Debian Printer Access

At work I began testing office printers in Debian 10. Upon launching the GUI printer applet (system-config-printer) I was surprised to find I could not add any printers. The Unlock button in the upper right corner of the window told me why.

This is the first time in several years that I have seen this idiotic quirk.

There are two solutions. Create an overriding polkit file or purge the cups-pk-helper package.

Because I have not seen this quirk in several years, I was curious why the Unlock button did not appear in Ubuntu systems.

Ubuntu is built on Debian. The cups-pk-helper package is installed in both systems. Other than message and description differences in /usr/share/polkit-1/actions/org.opensuse.cupspkhelper.mechanism.policy, the file is exactly the same in both Debian and Ubuntu.

Adding the overriding polkit file in the Debian did remove the Unlock button, as did purging the cups-pk-helper package.

In both systems the user is a member of the lpadmin group, but as far as I can tell, this only affects the CUPS web browser interface and does not affect system-config-printer. The user is a member of the adm group, but this has no effect on system-config-printer.

Because the two solutions succeed in Debian, the difference seems to lie somewhere in the polkit configurations. This could be due to the irritating way Ubuntu handles the root account and sudo, but after fiddling with similar changes I could not remove the Unlock button in Debian.

Either solution is fine in Debian but why does the Unlock button appear in Debian and not Ubuntu?

Why bother with the Unlock button? The default should be none. System admins will learn how to lock printers. More NIH thinking?

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: Debian

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