backend(7) Apple Inc. backend(7)
backend - cups backend transmission interfaces
backend job user title num-copies options [ filename ]
Backends are a special type of filter(7) which is used to send print data to and discover different devices on the system.
Like filters, backends must be capable of reading from a filename on the command-line or from the standard input, copying the standard
input to a temporary file as required by the physical interface.
The command name (argv) is set to the device URI of the destination printer. Starting with CUPS 1.1.22, any authentication information
in argv is removed, so backend developers are urged to use the DEVICE_URI environment variable whenever authentication information is
required. The CUPS API includes a cupsBackendDeviceURI function for retrieving the correct device URI.
Back-channel data from the device should be relayed to the job filters by writing to file descriptor 3. The CUPS API includes the cups-
BackChannelWrite function for this purpose.
CUPS backends are not generally design to be run directly by the user. Aside from the device URI issue (argv and DEVICE_URI environment
variable contain the device URI), CUPS backends also expect specific environment variables and file descriptors, and typically run in a
user session that (on OS X) has additional restrictions that affect how it runs. Backends can also be installed with restricted permissions
(0500 or 0700) that tell the scheduler to run them as the "root" user instead of an unprivileged user (typically "lp") on the system.
Unless you are a developer and know what you are doing, please do not run backends directly. Instead, use the lp(1) or lpr(1) programs to
send a print job or lpinfo(8) program to query for available printers using the backend. The one exception is the SNMP backend - see snmp-
backend(8) for more information.
When run with no arguments, the backend should list the devices and schemes it supports or is advertising to stdout. The output consists of
zero or more lines consisting of any of the following forms:
device-class scheme "Unknown" "device-info"
device-class device-uri "device-make-and-model" "device-info"
device-class device-uri "device-make-and-model" "device-info" "device-id"
device-class device-uri "device-make-and-model" "device-info" "device-id" "device-location"
The device-class field is one of the following values:
The device-uri refers to a specific direct-access device with no options, such as a parallel, USB, or SCSI device.
The device-uri refers to a file on disk.
The device-uri refers to a networked device and conforms to the general form for network URIs.
The device-uri refers to a serial device with configurable baud rate and other options. If the device-uri contains a baud value, it
represents the maximum baud rate supported by the device.
The scheme field provides the URI scheme that is supported by the backend. Backends should use this form only when the backend supports
any URI using that scheme. The device-uri field specifies the full URI to use when communicating with the device.
The device-make-and-model field specifies the make and model of the device, e.g. "Example Foojet 2000". If the make and model is not known,
you must report "Unknown".
The device-info field specifies additional information about the device. Typically this includes the make and model along with the port
number or network address, e.g. "Example Foojet 2000 USB #1".
The optional device-id field specifies the IEEE-1284 device ID string for the device, which is used to select a matching driver.
The optional device-location field specifies the physical location of the device, which is often used to pre-populate the printer-location
attribute when adding a printer.
Backends without world execute permissions are run as the root user. Otherwise, the backend is run using an unprivileged user account, typ-
The following exit codes are defined for backends; C API constants defined in the <cups/backend.h> header file are defined in parenthesis:
The print file was successfully transmitted to the device or remote server.
The print file was not successfully transmitted to the device or remote server. The scheduler will respond to this by canceling the
job, retrying the job, or stopping the queue depending on the state of the error-policy attribute.
The print file was not successfully transmitted because valid authentication information is required. The scheduler will respond to
this by holding the job and adding the "cups-held-for-authentication" keyword to the "job-reasons" attribute.
The print file was not successfully transmitted because it cannot be printed at this time. The scheduler will respond to this by hold-
ing the job.
The print file was not successfully transmitted because it cannot be printed at this time. The scheduler will respond to this by stop-
ping the queue.
The print file was not successfully transmitted because one or more attributes are not supported or the job was canceled at the
printer. The scheduler will respond to this by canceling the job.
The print file was not successfully transmitted because of a temporary issue. The scheduler will retry the job at a future time -
other jobs may print before this one.
The print file was not successfully transmitted because of a temporary issue. The scheduler will retry the job immediately without
allowing intervening jobs.
All other exit code values are reserved.
cups-snmp(8), cupsd(8), cupsd.conf(5), filter(7), lpinfo(8),
Copyright 2007-2013 by Apple Inc.
23 April 2012 CUPS backend(7)