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Ghostscript Printer Application


This repository contains a Printer Application for printers supported by Ghostscript's built-in printer drivers and some extra filters.

It uses PAPPL to support IPP printing from multiple operating systems. In addition, it uses the resources of cups-filters 2.x (filter functions in libcupsfilters, libppd) and pappl-retrofit (encapsulating classic CUPS drivers in Printer Applications). This work (or now the code of pappl-retrofit) is derived from the hp-printer-app.

For printer capability and driver usage information the Foomatic database of OpenPrinting (Online access by printer, by driver, Downlod) is used.

Your contributions are welcome. Please post issues and pull requests.

Contained Printer Drivers (in the Snap)

  • Ghostscript built-in:

    ap3250, appledmp, bj10e, bj10vh, bj10v, bj10, bj200, bj8XXYYZ.upp,
    bjc250gs, bjc600, bjc800, bjc880j, cdj500, cdj550, cdnj500, chp2200,
    cljet5, cp50, declj250, deskjet, dj505j, djet500, dnj650c,
    eplaser-jp, eplaser, eps9high, eps9mid, epsonc, epson, escpage,
    fmlbp, fmpr, gdi, hl1250, hl7x0, ibmpro, imagen, iwhi, jetp3852,
    jj100, la50, la70, la75plus, la75, laserjet, lbp310, lbp320, lbp8,
    lex5700, lex7000, lips2p, lips3, lips4v, lips4, lj250, lj4dithp,
    lj4dith, lj5gray, ljet2p, ljet3d, ljet3, ljet4d, ljet4, ljetplus,
    ln03, lp2000, lp2563, lp8000, lq850, lxm3200-tweaked, lxm5700m,
    m8510, md1xMono, md2k, md50Eco, md50Mono, md5k, mj700v2c, ml600,
    necp2xX.upp, necp6, npdl, oce9050, oki182, oki4w, okiibm, paintjet,
    pcl3, picty180, pjetxl, pjxl300, pjxl, pj, ps2write, pr150, pr201,
    pxlcolor, pxldpl, pxlmono, r4081, rpdl, sharp.upp, sipixa6.upp,
    sj48, stcolor, t4693dX, tek4696, xes

    This gives support for many old and ancient printers, but also for PCL lasers (especially PCL 6/XL) and dot-matrix printers.

    The included Ghostscript can have more drivers but these are the ones for which we have PPD support from Foomatic and which are not considered deprecated by another driver.

  • hpijs of HPLIP: For non-HP PCL printers (use the HPLIP Printer Application for HP printers). Better print quality than with Ghostscript's built-in drivers.

  • pnm2ppa: Driver for some older HP printers with proprietary protocol, probably the only HP printers NOT supported by HPLIP. even not with HP's proprietary plugin. The configuration file in the Snap is user-editable, see below.

  • pxljr: For HP Color LaserJet 3500/3550/3600, should give better output quality than HPLIP.

  • foo2zjs: Driver for laser printers with proprietary languages, from Dell, Epson, Fuji, HP, Kyocera, Lexmark, (Konica) Minolta, Oki, Olivetti, Ricoh, Samsung, Xerox. Note that the firmware loading facility for HP is not included in this Printer Application, use the HPLIP Printer Application (download proprietary plugin in-app, via web interface) for these printers, the firmware is proprietary anyway. In the Snap the user can add color profiles, see below.

  • SpliX: Driver for laser printers with proprietary languages, from Dell, Lexmark, Samsung, Toshiba, Xerox

  • brlaser: Driver for Brother HL, DCP, and MFC laser printers which do not understand PostScript nor PCL.

  • fxlinuxprint: Driver from Fuji Xerox for their PDF printers before the times of driverless IPP.

  • c2esp: Driver for Kodak EasyShare printers.

  • rastertosag-gdi: For the few Ricoh models which do not do PostScript or PCL: Ricoh Aficio SP 1000S/1100S

  • dymo: Driver for Dymo's label printers

  • ptouch: Driver for Brother's P-Touch label printers

  • c2050, cjet, min12xxw, m2300w: Drivers for older Lexmark, Canon, and Minolta printers. For m2300w in the Snap the user can add color profiles, see below.

  • CUPS, cups-filters: Included drivers for PCL, dot-matrix (Oki, Epson), label printers (Dymo, Intellitech, Zebra), and some older HP DesignJet large-format printers.

  • Manufacturer-supplied PPD files: For PCL and PDF printers from Ricoh and OEM (Gestetner, InfoPrint, Infotec, Lanier, NRG, Ricoh, Savin) and from Samsung.

Not included

  • PostScript: For manufacturer-supplied PostScript support, use the PostScript Printer Application.

  • HPLIP: For practically all HP printers use the HPLIP Printer Application. It also supports HP's proprietary plugin for printers which need to load their firmware on startup or need a proprietary driver extension.

  • Gutenprint: High-quality output with inkjets from Epson, Canon, and others, also PCL laser printers. A lot of adjustable parameters. Use the Gutenprint Printer Application.

  • epson-inkjet-printer-escpr: Epson's free-software printer driver for ESC/P-R-based inkjet printers. It supports only 360 dpi resolution and a very awkward user interface which cannot get easily mapped to IPP. Therefore it is not included in this Printer Application. Use the Gutenprint Printer Application.

  • Braille embosser drivers: We plan a separate Printer Application for that.

  • Scanners in multi-function devices: We plan a SANE retro-fit Scanner Application.


  • A Printer Application providing Ghostscript-based printer drivers. Input data is converted to PDF or PostScript (if not already supplied in one of these formats) as these are the input data formats of Ghostscript, fed into Ghostscript and by Ghostscript converted into the printer's native language. In some cases Ghostscript produces generic raster output which is converted to the printer's language by an additional filter.

  • PWG Raster, Apple Raster or image input data is converted to PostScript and not to PDF as PostScript is streamable, and this way large jobs need less resources or one can theoretically even print infinite jobs.

  • This Printer Application also includes some separate, old and now unmaintained printer drivers which are too small projects for their own Printer Application. These can also consist of a CUPS Raster filter, not needing Ghostscript if the input is PWG Raster, Apple Raster, or an image.

  • Note that most of the drivers (both inside Ghostscript and separate filters) are old, unmaintained code, for old printers which we do not have access to for testing. The packaging in the Snap (and also in Debian where the Snap uses a Debian source) is minimum-invasive to assure formerly working code stays working, but it is not assured due to changes in GCC and the libraries or due to the Snap environment.

  • This Printer Application supports thousands of (usually older) printer models. The needed printer capability information and driver usage information is mainly taken from OpenPrinting's Foomatic database, but also from information which comes with individual drivers.

  • From the Foomatic data CUPS PPD files are pre-built, compressed and packaged with the Snap. Also the foomatic-rip filter of cups-filters, Ghostscript, and the extra printer driver filters are included. With this a CUPS driver retro-fit using the pappl-retrofit library is done. This way we do not need to modify or adapt the now mostly unmaintained printer driver code, nor the Foomatic data or the PPD files. This is important as we do not have the printers for testing.

  • We use the printer's IEEE-1284 device ID to identify manufacturer and model of the printer and look for explicit driver support for this model. If we do not find it, we check the CMD: field of the ID to see whetrher the printer supports any common data format, currently PostScript, PCL-6/XL, PCL 5c, and PCL 5e to select a generic driver.

  • Available printer devices are discovered (and used) with CUPS' backends and not with PAPPL's own backends. This way quirk workarounds for USB printers with compatibility problems are used (and are editable) and any driver's output can get sent to the printer via IPP, IPPS (encrypted!), and LPD in addition to socket (usually port 9100). The SNMP backend can get configured (community, address scope).

  • If you have an unusual system configuration or a personal firewall your printer will perhaps not get discovered. In this situation the fully manual "Network Printer" entry in combination with the hostname/IP field can be helpful.

  • Standard job IPP attributes are mapped to the driver's option settings best fitting to them so that users can print from any type of client (like for example a phone or IoT device) which only supports standard IPP attributes and cannot retrive the PPD options. Trays, media sizes, media types, and duplex can get mapped easily, but when it comes to color and quality it gets more complex, as relevant options differ a lot in the PPD files. Here we use an algorithm which automatically (who wants hand-edit ~10000 PPD files for the assignments) finds the right set of option settings for each combination of print-color-mode (color/monochrome), print-quality (draft/normal/high), and print-content-optimize (auto/photo/graphics/text/text-and-graphics) in the PPD of the current printer. So you have easy access to the full quality or speed of your printer without needing to deal with printer-specific option settings (the original options are still accessible via web admin interface).

To Do


Installing and building

To just run and use this Printer Application, simply install it from the Snap Store:

sudo snap install --edge ghostscript-printer-app

Then follow the instructions below for setting it up.

To build the Snap by yourself, in the main directory of this repository run

snapcraft snap

This will download all needed packages and build the Ghostscript Printer Application. Note that PAPPL (upcoming 1.0) and cups-filters (upcoming 2.0) are pulled directly from their GIT repositories, as there are no appropriate releases yet. This can also lead to the fact that this Printer Application will suddenly not build any more.

To install the resulting Snap run

sudo snap install --dangerous ghostscript-printer-app_1.0_amd64.snap

Setting up

The Printer Application will automatically be started as a server daemon.

Enter the web interface


Use the web interface to add a printer. Supply a name, select the discovered printer, then select make and model. Also set the installed accessories, loaded media and the option defaults. Accessory configuration and option defaults can also offen get polled from the printer.

Then print PDF, PostScript, JPEG, Apple Raster, or PWG Raster files with

ghostscript-printer-app FILE

or print with CUPS, CUPS (and also cups-browsed) discover and treat the printers set up with this Printer Application as driverless IPP printers (IPP Everywhere and AirPrint).


ghostscript-printer-app --help

for more options.

Use the "-o log-level=debug" argument for verbose logging in your terminal window.

You can add files to /var/snap/ghostscript-printer-app/common/usb/ for additional USB quirk rules. Edit the existing files only for quick tests, as they get replaced at every update of the Snap (to introduce new rules).

You can edit the /var/snap/ghostscript-printer-app/common/cups/snmp.conf file for configuring SNMP network printer discovery.

For the pnm2ppa driver you can edit the configuration file:


For the foo2zjs and m2300w drivers you can add color profiles in the appropriate subdirectories of


Automatic firmware loading by foo2zjs is not supported. If you have one of these HP printers which need it, use the HPLIP Printer Application and download HP's plugin (use the web interface of the HPLIP Printer Application for that).

All the changes mentioned her take effect with the next print job.

If you mess up any configuration file under /var/snap/ghostscript-printer-app/common/, simply delete it (or move it away) and restart the Snap to get it restored.


You can also do a "quick-and-dirty" build without snapping and without needing to install PAPPL, cups-filters 2.x, and pappl-retrofit into your system. You need a directory with the latest GIT snapshot of PAPPL, the latest GIT snapshot of cups-filters, and the latest GIT snapshot of pappl-retrofit (master branches of each). They all need to be compiled (./; ./configure; make), installing not needed. Also install the header files of all needed libraries (installing "libcups2-dev" should do it).

In the directory with ghostscript-printer-app.c run the command line

gcc -o ghostscript-printer-app ghostscript-printer-app.c $PAPPL_SRC/pappl/libpappl.a $CUPS_FILTERS_SRC/.libs/libppd.a $CUPS_FILTERS_SRC/.libs/libcupsfilters.a $PAPPL_RETROFIT_SRC/.libs/libpappl-retrofit.a -ldl -lpthread  -lppd -lcups -lavahi-common -lavahi-client -lgnutls -ljpeg -lpng16 -ltiff -lz -lm -lusb-1.0 -lpam -lqpdf -lstdc++ -I. -I$PAPPL_SRC/pappl -I$CUPS_FILTERS_SRC/ppd -I$CUPS_FILTERS_SRC/cupsfilters -I$PAPPL_RETROFIT_SRC/pappl/retrofit -L$CUPS_FILTERS_SRC/.libs/ -L$PAPPL_RETROFIT_SRC/.libs/

There is also a Makefile, but this needs PAPPL, cups-filters 2.x, and pappl-retrofit to be installed into your system.


./ghostscript-printer-app --help

When running the non-snapped version, by default, PPD files are searched for in


You can set the PPD_PATHS environment variable to search other places instead:

PPD_PATHS=/path/to/my/ppds:/my/second/place ./ghostscript-printer-app server

Simply put a colon-separated list of any amount of paths into the variable. Creating a wrapper script is recommended.

This Printer Application uses CUPS' backends and not PAPPL's, meaning that for USB printers CUPS' USB quirk workarounds for compatibility problems are used, network printers can also be used with IPP, IPPS, and LPD protocols, and SNMP printer discovery is configurable.

USB Quirk rules in /usr/share/cups/usb and the /etc/cups/snmp.conf file can get edited if needed.

Make sure you have Ghostscript, CUPS (at least its backends), and the desired printer drivers (if not built into Ghostscript) installed.

For access to the test page use the TESTPAGE_DIR environment variable:

TESTPAGE_DIR=`pwd` PPD_PATHS=/path/to/my/ppds:/my/second/place ./ghostscript-printer-app server

or for your own creation of a test page (PostScript, PDF, PNG, JPEG, Apple Raster, PWG Raster):

TESTPAGE=/path/to/my/testpage/ PPD_PATHS=/path/to/my/ppds:/my/second/place ./ghostscript-printer-app server


The Ghostcript Printer Application is Copyright © 2020 by Till Kamppeter.

It is derived from the HP PCL Printer Application, a first working model of a raster Printer Application using PAPPL. It is available here:

The HP PCL Printer Application is Copyright © 2019-2020 by Michael R Sweet.

This software is licensed under the Apache License Version 2.0 with an exception to allow linking against GPL2/LGPL2 software (like older versions of CUPS). See the files "LICENSE" and "NOTICE" for more information.