[Samba] Printing with CUPS and PDF

Kurt Pfeifle kpfeifle at danka.de
Sat Mar 29 10:38:33 GMT 2003

Tom wrote on samba-digest:

> Trying to get one Samba server to serve several printers through CUPS 
> and host a virtual PDF "printer" at the same time. I've gotten them 
> working separately, but not together, and I think I know why.
> In the smb.conf man page under "print command":
> "With printing = cups, and if SAMBA is compiled against libcups, any 
> manually set print command will be ignored."

If you want to regain your control over the print command(s), set
"printing = sysv".

You'll loose all the convenient Samba/CUPS interoperation, though.

> My PDF printer relies on a print command field (print command = 
> /usr/bin/printpdf %s) as recommended in the PDF printer howto here:
> http://www.linuxgazette.com/issue72/bright.html

This is only *one* of the many options to create a "PDF printer". It is
geared towards working with a legacy, old-fashioned spooling system.
It will only serve your Windows clients. Should you need to support
Unix/Linux/MacOSX clients too with your print server, you'd need to set
up a separate PDF printer for these type of clients.

A better way to set up a PDF generation service for print clients is to
use the PDF creating CUPS "backend" as provided on


You need the backend provided there plus a PPD for a generic PostScript
printer (best, use the distiller.ppd as was provided once for Acrobat 3
by Adobe -- it still floats around in various dl areas on the internet).

If you set up a printer using this backend, the PDF printer will be
shared to all print clients, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X and Windows. Samba's
Point and Print capabilities will even make possible to download the
"driver" to all Windows clients (Unix clients get the "driver" through
CUPS native capabilities).

It means you can send all formats supported by CUPS to this PDF printer:
ASCII, image files, PS, PDF... and CUPS will take care to convert everything
to PostScript and the PDF backend will generate the PDF...

> So is it possible to use CUPS and a "print command" in the same Samba 
> server?

See above.

> Why are print commands ignored anyway?

Samba is linked against libcups and therefor "knows" how to talk to
a (local or remoute) CUPS server. In a way, Samba has inherited IPP
functions through this library link...

> Thanks in advance for any 
> responses.
> -Tom


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