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Using a brand new installation of Linux Mint 17.1, I've been trying to connect my workstation to the shared printers on my server. The workstation is using CUPS 7.2 and the server (Debian Wheezy) is using CUPS 15.3.

Here's the problem. The list of printers is "flapping" -- it rearranges itself a couple times a second in my workstation print dialogs. They look stable if I look at them in the CUPS web interface. I've managed to isolate the printer list to just the printers installed on the server (when I started I was getting every printer attached to every computer on campus). I've put the following lines in my cups-browsed.conf file:

BrowseAllow servername
BrowsePoll servername:631
CreateIPPPrinterQueues No

What it looks like is happening is that one or more of the printers in the list is vanishing and re-appearing several times a second. The good news is that I'm only getting my printers.

Edit: more information on the installed printers on the server. There are 17 print queues on the server, and all but one are connected via JetDirect sockets. That is the only printer that is not an HP (it's a Xerox.) As near as I can tell, the one that is doing the most visible flapping is an HP Color Laserjet CP4020, and it has a raw queue, but the black and white printer I'm trying to use is also intermittently available. It's not popping in and out of the printer dialog, but once selected it spends a lot of time "waiting for the printer to become available." Print jobs finish, but not quickly.

Older versions of CUPS seemed to be better behaved, but that's not what I've got now. What changes can I make to the workstation (or the server) to fix this?

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It appears that the culprit is avahi on the client. If I shut down avahi-daemon the flapping goes away, and so do all the printers that have been automatically discovered.

This post gives a command line solution to discover all the print queues from a specific server and then add them into CUPS. Maybe someday avahi will be reliable, until then I've just driven a stake into its heart.

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Begin your research with the printer server. There are more than a few ways to set up a network printer. Try adding the printer again under a separate name and another port. Maybe even with another printer driver, and Google what may be said about your particular model printer to find out what other people are experiencing. Then see if it would be seen on your local network on your clients with better results.

Best of luck.

  • Well, it's almost certainly a CUPS issue. This is not a newly set up server -- it's been serving up printers for 7 years, and this problem is about a week old. Which is the age of my workstation, not the server. – unkilbeeg Feb 7 '15 at 0:38

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