OpenPrinting Now Developing Upstream CUPS, Apple Bows Out

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 17 May 2021 at 08:21 PM EDT. 28 Comments
Back in 2007 Apple effectively acquired the open-source CUPS project and in 2017 then decided to no longer develop CUPS under the GPL but instead the Apache 2.0 license for this widely-used Unix/macOS/Linux print server. But then at the end of 2019 the CUPS lead developer left Apple and following that public development of CUPS seemingly halted. Fortunately, now there is a happy next chapter to the CUPS printing story.

Apple has decided not to pursue feature development further on CUPS and upstream feature development has been effectively transferred to the OpenPrinting project. CUPS founder and former Apple employee Michael Sweet presented on this change at this month's Open Printing Summit. Sweet acknowledged that Apple stopped actively developing CUPS when he left the company. But now he's been contracted by Apple to apply important bug fixes from the OpenPrinting fork of CUPS back to the Apple CUPS code-base for macOS. Apple CUPS will continue seeing these bug fixes pulled in from OpenPrinting CUPS but Apple is no longer interested in feature development on this print server.

OpenPrinting now is working towards a CUPS 2.4 release with AirPrint/Mopria compatibility, OAuth 2.0 / OpenID authentication, pkg-config support, Snapcraft support, TLS improvements, and a variety of other feature improvements with now effectively being the new CUPS upstream.

Plans for a CUPS 3.0 are even being drawn with new server capabilities and other re-architecting of this long-running print server. More details on this renewed CUPS work via this slide deck from Michael Sweet.

Since leaving Apple, Sweet has also been developing the modern PAPPL printer application framework.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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