into the store:

Can we please have something for armhf as well ?

Can we get a new build of the snap uploaded to the store?

$ snap info printing-stack-snap
name:      printing-stack-snap
summary:   CUPS-based printing stack snap
publisher: OpenPrinting
license:   Apache-2.0 AND Other Open Source
description: |
  Complete printing environment in a snap
snap-id: 6tvaiPRqauSsf1libkU3e3ruf82laBPW
  stable:    –                         
  candidate: –                         
  beta:      –                         
  edge:      0.1.0 2018-03-08 (2) 21MB -