Only one job available for release *

“Help! Im a PaperCut administrator and my users have submitted multiple print jobs, but only one job is available for release at a time. What’s going on?”

Why is only one job at a time available for release?

We know this happens when some extremely specific conditions are met:

  • You have set up Find-Me Printing, or enabled Hold/Release on a print queue for secure print release.
  • The printing system is CUPS, which could be macOS or Linux.
  • The user submits multiple print jobs to the print queue and then tries to release them at once.
  • The print driver is for a Xerox, Canon, or Epson printer.

Normally when Hold/Release is enabled for a printer in PaperCut all of the jobs submitted by a user will be paused until they sign into either a Release Station, copier running PaperCut, or Mobile Release page in the browser. At this point, the user can expect to see all of their print jobs ready for them to release.

However, for some print queues on Mac or Linux servers no matter how many print jobs are sent, only the earliest of these will appear to be held. When that print job is released, the print job which was chronologically “next in line” then appears in the queue, held and ready to be released. Admittedly, this isn’t ideal but there’s a reason why it works this way, and thankfully there are some other options.

PaperCut can interact with the CUPS printing system to manage print jobs in one of two ways, either as a Backend or a Filter. The better and more commonly used option is the Backend, as it allows us to intercept the print job after it has been rendered but before it’s been sent to the physical printer. However, some print drivers in CUPS don’t function the same way and are incompatible with Backends in this manner. To interact with these print queues PaperCut must intercept print jobs further upstream in the printing process as a Filter, which has some limitations.

So, if you’re seeing this behavior on your Linux or macOS print server it’s probably because this particular print driver doesn’t work well with Backends in CUPS.

What are the alternatives?

  • Thankfully, there are a lot of print drivers out there including Apple’s trusty “Generic PostScript Printer” driver which is compatible with most printers out there on the market. Many printer manufacturers also make alternative versions of their drivers (like PostScript, PCL, or something else) which you might find works better.
  • The other option would be to disable Hold/Release for the print queue, and just have users send print jobs to the printer the old-fashioned way.

Still have questions?

Can’t use any other drivers? Is your driver The One and Only? Looking for some steps to switch between a filter or a backend? Get in touch with us through our Support Portal, and we’ll guide you through it!


Categories: Reference Articles, Print Queues


Keywords: support, cups, hold, release, mac, zono


* This article was previously titled “CUPS Filter Versus Backend for Hold/Release Queues”.

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