CUPS Printing System Open-Source Development Has Seemingly Dried Up

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 13 October 2020 at 06:43 AM EDT. 58 Comments
At the end of 2019 the lead developer of CUPS left Apple after he joined Apple and the company purchased the source code a decade prior for this long-standing open-source printing system used by not only macOS but also Linux and other Unix-like platforms. This unfortunately has not bode well for CUPS in 2020.

As was recently pointed out by a Phoronix reader, the open-source CUPS code-base is now at a stand-still. There was just one commit to the CUPS Git repository for all of 2020 and that was a push by an Apple engineer with minor updates (including security fixes) for a point release.

One commit for ten months is indeed low for the project... When running GitStats on CUPS, in 2019 there were 355 commits, 348 commits in 2018, and 400 commits in 2017 as the most prolific year of development. Generally there's been hundreds of commits per year until this year running into a screeching halt after Sweet left Apple.

Michael Sweet had indeed been the number one contributor to the CUPS codebase over the years with being responsible for around 93% of all the commits.

It's possible Apple engineers are still working on CUPS internally and relying upon a private Git repository for development and will only be pushing public when there are enough accumulated changes for a new release, but that still doesn't bode well for open-source -- at least these days driver-less printing is common.
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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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