Any comments or suggestions to this wikipage are welcome!!!
Please openly discuss this on debian-printing mailing list.

Printer Driver Packages Suggested Changes

Created: 06/08/2006 by ?PascalDeVuyst
Last update: 12/08/2006


This wikipage suggests the changes that should be made to the foomatic, prebuilt PPD and some other printing related packages in Debian to give users a better experience while setting up their printer queues. It mainly describes the changes that should be made to let the current packages in Debian, that provide printer drivers, conform with the PpdFileStructureSpecification. I invite the Debian maintainers of the packages described below in particular and everyone who is interested to discuss the changes I suggest in this wikipage on the debian-printing mailing list. Any comments or suggestions are welcome!!!

Printer Driver Packages in Debian

The following binary printer driver, prebuilt PPD and Foomatic database packages are available at this moment in Debian (feel free to add missing ones):

Suggested changes to packages



Since CUPS 1.2 it is possible to use dynamically generated PPD files by using driver programs under the /usr/lib/cups/driver directory. Driver programs must implement a specific command-line interface as described in the cups-driverd manpage, foomatic-ppdfile provides the needed command-line interface since 20060420.

We could drop the foomatic-filters-ppds package completely from Debian and replace it by providing a symlink from /usr/lib/cups/driver/foomatic to /usr/bin/foomatic-ppdfile. The symlink should be part of the cupsys package. Every printer queue setup tool using the CUPS API like CUPS web interface, gnome-cups-manager and KDE Print Manager will use these dynamically generated PPDs automatically. By using dynamically generated PPDs it would be easier to resolve the issues we have with the current static package, see below. I can't think of any tools that would still need the static foomatic-filters-ppds package.

If we still want to keep the static foomatic-filters-ppds package we should have 2 seperate packages with prebuilt PPDs: and

I think it is better to use the name instead of foomatic-filters since there are a lot of other packages that actually need foomatic-filters (e.g. hpijs, ijsgutenprint, ...) and they don't have foomatic-filters in their package name.

Suggested changes:

Currently the foomatic-filters-ppds package is generated from the tar.gz source with the same name from If we decide to stick with static PPDs it would be better to generate these from foomatic-db source.

If we use dynamically generated PPDs we should decide what to do with the custom PXL PPDs from Gestetner, Infotec, Lanier, NRG, Ricoh and Savin that were generated with their own tools instead of Foomatic. My suggestion is to create a package for them.

We should have a package that only includes real PostScript PPDs, therefore the package should be renamed to


The above issues could easily be resolved by using dynamically generated PPDs through the CUPS API from foomatic-db-hpijs and remove the hpijs-ppds package from Debian.

One reason to keep a static hpijs-ppds package could be because the hp-setup printer queue setup tool from hplip needs static PPDs. We could keep the foomatic-rip PPDs together with real PostScript PPDs from hplip source but they shouldn't be installed under /usr/share/ppd to avoid duplicate entries when PPDs are retrieved via the CUPS API. It would still be better to alter hp-setup to use the CUPS API or the command line interface for driver programs for retrieving PPDs, because then the same PPD file would be used independent of the printer queue setup tool that was used.





Instead of providing static PPDs in the cupsys-driver-gutenprint package it would be better to have a driver program with the CUPS command line interface to allow dynamic generation of PPD files.





We need more printer driver packages in Debian

We should provide more printer drivers in Debian, the drivers listed below currently have no packages in Debian and have a GPL license. Feel free to add any drivers missing in the lists.

Canon UFR II Printer Driver for Linux with GPL license

Ghostscript filter drivers

cups-raster drivers

Old resolved issues