CUPS and fontconfig

Recently Eric Raymond had gripe with CUPS and while I don’t quite share his frustration, I recently had to trouble shoot some printing woes …

I was greeted with ” … printing doesn’t work … “. Of course it used to, but not anymore. The Linux box in question isn’t anything special. Basic Mandrake install (release 10 upgraded from 9.2) with CUPS as the print spooler. Everything had been fine until now.

Oddly, the printer worked, but only when submitting jobs from root. Yup, permissions is what I thought too, so started doing the rpm -V thing and compared it to a box that does have fully functional printing. Nothing odd.

The next step was to examine the printer drivers. Now, the box which was having trouble has a usb attached HP psc 1210xi. But the drivers were configured the same as before at least as far as the RPM verify was concerned.

The next thing I tried was to print as another non-root user. To my surprise this worked. I then started looking at differences in configuration files, since the password and group entries didn’t show up any significant differences.

After some digging I found a file named .font.cache-1 which contained X font information. Once I moved that file, printing worked.

It looks like that file is part of the normal workings of fontconfig, but for some reason that file had been corrupt.


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