A new security flaw is discovered way too often for a
critical system daemon that's been around for over a
It is a support nightmare; there are more flavors of LPD
out there than I can count, and more vendor-specific hacks and
configuration tools than anyone could possible support.
As if to add insult to injury, it's gratuitously devoid
of actual features.
Unfortunately, there are no perfect alternatives to LPD. An
ideal replacement would:
Be secure, both by design and in
Offer lightweight and efficient IPP and LPD (the
Offer a simple and extensible interface for filters,
drivers, accounting, queue management, etc.
Support a selection of clients; ideally with a client
library offering job operations and printer status and capability
The three current alternatives are LPRng, CUPS, and PDQ.
LPRng and CUPS are the primary competitors; both offer IPP and LPD
protocol service, a structured and extensible filter and
driverinterface, accounting features, and queue management. Both
are not well tested on the security front; CUPS is brand new with a
limitedsecurity design, and LPRng, while designed for security, is
rumored tosuffer from spaghetti code and a lack of external
maintainers. CUPS offers the best client functionality of the two;
LPRng offers little client support beyond the traditional
lpr client. PDQ offers excellent client and filtering
facilities, but lacks management and queueing features. These can
be added by bolting PDQ onto another spooler; PDQ plus LPD is
actually not a bad combination.
I ask vendors to commit to offering a viable alternative
to LPD ASAP (actually, some already do). For now, this will mean
shipping one or more of the imperfect alternatives described above.
Hopefully the wider exposure given to the spoolers from this first
step will help boost the development efforts needed to adapt or
create a complete good system. Only at that point may we sensibly
discontinue shipping LPD. Similarly, I ask vendors to join in
an open discussion around configuration and management issues.
There are many (6-12, at least!) ongoing configration-related
projects; it would be nice if we could cut this number down a bit
(ideally to one!). Finally, if you are a Linux distributor; please
either participate in the open discussion or email me to keep in
touch. It's very important that we reach a consensus about
what a good system is and what the parts are so that we can have a
bit of standardization across distributions. The current state of
affairs is dreadful.
Let's discuss how best to go about this in the
general forum here on LinuxPrinting.org. (If traffic warrants
I'll create a dedicated forum.)
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