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lpq lp cannot chdir to spooling directory
Posted on 03-10-2013 18:45:47 UTC | Updated on 03-10-2013 18:48:03 UTC
Section: /software/cups/ | Permanent Link

Had a friend send me this little gem that had them perplexed for a while. Eventually they figured it out.

The Problem

On one our Ubuntu servers lpq was reporting it could not see our printers. CUPs was already configured with all the printers. We verified CUPSd daemon was started and we could print to all printers using the web interface at http://127.0.0.1:631 on the local machine.

The problem is the command line interface tool "lpq" and "lprm" were throwing the following errors:

user@ubuntu# lpq
lpq: lp: cannot chdir to spooling directory
user@ubuntu# lprm
lprm: lp: cannot chdir to spooling directory

The confusing part is lpr, lpq, lprm and lpstat are all part of the "lpr" Ubuntu package. You can verify your install using "dpkg --get-selections | grep lpr". What we needed was the exact same lpr, lpq, lprm and lpstat binaries which are made to work with CUPSd.

The Fix

lpr is a stand alone package. lpr only works with the lp print system, not with cups. To replace "lpr" we have to install "cups-bsd" to work with cupsd.
user@ubuntu# sudo apt-get install cups-bsd

The following extra packages will be installed:
  libfile-copy-recursive-perl update-inetd
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  lpr
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  cups-bsd libfile-copy-recursive-perl update-inetd
0 upgraded, 3 newly installed, 1 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

As you can see the old "lpr" package was removed and cups-bsd was installed. cups-bsd replaces the binaries lpr, lpq, lprm and lpstat and works with CUPSd. Now using lpq works as expected with the previously configured cups printers.

user@ubuntu:~# lpq
printer is ready
no entries

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