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LPD(8) System Manager's Manual LPD(8)

lpdline printer spooler daemon

lpd [-dlrs] [-b bind-address] [-n maxchild] [-w maxwait] [port]

lpd is the line printer daemon (spool area handler) and is normally invoked at boot time from the rc(8) file. It makes a single pass through the printcap(5) file to find out about the existing printers and prints any files left after a crash. It then uses the system calls listen(2) and accept(2) to receive requests to print files in the queue, transfer files to the spooling area, display the queue, or remove jobs from the queue. In each case, it forks a child to handle the request so the parent can continue to listen for more requests.

The options are as follows:

Normally, if the -s option is not specified, lpd will listen on all network interfaces for incoming TCP connections. The -b option, followed by a bind-address specifies that lpd should listen on that address instead of INADDR_ANY. Multiple -b options are permitted, allowing a list of addresses to be specified. Use of this option silently overrides the -s option if it is also present on the command line. bind-address can be a numeric host name in IPv4 or IPv6 notation, or a symbolic host name which will be looked up in the normal way.
The -d option turns on the SO_DEBUG socket(2) option. See setsockopt(2) for more details.
The -l flag causes lpd to log valid requests received from the network. This can be useful for debugging purposes.
The -n flag sets maxchild as the maximum number of child processes that lpd will spawn. The default is 32.
The -r flag allows the “of” filter to be used if specified for a remote printer. Traditionally, lpd would not use the output filter for remote printers.
The -s flag selects “secure” mode, in which lpd does not listen on a TCP socket but only takes commands from a UNIX-domain socket. This is valuable when the machine on which lpd runs is subject to attack over the network and it is desired that the machine be protected from attempts to remotely fill spools and similar attacks.
The -w flag sets maxwait as the wait time (in seconds) for dead remote server detection. If no response is returned from a connected server within this period, the connection is closed and a message logged. The default is 300 seconds.

If the port parameter is passed, lpd listens on this port instead of the usual “printer/tcp” port from /etc/services.

Access control is provided by two means. First, all requests must come from one of the machines listed in the file /etc/hosts.lpd, one hostname per line. A plus "+" may be used as a wildcard to grant access to all hosts. Second, if the “rs” capability is specified in the printcap(5) entry for the printer being accessed, requests will only be honored for those users with accounts on the machine with the printer.

lpd performs reverse DNS lookups on network clients. If a client hostname cannot be determined from its IP address, the print request will be silently dropped. This is important to note when debugging print problems in dynamic address environments.

The file minfree in each spool directory contains the number of disk blocks to leave free so that the line printer queue won't completely fill the disk. The minfree file can be edited with your favorite text editor.

The daemon begins processing files after it has successfully set the lock for exclusive access (described a bit later), and scans the spool directory for files beginning with cf. Lines in each cf file specify files to be printed or non-printing actions to be performed. Each such line begins with a key character to specify what to do with the remainder of the line.

Job Name. String to be used for the job name on the burst page.
Classification. String to be used for the classification line on the burst page.
Literal. The line contains identification info from the password file and causes the banner page to be printed.
Title. String to be used as the title for pr(1).
Host Name. Name of the machine where lpr(1) was invoked.
Person. Login name of the person who invoked lpr(1). This is used to verify ownership by lprm(1).
Send mail to the specified user when the current print job completes.
Formatted File. Name of a file to print which is already formatted.
Like “f” but passes control characters and does not make page breaks.
Name of a file to print using pr(1) as a filter.
Troff File. The file contains troff output (cat phototypesetter commands).
Ditroff File. The file contains device independent troff output.
DVI File. The file contains Tex l output DVI format from Stanford.
Graph File. The file contains data produced by plot.
Cifplot File. The file contains data produced by cifplot.
The file contains a raster image.
The file contains text data with FORTRAN carriage control characters.
Troff Font R. Name of the font file to use instead of the default.
Troff Font I. Name of the font file to use instead of the default.
Troff Font B. Name of the font file to use instead of the default.
Troff Font S. Name of the font file to use instead of the default.
Width. Changes the page width (in characters) used by pr(1) and the text filters.
Indent. The number of characters to indent the output by (in ASCII).
Unlink. Name of file to remove upon completion of printing.
File name. The name of the file which is being printed, or a blank for the standard input (when lpr(1) is invoked in a pipeline).

If a file cannot be opened, a message will be logged via syslog(3) using the LOG_LPR facility. lpd will try up to 20 times to reopen a file it expects to be there, after which it will skip the file to be printed.

lpd uses flock(2) to provide exclusive access to the lock file and to prevent multiple daemons from becoming active simultaneously. If the daemon should be killed or die unexpectedly, the lock file need not be removed. The lock file is kept in a readable ASCII form and contains two lines. The first is the process ID of the daemon and the second is the control file name of the current job being printed. The second line is updated to reflect the current status of lpd for the programs lpq(1) and lprm(1).

printer description file
spool directories
minimum free space to leave
line printer devices
socket for local requests
lists machine names allowed printer access

lpq(1), lpr(1), lprm(1), syslog(3), hosts(5), printcap(5), resolv.conf(5), lpc(8)

Ralph Campbell, 4.3BSD Line Printer Spooler Manual.

An lpd daemon appeared in Version 5 AT&T UNIX.

lpd previously required that clients connected using a privileged port (below 1024). This restriction was removed because it does not provide additional security and also because many modern clients connect using an unprivileged port.

June 17, 2023 OpenBSD-7.4