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[last modified: 2008.05.15]

Notes on CUPS and print-to-email configuration

Below some notes on how to configure CUPS (1.3.7) and CUPS-PDF (2.4.7) to implement a print-to-email service with Windows systems.

Overall the system is very simple, and similar to the 'gigamail' service that some ISP offer:
[Windows] clients install a Network Printer, using their own email address as username. When printing to this printer, the server will create a PDF file, place it on the web server at a private URL, and email the URL to the client who made the print. This way, the file can be exchanged easily, without hitting email or virus filters.

Client configuration

On Windows XP clients, do the following:
You are done, the new printer is installed. Now, when you print to the 'CUPS-PDF' printer, you will receive an email with a link to the document that you printed. You can then download the document with a browser, or communicate the link to someone else who needs to access the file.

XP bugs when connecting to a CUPS printer

During our experiments we found the following bugs in the printer subsystem in Windows XP (both the base version and SP2). This affects users that 1) need to go through a proxy to connect to the CUPS server, and 2) need authentication.
In detail: On Windows there is no known workaround so far. There is a related thread on the CUPS mailing list.

As a CUPS workaround, we apply this patch to cups/http-support.c to accept URIs of the form

and terminate the resource at the '::' marker, with the remaining part constituting the username (which can be an email address).

Server configuration

This section is intended for the system administrator.

We use the 'cups-base' and 'cups-pdf' packages on FreeBSD, with small modifications.