The Common Unix Printing System (CUPS) is something all the GNU/Linux distributions use to manage printers. It’s been maintained by Apple since 2007. The Apple-lead CUPS development efforts appear to have completely died out after lead CUPS developer Michael Sweet left the company. CUPS isn’t dead, though, Sweet and others are still working on it in a fork maintained by the OpenPrinting organization.
Usually, these stories end in tears, with a desperate plea for interested parties and potential contributors to join and save the project. Luckily, this is not one of those stories – the Common Unix Printing System is safe, thanks to the wonders of open source.
An aside, but here is some irony in Apple killing of any of it’s contribution to CUPS, while maintaining some active development of a pretty much dead-end package like Pages!
Apple must have it’s BoD Minutes type up in Pages, it’s the only explanation that makes sense for keeping it alive!
There’s a new perenial-looking repository, but CUPS still has a bus factor of 1, and AFAIK turned from a job to a hobby. It’s not OpenSSL, but it’s sometimes network-facing, it has a lot of moving parts, you need no-longer-produced hardware to test it all… I really hope that the community can step up to the task.
Wonder how this is going to affect Chromebooks as Google just finally retired CloudPrint in favour of CUPS printing.
I am surprised and appalled by the fact that, when you start digging through the layers of open-source, eventually you reach an one-man (or a two-guys-and-a-dog) project that is the cornerstone of everything (obligatory reference to the XKCD 2347 comic).
This is the sole kernel of truth in Microsoft’s anti-Linux FUD, that Microsoft have complete control over the end product while Canonical and Novell don’t. The main reason Ubuntu desktop can’t be what Mark Shuttleworth wanted it to be (for example having bad font scaling and multi-monitor support and video v-sync issues) is because Canonical have to accept the limitations of a complicated desktop stack they don’t control.
It’s also why Google built their own thing above the Linux kernel.
BTW I wish the new CUPS maintainers good luck, but taking a decades-old sufficiently complicated codebase and start maintaining it doesn’t always work. Instead, Microsoft can ease new people into the codebase of their modules as old people retire. This is why stack-ranking was so detrimental to product quality, because it created needless churn. But still better than having modules that are pet projects of a single man.