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Printer daemon
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printerd is a daemon to manage local and remote printers on Linux.

It is a polkit-aware system activatable D-Bus service.

To play around with it, after running 'make install' you can run the daemon as root in verbose mode from the command line:

su -c '/usr/local/libexec/printerd -v'

Now you can interact with it using the supplied pd-client and pd-view tools, or with d-feet, or with the "gdbus" tool:

  gdbus monitor --system --dest org.freedesktop.printerd

Note that currently there is no SELinux policy for printerd so when submitting files for printing you will need to enable permissive mode using setenforce 0.

The D-Bus objects are:

  • Manager: for creating print queues with a specific device URI
  • Device: a detected printer device
  • Printer: a print queue
  • Job: a print job

The Device object provides a method for creating a Printer object for it. The Printer object provides a method for creating a job.

To print a file, the Printer object's CreateJob method is called. This returns an object path for the new job. The new Job object's AddDocument method is used to add a file to the job, and finally the Job object's Start method is used to allow the job to be processed.

The core IPP concepts are used for job and printer states, state reasons, and so on. The plan is that an IPP server could be built out-of-process, which would be a client for the printerd D-Bus interface.

Translations can be submitted at Transifex.


The data/ directory contains:

  • the D-Bus interface, configuration, and service definition,
  • the polkit configuration, and
  • the systemd service file

in the printerd/ directory is client code for communicating with printerd from C and using GObject introspection, as well as code generated from the interface definition.

The service implementation lives in the src/ directory. The service is implemented using GDBusObjectManager to export the various objects to D-Bus. This involves having skeleton objects such as PdJob, which hold the properties defined in the interface, and implementation objects such as PdJobImpl (inheriting from PdJob) which provide the method implementations.

The Printer and Device objects set a flag telling the GDBusObjectManager to handle each D-Bus method invocation in its own thread. The Job object handles all method invocations in the main context.

Orchestrating the Device, Printer, and Job objects is the PdEngine. The engine decides on actions, for example when to start jobs.

IPP support is provided in the ippd/ directory. This works by running a Python http.server handling the IPP requests by backing them with calls into printerd.

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